An EMPEROR (through
Old French _empereor_ from Latin _IMPERATOR _ )
is a monarch , usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another
type of imperial realm. EMPRESS, the female equivalent, may indicate
an emperor's wife (_empress consort _), mother (_empress dowager _),
or a woman who rules in her own right (_empress regnant _). Emperors
are generally recognized to be of a higher honour and rank than kings
Europe the title of
Emperor has been used since the
Middle Ages ,
considered in those times equal or almost equal in dignity to that of
Pope , due to the latter's position as visible head of the Church and
spiritual leader of the Catholic part of Western
Europe . The Emperor
of Japan is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is
translated into English as "Emperor".
Both kings and emperors are monarchs , but _emperor_ and _empress_
are considered the higher monarchical titles. In as much as there is a
strict definition of emperor, it is that an emperor has no relations
implying the superiority of any other ruler, and typically rules over
more than one nation. Thus a king might be obliged to pay tribute to
another ruler, or be restrained in his actions in some unequal
fashion, but an emperor should in theory be completely free of such
restraints. Monarchs heading empires, however, have not always used
the title in all contexts— the British sovereign did not assume the
title "Empress of the British Empire" even during the incorporation of
India though she was declared "Empress of India".
Europe the title of
Emperor was used exclusively by the
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor , whose imperial authority was derived from the
concept of _translatio imperii _, i.e. they claimed succession to the
authority of the Western Roman Emperors , thus linking themselves to
Roman institutions and traditions as part of state ideology. Although
initially ruling much of Central
Europe and northern Italy, by the
19th century the
Emperor exercised little power beyond the German
speaking states. Although technically an elective title, by the late
16th century the imperial title had in practice come to be inherited
Archdukes of Austria and, following the Thirty Years\'
War , their control over the states (outside of the
, i.e. Austria , Bohemia , and various territories outside of the
empire) had become nearly non-existent. However, in 1804 Napoleon
Bonaparte was crowned
Emperor of the French, and was shortly followed
by Francis II,
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor , who to declared himself
Austria in the same year; however, the position of Holy Roman Emperor
continued until Francis II abdicated that position in 1806.
Europe the rulers of the Russian
Empire also used
_translatio imperii_ to wield imperial authority as successors to the
Empire . Their title of
Emperor was officially
recognised by the
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor in 1514, although not officially
used by the Russian monarchs until 1547. In practice the Russian
Emperors are often known by their Russian-language title _
which may also used to refer to rulers equivalent to a king.
Historians have liberally used _emperor_ and _empire_
anachronistically and out of its Roman and European context to
describe any large state from the past or the present. Such pre-Roman
titles as "Great
King " or "
King of Kings ", used by the Kings of
Persia and others, are often considered as the equivalent. Sometimes
this reference has even extended to non-monarchically ruled states and
their spheres of influence such as the "Athenian
Empire " of the late
5th century BC, the "Angevin
Empire " of the
Plantagenets , and the
Soviet and American "empires" of the
Cold War era. However such
"empires" did not need to be headed by an "emperor". _Empire_ became
identified instead with vast territorial holdings rather than the
title of its ruler by the mid-18th century.
For purposes of protocol, emperors were once given precedence over
kings in international diplomatic relations; currently, however,
precedence amongst heads of state who are Sovereigns– whether they
be Kings, Queens, Emperors, Princes, and to a lesser degree Presidents
– is determined by the duration of time that each one has been
continuously in office.
Outside the European context, _emperor_ was the translation given to
holders of titles who were accorded the same precedence as European
emperors in diplomatic terms. In reciprocity, these rulers might
accredit equal titles in their native languages to their European
peers. Through centuries of international convention, this has become
the dominant rule to identifying an emperor in the modern era.
* 1 Roman tradition
* 2 Roman
Empire and Byzantine emperors
* 2.1 Classical Antiquity
* 2.2 Byzantine period
* 2.2.1 Before the 4th Crusade
* 2.2.2 Latin emperors
* 2.2.3 After the 4th Crusade
* 3 Ottoman
* 4 Holy Roman
* 5 Austrian
* 6 Emperors of
* 6.2 France
* 6.2.1 First French
* 6.2.3 Second French
* 6.3.1 Spain
* 6.3.2 Portugal
* 6.4 Britain
* 6.4.1 England
* 6.4.2 United Kingdom
* 6.5 German
* 6.6 Russia
* 7 Emperors in the Americas
* 7.1.1 Aztec
* 7.1.2 Inca
* 7.2 Post-Columbian Americas
* 7.2.1 Brazil
* 7.2.3 Mexico
* 9 Indian subcontinent
* 10 Africa
* 10.2 Central African
East Asian tradition
* 11.1 China
* 11.2 Japan
* 11.3 Korea
* 11.4 Mongolia
* 11.5 Vietnam
* 13 Fictional uses
* 14 See also
* 15 Notes
* 16 External links
In the Roman tradition a large variety in the meaning and importance
of the imperial form of monarchy developed: in _intention_ it was
always the highest office, but it could as well fall down to a
redundant title for nobility that had never been near to the "Empire"
they were supposed to be reigning. Also the _name_ of the position
split in several branches of Western tradition, see below.
The importance and meaning of coronation ceremonies and regalia also
varied within the tradition: for instance Holy Roman Emperors could
only be crowned emperor by the
Pope , which meant the coronation
ceremony usually took place in Rome, often several years after these
emperors had ascended to the throne (as "king") in their home country.
The first Latin Emperors of
Constantinople on the other hand had to be
present in the newly conquered capital of their empire, because that
was the only place where they could be granted to become emperor.
Early Roman Emperors avoided any type of ceremony or regalia
different from what was already usual for republican offices in the
Roman Republic : the most intrusive change had been changing the color
of their robe to purple. Later new symbols of worldly and/or spiritual
power, like the orb , became an essential part of the imperial
Rules for indicating successors also varied: there was a tendency
towards _male_ _inheritance_ of the supreme office, but as well
election by noblemen, as ruling empresses (for empires not too
strictly under salic law ) are known. Ruling monarchs could
additionally steer the succession by adoption, as often occurred in
the two first centuries of Imperial Rome. Of course, intrigue, murder
and military force could also mingle in for appointing successors; the
Roman imperial tradition made no exception to other monarchical
traditions in this respect. Probably the epoch best known for this
part of the imperial tradition is Rome\'s third century rule.
ROMAN EMPIRE AND BYZANTINE EMPERORS
Roman emperor and
Imperator A statue of the
Julius Caesar .
Augustus , the first emperor of the
When Republican Rome turned into a _de facto_ monarchy in the second
half of the 1st century BC, at first there was no name for the title
of the new type of monarch. Ancient Romans abhorred the name Rex
("king") , and it was critical to the political order to maintain the
forms and pretenses of republican rule.
Julius Caesar had been
Dictator , an acknowledged and traditional office in Republican Rome.
Caesar was not the first to hold it, but following his assassination
the term was abhorred in Rome.
Augustus , considered the first
Roman emperor , established his by
collecting on himself offices, titles, and honours of Republican Rome
that had traditionally been distributed to different people,
concentrating what had been distributed power in one man. One of these
offices was _princeps senatus _, ("first man of the Senate") and
became changed into Augustus' chief honorific, _princeps civitatis _
("first citizen") from which the modern English word and title prince
is descended. The first period of the Roman
Empire , from 27 BC –
284 AD, is called the _principate _ for this reason. However, it was
the informal descriptive of _
Imperator _ ("commander") that became the
title increasingly favored by his successors. Previously bestowed on
high officials and military commanders who had _imperium _, Augustus
reserved it exclusively to himself as the ultimate holder of all
_imperium_. (_Imperium_ is Latin for the authority to command, one of
a various types of authority delineated in Roman political thought.)
Beginning with Augustus, _Imperator_ appeared in the title of all
Roman monarchs through the extinction of the
Empire in 1453. After the
reign of Augustus' immediate successor
Tiberius , being proclaimed
_imperator_ was transformed into the act of accession to the head of
state . Other honorifics used by the Roman Emperors have also come to
be synonyms for Emperor:
* CAESAR (as, for example, in
Suetonius ' _Twelve Caesars _). This
tradition continued in many languages: in German it became "
Slavic languages it became "
Tsar "; in Hungarian it became
Császár ", and several more variants. The name derived from Julius
Caesar 's cognomen "Caesar": this cognomen was adopted by all Roman
emperors, exclusively by the ruling monarch after the Julio-Claudian
dynasty had died out. In this tradition
Julius Caesar is sometimes
described as the first Caesar/emperor (following Suetonius). This is
one of the most enduring titles, Caesar and its transliterations
appeared in every year from the time of Caesar
Bulgaria 's removal from the throne in 1946.
* AUGUSTUS was the honorific first bestowed on
after him all Roman emperors added it to their name. Although it had a
high symbolical value, something like "elevated" or "sublime", it was
generally not used to indicate the office of _Emperor_ itself.
Exceptions include the title of the _
Augustan History _, a
semi-historical collection of Emperors' biographies of the 2nd and 3rd
Augustus had (by his last will) granted the feminine form of
this honorific (Augusta ) to his wife. Since there was no "title" of
Empress(-consort) whatsoever, women of the reigning dynasty sought to
be granted this honorific, as the highest attainable goal. Few were
however granted the title, and certainly not as a rule all wives of
* IMPERATOR (as, for example, in
Pliny the Elder 's _Naturalis
Historia _). In the
Imperator meant "(military)
commander". In the late Republic, as in the early years of the new
monarchy, _Imperator_ was a title granted to Roman generals by their
troops and the
Roman Senate after a great victory, roughly comparable
to field marshal (head or commander of the entire army). For example,
in AD 15
Germanicus was proclaimed _Imperator_ during the reign of his
Tiberius . Soon thereafter "Imperator" became however
a title reserved exclusively for the ruling monarch. This led to
"Emperor" in English and, among other examples, "Empereur" in French
and "Mbreti" in Albanian. The Latin feminine form
developed after "Imperator" had taken on the connotation of "Emperor".
* AUTOKRATOR (Αὐτοκράτωρ) or BASILEUS (βασιλεύς):
although the Greeks used equivalents of "Caesar" (Καίσαρ,
_Kaisar_) and "Augustus" (in two forms: transliterated as
Αὔγουστος, _Augoustos_ or translated as Σεβαστός,
Sebastos _) these were rather used as part of the name of the Emperor
than as an indication of the office. Instead of developing a new name
for the new type of monarchy, they used αὐτοκράτωρ
(_autokratōr_, only partly overlapping with the modern understanding
of "autocrat ") or βασιλεύς (_basileus _, until then the usual
name for "sovereign "). _Autokratōr_ was essentially used as a
translation of the Latin _Imperator_ in Greek-speaking part of the
Roman Empire, but also here there is only partial overlap between the
meaning of the original Greek and Latin concepts. For the Greeks
_Autokratōr_ was not a military title, and was closer to the Latin
_dictator _ concept ("the one with unlimited power"), before it came
to mean Emperor. _Basileus_ appears not to have been used exclusively
in the meaning of "emperor" (and specifically, the Roman/Byzantine
emperor) before the 7th century, although it was a standard informal
designation of the
Emperor in the Greek-speaking East.
After the turbulent
Year of the four emperors in 69, the Flavian
Dynasty reigned for three decades. The succeeding Nervan-Antonian
Dynasty , ruling for most of the 2nd century, stabilised the Empire.
This epoch became known as the era of the _Five Good Emperors _, and
was followed by the short-lived
Severan Dynasty .
Crisis of the 3rd century , Barracks Emperors succeeded
one another at short intervals. Three short lived secessionist
attempts had their own emperors: the Gallic
Empire , the Britannic
Empire , and the Palmyrene
Empire though the latter used _rex_ more
Principate (27 BC – 284 AD) period was succeeded by what is
known as the
Dominate (284 AD – 527 AD), during which Emperor
Diocletian tried to put the
Empire on a more formal footing.
Diocletian sought to address the challenges of the Empire's now vast
geography and the instability caused by the informality of succession
by the creation of co-emperors and junior emperors. At one point,
there were as many as five sharers of the _imperium_ (see: Tetrarchy
). In 325 AD
Constantine I defeated his rivals and restored single
emperor rule, but following his death the empire was divided among his
sons. For a time the concept was of one empire ruled by multiple
emperors with varying territory under their control, however following
the death of
Theodosius I the rule was divided between his two sons
and increasingly became separate entities. The areas administered from
Rome are referred to by historians the Western Roman
Empire and those
under the immediate authority of
Constantinople called the Eastern
Empire or (after the
Battle of Yarmouk in 636 AD) the Later
Roman or Byzantine
Empire . The subdivisions and co-emperor system
were formally abolished by
Emperor Zeno in 480 AD following the death
Julius Nepos last Western
Emperor and the ascension of
the _de facto_
King of Italy in 476 AD.
Before The 4th Crusade
Justinian I , reigning in the 6th century, parts of Italy
were for a few decades (re)conquered from the
Ostrogoths : thus, this
famous mosaic , featuring the Byzantine emperor in the center, can be
Historians generally refer to the continuing Roman
Empire in the east
as the Byzantine
Byzantium , the original name of the
Constantine I would elevate to the Imperial capital as New
Rome in AD 330. (The city is more commonly called
is today named
Istanbul ). Although the empire was again subdivided
and a co-emperor sent to Italy at the end of the fourth century, the
office became unitary again only 95 years later at the request of the
Roman Senate and following the death of
Julius Nepos , last Western
Emperor. This change was a recognition of the reality that little
remained of Imperial authority in the areas that had been the Western
Empire, with even Rome and Italy itself now ruled by the essentially
These Later Roman "Byzantine" Emperors completed the transition from
the idea of the
Emperor as a semi-republican official to the Emperor
as an absolute monarch . Of particular note was the translation of the
Latin _Imperator_ into the Greek _
Basileus _, after
changed the official language of the empire from Latin to Greek in AD
620. Basileus, a title which had long been used for
Great was already in common usage as the Greek word for the Roman
emperor, but its definition and sense was "King" in Greek, essentially
equivalent with the Latin _Rex_. Byzantine period emperors also used
the Greek word "autokrator", meaning "one who rules himself", or
"monarch", which was traditionally used by Greek writers to translate
the Latin _dictator _. Essentially, the Greek language did not
incorporate the nuances of the Ancient Roman concepts that
distinguished _imperium_ from other forms of political power.
In general usage, the Byzantine imperial title evolved from simply
"emperor" (_basileus_), to "emperor of the Romans" (_basileus tōn
Rōmaiōn_) in the 9th century, to "emperor and autocrat of the
Romans" (_basileus kai autokratōr tōn Rōmaiōn_) in the 10th. In
fact, none of these (and other) additional epithets and titles had
ever been completely discarded.
One important distinction between the post
Constantine I (reigned AD
306–337) emperors and their pagan predecessors was cesaropapism ,
the assertion that the
Emperor (or other head of state) is also the
head of the Church. Although this principle was held by all emperors
after Constantine, it met with increasing resistance and ultimately
rejection by bishops in the west after the effective end of Imperial
power there. This concept became a key element of the meaning of
"emperor" in the Byzantine and Orthodox east, but went out of favor in
the west with the rise of
Roman Catholicism .
The Byzantine empire also produced three women who effectively
governed the state: the Empress Irene and the Empresses Zoe and
Constantinople fell to the Venetians and the
Franks in the
Fourth Crusade . Following the tragedy of the horrific sacking of the
city, the conquerors declared a new "
Empire of Romania", known to
historians as the Latin
Constantinople , installing Baldwin
Count of Flanders , as Emperor. However, Byzantine resistance to
the new empire meant that it was in constant struggle to establish
Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos succeeded in
Constantinople in 1261. The
Principality of Achaea , a
vassal state the empire had created in
Morea (Greece) intermittently
continued to recognize the authority of the crusader emperors for
another half century. Pretenders to the title continued among the
European nobility until circa 1383.
After The 4th Crusade
Constantinople occupied, claimants to the imperial succession
styled themselves as emperor in the chief centers of resistance: The
Laskarid dynasty in the
Empire of Nicaea , the Komnenid dynasty in the
Empire of Trebizond and the Doukid dynasty in the Despotate of Epirus
. In 1248, the Epirus recognized the Nicaean Emperors, who then
Constantinople in 1261. The Trebizond emperor formally
Constantinople in 1281, but frequently flouted
convention by styling themselves emperor back in Trebizond thereafter.
Agostino Veneziano 's engraving of Ottoman emperor Suleiman the
Magnificent. Note the four tiers on the helmet, which he had
Venice , symbolizing his imperial power, and
excelling the three-tiered papal tiara . This tiara was made for
115,000 ducats and offered to Suleiman by the French ambassador
Antonio Rincon in 1532. This was a most atypical piece of headgear
for a Turkish sultan, which he probably never normally wore, but which
he placed beside him when receiving visitors, especially ambassadors.
It was crowned with an enormous feather.
Ottoman rulers held several titles denoting their Imperial status.
Sultan , Khan ,
Sovereign of the Imperial House of
Sultan of Sultans ,
Khan of Khans , Commander of the Faithful
and Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe , Protector
of the Holy Cities of
Emperor of The
Three Cities of
Constantinople , Adrianopole and
Bursa as well as many
other cities and countries.
After the Ottoman capture of
Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman
sultans began to style themselves KAYSAR-I RUM (
Emperor of the Romans)
as they asserted themselves to be the heirs to the Roman empire by
right of conquest. The title was of such importance to them that it
led them to eliminate the various Byzantine successor states — and
therefore rival claimants — over the next eight years. Though the
term "emperor" was rarely used by Westerners of the Ottoman sultan, it
was generally accepted by Westerners that he had imperial status.
HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The _Roman_ of the Emperor's title was a reflection of the
_translatio imperii _ (_transfer of rule_) principle that regarded the
Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of
Emperor of the
Empire , despite the continued existence of the Roman
Empire in the east.
From the time of Otto the Great onward, much of the former
Carolingian kingdom of
Eastern Francia became the Holy Roman Empire.
The prince-electors elected one of their peers as
King of the Romans
King of Italy before being crowned by the
Pope . The
also pursue the election of his heir (usually a son) as King, who
would then succeed him after his death. This junior
King then bore the
title of Roman
King of the Romans). Although technically already
ruling, after the election he would be crowned as emperor by the Pope.
The last emperor to be crowned by the pope was Charles V ; all
emperors after him were technically _emperors-elect_, but were
universally referred to as _Emperor_.
Emperor of Austria
The first Austrian
Emperor was the last
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor Francis
II. In the face of aggressions by
Napoleon , Francis feared for the
future of the Holy Roman
Empire . He wished to maintain his and his
family's Imperial status in the event that the Holy Roman Empire
should be dissolved, as it indeed was in 1806 when an Austrian-led
army suffered a humiliating defeat at the
Battle of Austerlitz
Battle of Austerlitz . After
which, the victorious
Napoleon proceeded to dismantle the old _Reich_
by severing a good portion from the empire and turning it into a
Confederation of the Rhine . With the size of his imperial
realm significantly reduced, Francis II, _Holy Roman Emperor_ became
Francis I, _
Emperor of Austria_. The new imperial title may have
sounded less prestigious than the old one, but Francis' dynasty
continued to rule from Austria and a
Habsburg monarch was still an
emperor (_Kaiser_), and not just merely a king (_König_), in name.
The title lasted just a little over one century until 1918, but it
was never clear what territory constituted the "
Empire of Austria ".
When Francis took the title in 1804, the
Habsburg lands as a whole
were dubbed the _Kaisertum Österreich_. _Kaisertum_ might literally
be translated as "emperordom" (on analogy with "kingdom") or
"emperor-ship"; the term denotes specifically "the territory ruled by
an emperor", and is thus somewhat more general than
Reich , which in
1804 carried connotations of universal rule. Austria proper (as
opposed to the complex of
Habsburg lands as a whole) had been an
Archduchy since the 15th century, and most of the other territories of
Empire had their own institutions and territorial history,
although there were some attempts at centralization, especially during
the reign of Marie Therese and her son Joseph II and then finalized in
the early 19th century. When Hungary was given self-government in
1867, the non-Hungarian portions were called the
Empire of Austria and
were officially known as the "Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the
Imperial Council (_Reichsrat_)". The title of
Emperor of Austria and
Empire were both abolished at the end of the First
World War in 1918, when
German Austria became a republic and the other
kingdoms and lands represented in the Imperial Council established
their independence or adhesion to other states.
EMPERORS OF EUROPE
Byzantium 's close cultural and political interaction with its Balkan
Serbia , and with Russia (Kievan Rus', then
Muscovy) led to the adoption of Byzantine imperial traditions in all
of these countries.
In 913, Simeon I of
Bulgaria was crowned
Tsar ) by the
Constantinople and imperial regent Nicholas Mystikos
outside of the Byzantine capital. In its final simplified form, the
title read "
Emperor and Autocrat of all Bulgarians and Romans" (_Tsar
i samodarzhets na vsichki balgari i gartsi_ in the modern vernacular).
The Roman component in the Bulgarian imperial title indicated both
rulership over Greek speakers and the derivation of the imperial
tradition from the Romans, however this component was never recognised
by the Byzantine court.
Byzantine recognition of Simeon's imperial title was revoked by the
succeeding Byzantine government. The decade 914–924 was spent in
destructive warfare between
Bulgaria over this and other
matters of conflict. The Bulgarian monarch, who had further irritated
his Byzantine counterpart by claiming the title "
Emperor of the
Romans" (_basileus tōn Rōmaiōn_), was eventually recognized, as
Emperor of the Bulgarians" (_basileus tōn Boulgarōn_) by the
Byzantine Emperor Romanos I Lakapenos in 924. Byzantine recognition of
the imperial dignity of the Bulgarian monarch and the patriarchal
dignity of the Bulgarian patriarch was again confirmed at the
conclusion of permanent peace and a Bulgarian-Byzantine dynastic
marriage in 927. In the meantime, the Bulgarian imperial title may
have been also confirmed by the pope . The Bulgarian imperial title
"tsar" was adopted by all Bulgarian monarchs up to the fall of
Bulgaria under Ottoman rule. 14th-century Bulgarian literary
compositions clearly denote the Bulgarian capital (Tarnovo ) as a
successor of Rome and
Constantinople , in effect, the "Third Rome".
Bulgaria obtained full independence from the Ottoman
1908, its monarch, who was previously styled _Knyaz_, , took the
traditional title of _Tsar_ and was recognized internationally as
The kings of the _
Ancien Régime _ and the July
Monarchy used the
title _Empereur de France_ in diplomatic correspondence and treaties
with the Ottoman emperor from at least 1673 onwards. The Ottomans
insisted on this elevated style while refusing to recognize the Holy
Roman Emperors or the Russian tsars because of their rival claims of
the Roman crown . In short, it was an indirect insult by the Ottomans
to the HRE and the Russians. The French kings also used it for Morocco
First French Empire
See also: First French
Empire One of the most famous Imperial
coronation ceremonies was that of Napoleon, crowning himself Emperor
in the presence of
Pope Pius VII (who had blessed the regalia ), at
the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris .
The painting by David commemorating the event is equally famous: the
gothic cathedral restyled _style
Empire _, supervised by the mother of
Emperor on the balcony (a fictional addition, while she had not
been present at the ceremony), the pope positioned near the altar,
Napoleon proceeds to crown his then wife,
Joséphine de Beauharnais
Joséphine de Beauharnais as
Napoleon Bonaparte , who was already First Consul of the French
Republic (_Premier Consul de la République française_) for life,
declared himself EMPEROR OF THE FRENCH (_Empereur des Français_) on
18 May 1804, thus creating the French
Napoleon relinquished the title of
Emperor of the French
Emperor of the French on 6 April
and again on 11 April 1814. Napoleon's infant son,
Napoleon II , was
recognized by the Council of Peers, as
Emperor from the moment of his
father's abdication, and therefore reigned (as opposed to ruled) as
Emperor for fifteen days, 22 June to 7 July 1815.
Since 3 May 1814, the
Sovereign Principality of
Elba was created a
Monarchy under the exiled French Emperor
Napoleon I was allowed, by the treaty of Fontainebleau
with (27 April), to enjoy, for life, the imperial title. The islands
were _not_ restyled an empire.
On 26 February 1815,
Elba for France, reviving the
Empire for a
Hundred Days ; the Allies declared an end to
Napoleon's sovereignty over
Elba on 25 March 1815, and on 31 March
Elba was ceded to the restored
Grand Duchy of Tuscany by the
Congress of Vienna. After his final defeat,
Napoleon was treated as a
general by the British authorities during his second exile to Atlantic
St. Helena . His title was a matter of dispute with the
governor of St Helena, who insisted on addressing him as "General
Bonaparte", despite the "historical reality that he had been an
emperor" and therefore retained the title.
Second French Empire
See also: Second French
Napoleon I's nephew,
Napoleon III , resurrected the title of emperor
on 2 December 1852, after establishing the Second French
Empire in a
presidential coup , subsequently approved by a plebiscite. His reign
was marked by large scale public works, the development of social
policy, and the extension of France's influence throughout the world.
During his reign, he also set about creating the Second Mexican Empire
(headed by his choice of
Maximilian I of Mexico , a member of the
Habsburg ), to regain France's hold in the Americas and to
achieve greatness for the 'Latin' race.
Napoleon III was deposed on 4
September 1870, after France's defeat in the
Franco-Prussian War . The
Republic followed and after the death of his son
in 1879 during the Zulu War, the Bonapartist movement split, and the
Republic was to last until 1940.
The origin of the title _
Imperator totius Hispaniae _ (Latin for
Emperor of All Spain _ ) is murky. It was associated with the Leonese
monarchy perhaps as far back as
Alfonso the Great (_r._ 866–910).
The last two kings of its
Astur-Leonese dynasty were called emperors
in a contemporary source.
Sancho III of Navarre conquered Leon in 1034 and began using it.
Ferdinand I of Castile also took the title in 1039.
Alfonso VI of León and Castile took the title in
1077. It then passed to his son-in-law,
Alfonso I of Aragon in 1109.
His stepson and Alfonso VI's grandson, Alfonso VII was the only one
who actually had an imperial coronation in 1135.
The title was not exactly hereditary but self-proclaimed by those who
had, wholly or partially, united the Christian northern part of the
Iberian Peninsula , often at the expense of killing rival siblings.
The popes and Holy Roman emperors protested at the usage of the
imperial title as a usurpation of leadership in western Christendom.
After Alfonso VII's death in 1157, the title was abandoned, and the
kings who used it are not commonly mentioned as having been
"emperors", in Spanish or other historiography.
After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the legitimate heir to the
Andreas Palaiologos , willed away his claim to Ferdinand and
Isabella in 1503.
John VI ,
King of Portugal and the Algarves ,
Emperor of Brazil
After the independence and proclamation of the
Empire of Brazil from
the Kingdom of Portugal by
Prince Pedro , who became Emperor, in 1822,
John VI of Portugal briefly held the honorific style
Emperor of Brazil and the treatment of _His Imperial and
Royal Majesty_ under the 1825 Treaty of
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , by which
Portugal recognized the independence of Brazil. The style of Titular
Emperor was a life title, and became extinct upon the holder's demise.
John VI held the imperial title for a few months only, from the
ratification of the Treaty in November 1825 until his death in March
1826. During those months, however, as John's imperial title was
purely honorific while his son, Pedro I, remained the sole monarch of
the Brazilian Empire.
In the late 3rd century, by the end of the epoch of the _barracks
emperors_ in Rome, there were two Britannic Emperors , reigning for
about a decade. After the end of Roman rule in Britain , the Imperator
Cunedda forged the
Kingdom of Gwynedd in northern Wales, but all his
successors were titled kings and princes.
There was no set title for the king of England before 1066 and
monarchs chose to style themselves as they pleased. Imperial titles
were used inconsistently beginning with
Athelstan in 930 and ended
Norman conquest of England .
Empress Matilda (1102–1167) is
the only British monarch commonly referred to as "emperor" or
"empress", but acquired her title through her marriage to Henry V,
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor .
During the rule of Henry VIII an Act of Parliament declared that
'this realm of England is an Empire...governed by one Supreme Head and
King having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial Crown of the
same'. This was in the context of the divorce of Catherine of Aragon
English Reformation , to emphasize that England had never
accepted the quasi-imperial claims of the papacy. Hence England and,
by extension its modern successor state, the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland, is according to English law an Empire
ruled by a
King endowed with the imperial dignity. However, this has
not led to the creation of the _title_ of
Emperor in England or in the
United Kingdom itself.
George V ,
King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions
Emperor of India .
In 1801, George III rejected the title of
Emperor when offered. The
only period when British monarchs held the title of _Emperor_ in a
dynastic succession started when the title Empress of India was
Queen Victoria . The government led by Prime Minister
Benjamin Disraeli , conferred the additional title upon her by an Act
of Parliament, reputedly to assuage the monarch's irritation at being,
as a mere Queen, notionally inferior to her own daughter (Princess
Victoria , who was the wife of the reigning
German Emperor ); the
Indian Imperial designation was also formally justified as the
expression of Britain succeeding the former
Mughal Emperor as suzerain
over hundreds of princely states . The title was relinquished by
George VI when India became independent on 15 August 1947.
The last Empress of India was George VI's wife, Queen Elizabeth The
Queen Mother .
Main article: German
Empire Wilhelm II ,
German Emperor and the
King of Prussia .
Under the guise of idealism giving way to realism, German nationalism
rapidly shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848 to
Prussian prime minister
Otto von Bismarck 's authoritarian
Realpolitik _. Bismarck wanted to unify the rival German states to
achieve his aim of a conservative, Prussian-dominated Germany. Three
wars led to military successes and helped to convince German people to
do this: the
Second war of Schleswig against Denmark in 1864, the
Austro-Prussian War against Austria in 1866, and the Franco-Prussian
War against the Second French
Empire in 1870–71. During the Siege of
Paris in 1871, the
North German Confederation , supported by its
allies from southern Germany , formed the German
Empire with the
proclamation of the Prussian king Wilhelm I as
German Emperor in the
Hall of Mirrors at the
Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles , to the humiliation of
the French, who ceased to resist only days later.
After his death he was succeeded by his son Frederick III who was
only emperor for 99 days. In the same year his son Wilhelm II became
the third emperor within a year. He was the last German emperor. After
the empire's defeat in World War I the empire ceased to exist.
Empress of Russia
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great
In 1472, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, Sophia Palaiologina
, married Ivan III , grand prince of Moscow, who began championing the
idea of Russia being the successor to the Byzantine Empire. This idea
was represented more emphatically in the composition the monk Filofej
addressed to their son Vasili III . After ending Muscovy's dependence
Mongol overlords in 1480, Ivan III began the usage of the
Tsar and Autocrat (_samoderzhets_ ). His insistence on
recognition as such by the emperor of the Holy Roman
Empire since 1489
resulted in the granting of this recognition in 1514 by Emperor
Maximilian I to Vasili III. His son Ivan IV emphatically crowned
Tsar of Russia on 16 January 1547. The word "Tsar" derives
from Latin Caesar, but this title was used in Russia as equivalent to
"King"; the error occurred when medieval Russian clerics referred to
the biblical Jewish kings with the same title that was used to
designate Roman and Byzantine rulers — "Caesar".
On 31 October 1721, Peter I was proclaimed
Emperor by the Senate. The
title used was Latin "_Imperator_", which is a westernizing form
equivalent to the traditional Slavic title "_Tsar_". He based his
claim partially upon a letter discovered in 1717 written in 1514 from
Maximilian I to Vasili III, in which the
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor used the
term in referring to Vasili.
A formal address to the ruling Russian monarch adopted thereafter was
'Your Imperial Majesty'. The crown prince was addressed as 'Your
The title has not been used in Russia since the abdication of Emperor
Nicholas II on 15 March 1917.
Imperial Russia produced four reigning Empresses, all in the
In 1345, the Serbian
King Stefan Uroš IV Dušan proclaimed himself
Tsar ) and was crowned as such at
Easter 1346 by
the newly created
Serbian Patriarch , and by the Patriarch of Bulgaria
and the autocephalous Archbishop of Ohrid. His imperial title was
Bulgaria and various other neighbors and trading
partners but not by the Byzantine Empire. In its final simplified
form, the Serbian imperial title read "
Emperor of Serbs and Greeks"
(_цар Срба и Грка_ in modern Serbian). It was only
employed by Stefan Uroš IV Dušan and his son Stefan Uroš V in
Serbia (until his death in 1371), after which it became extinct. A
half-brother of Dušan,
Simeon Uroš , and then his son
Jovan Uroš ,
claimed the same title, until the latter's abdication in 1373, while
ruling as dynasts in
Thessaly . The "Greek" component in the Serbian
imperial title indicates both rulership over Greeks and the derivation
of the imperial tradition from the Romans.
EMPERORS IN THE AMERICAS
The Aztec and Inca traditions are unrelated to one another. Both were
conquered under the reign of
Charles I of Spain who was
simultaneously emperor-elect of the Holy Roman
Empire during the fall
of the Aztecs and fully emperor during the fall of the Incas.
Incidentally by being king of Spain, he was also Roman (Byzantine)
emperor in pretence through
Andreas Palaiologos . The translations of
their titles were provided by the Spanish.
The only pre-Columbian North American rulers to be commonly called
emperors were the _
Hueyi Tlatoani _ of the Aztec
It was an elected monarchy chosen by the elite. Spanish conquistador
Hernán Cortés slew
Cuauhtémoc and installed puppet rulers
who became vassals for Spain.
The only pre-Columbian South American rulers to be commonly called
emperors were the _
Sapa Inca _ of the Inca
Francisco Pizarro , conquered the Inca for Spain,
Atahualpa , and installed puppets as well. Atahualpa
may actually be considered a usurper as he had achieved power by
killing his half-brother and he did not perform the required
coronation with the imperial crown _mascaipacha _ by the _Huillaq Uma_
Pedro II ,
Emperor of Brazil in regalia at the opening of the
General Assembly (oil painting by
Pedro Américo ).
Napoleon I ordered the invasion of Portugal in 1807 because it
refused to join the
Continental System , the Portuguese Braganzas
moved their capital to
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro to avoid the fate of the Spanish
Napoleon I arrested them and made his brother Joseph king).
When the French general
Jean-Andoche Junot arrived in
Lisbon , the
Portuguese fleet had already left with all the local elite.
In 1808, under a British naval escort, the fleet arrived in Brazil.
Later, in 1815, the Portuguese
Prince Regent (since 1816
King João VI
) proclaimed the _United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves
_, as a union of three kingdoms, lifting Brazil from its colonial
After the fall of
Napoleon I and the Liberal revolution in Portugal,
the Portuguese royal family returned to
Prince Pedro of
King João's older son) stayed in South America acting as
regent of the local kingdom, but, two years later in 1822, he
proclaimed himself Pedro I , first
Emperor of Brazil . He did,
however, recognize his father, João VI, as _Titular
Brazil_ —a purely honorific title—until João VI's death in 1826.
The empire came to an end in 1889, with the overthrow of Emperor
Pedro II (Pedro I's son and successor), when the Brazilian republic
Haiti was declared an empire by its ruler,
Jean-Jacques Dessalines ,
who made himself Jacques I, on 20 May 1805. He was assassinated the
Haiti again became an empire from 1849 to 1859 under
Faustin Soulouque .
Maximilian I of Mexico , by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
In Mexico, the First Mexican
Empire was the first of two empires
created. After the declaration of independence on September 15, 1821,
it was the intention of the Mexican parliament to establish a
commonwealth whereby the
King of Spain, Ferdinand VII , would also be
Emperor of Mexico , but in which both countries were to be governed by
separate laws and with their own legislative offices. Should the king
refuse the position, the law provided for a member of the House of
Bourbon to accede to the Mexican throne.
Ferdinand VII, however, did not recognize the independence and said
that Spain would not allow any other European prince to take the
throne of Mexico. By request of Parliament, the president of the
Agustín de Iturbide was proclaimed emperor of Mexico on 12
July 1822 as
Agustín I .
Agustín de Iturbide was the general who
helped secure Mexican independence from Spanish rule, but was
overthrown by the
Plan of Casa Mata .
In 1863, the invading French, under
Napoleon III (see above), in
alliance with Mexican conservatives and nobility , helped create the
Empire , and invited
Archduke Maximilian, of the House
of Habsburg-Lorraine , younger brother of the Austrian
Josef I , to become emperor
Maximilian I of Mexico . The childless
Maximilian and his consort Empress Carlota of Mexico , daughter of
Leopold I of Belgium , adopted Agustín's grandsons Agustin and
Salvador as his heirs to bolster his claim to the throne of Mexico.
Maximilian and Carlota made
Chapultepec Castle their home, which has
been the only palace in North America to house sovereigns. After the
withdrawal of French protection in 1867, Maximilian was captured and
executed by the liberal forces of
Benito Juárez .
This empire led to French influence in the Mexican culture and also
immigration from France , Belgium, and Switzerland to Mexico.
King of Kings
Persia , from the time of
Darius the Great , Persian rulers used
the title "
King of Kings " (_Shahanshah _ in Persian) since they had
dominion over peoples from the borders of India to the borders of
Greece and Egypt.
Alexander probably crowned himself _shahanshah_
after conquering Persia, bringing the phrase _basileus toon basileoon_
to Greek. It is also known that
Tigranes the Great , king of Armenia,
was named as the king of kings when he made his empire after defeating
the Parthians . Georgian title "mephet'mephe" has the same meaning.
The last _shahanshah_ (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) was ousted in 1979
Iranian Revolution . _Shahanshah_ is usually translated
as _king of kings_ or simply _king_ for ancient rulers of the
Achaemenid , Arsacid , and
Sassanid dynasties, and often shortened to
_shah_ for rulers since the
Safavid dynasty in the 16th century.
Iranian rulers were typically regarded in the West as emperors.
The Sanskrit word for emperor is _Samrāṭ_ (word stem: _samrāj_)
or _Chakravarti_. This word has been used as an epithet of various
Vedic deities, like Varuna, and has been attested in the Rig-Veda ,
possibly the oldest compiled book among the Indo-Europeans.
_Chakravarti_ refers to the king of kings. A _Chakravarti_ is not only
a sovereign ruler but also has feudatories.
Typically, in the later Vedic age, a Hindu high king (_Maharajah_)
was only called _Samrāṭ_ after performing the Vedic _
sacrifice, enabling him by religious tradition to claim superiority
over the other kings and princes. Another word for emperor is
_sārvabhaumā_. The title of _Samrāṭ_ has been used by many rulers
of the Indian subcontinent as claimed by the Hindu mythologies. In
proper history, most historians call
Chandragupta Maurya the first
_samrāṭ_ (emperor) of the Indian subcontinent, because of the huge
empire he ruled. The most famous emperor was his grandson Ashoka the
Great . Other dynasties that are considered imperial by historians are
the Kushanas , Guptas , Vijayanagara , Kakatiya , Hoysala and the
Rudhramadevi (1259–1289) was one of the most prominent rulers of
Kakatiya dynasty on the
Deccan Plateau, being one of the few
ruling queens (empress) in Indian history.
After India was invaded by the
Mongol Khans and Turkic Muslims, the
rulers of their major states on the subcontinent were titled
_Sultān_, In this manner, the only empress-regnant ever to have
actually sat on the throne of Delhi was Razia
Sultan . The Mughal
Emperors were the only Indian rulers for whom the term was
consistently used by Western contemporaries. For the period from 1877
to 1947 when British Emperors ruled
British India as the pearl in the
crown of the British Empire, see above.
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Emperor of Ethiopia
Emperor of Ethiopia
Haile Selassie ,
Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974.
Ethiopia , the
Solomonic dynasty used, beginning in 1270, the
title of "nəgusä nägäst" which is literally "
King of Kings". The
use of the _king of kings_ style began a millennium earlier in this
region, however, with the title being used by the Kings of Aksum ,
Sembrouthes in the 3rd century. Another title used by
this dynasty was "Itegue Zetopia".
"Itegue" translates as Empress, and was also used by the only female
reigning Empress, Zauditu , along with the official title _Negiste
Negest_ (Queen of Kings).
In 1936, the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III claimed the title of
Emperor of Ethiopia
Emperor of Ethiopia after
Ethiopia was occupied by Italy during the
Second Italo-Abyssinian War
Second Italo-Abyssinian War . After the defeat of the Italians by the
British and the Ethiopians in 1941,
Haile Selassie was restored to the
throne but Victor Emmanuel did not relinquish his claim to the title
CENTRAL AFRICAN EMPIRE
Emperor of Central Africa
In 1976, President
Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African
Republic , proclaimed the country to be an autocratic Central African
Empire , and made himself
Emperor as Bokassa I. The expenses of his
coronation ceremony actually bankrupted the country. He was overthrown
three years later and the republic was restored.
EAST ASIAN TRADITION
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The rulers of China and (once Westerners became aware of the role)
Japan were always accepted in the West as emperors, and referred to as
such. The claims of other
East Asian monarchies to the title may have
been accepted for diplomatic purposes, but it was not necessarily used
in more general contexts.
Emperor of China
Qin Shi Huang
East Asian tradition is different from the Roman tradition,
having arisen separately. What links them together is the use of the
Chinese logographs 皇 (_huáng_) and 帝 (_dì_) which together or
individually are imperial. Because of the cultural influence of China,
China's neighbors adopted these titles or had their native titles
conform in _hanzi _. Anyone who spoke to the emperor was to address
him as bìxià (陛下, lit. the "Bottom of the Steps"), corresponding
to "Imperial Majesty "; shèngshàng (聖上, lit. Holy Highness); or
wànsuì (萬歲, lit. "You, of Ten Thousand Years").
In 221 BC, Ying Zheng , who was king of Qin at the time, proclaimed
Shi Huangdi _ (始皇帝), which translates as "first
emperor". _Huangdi_ is composed of _huang_ ("august one", 皇) and
_di_ ("sage-king", 帝), and referred to legendary/mythological
sage-emperors living several millennia earlier, of which three were
_huang_ and five were _di_. Thus Zheng became
Qin Shi Huang ,
abolishing the system where the _huang_/_di_ titles were reserved to
dead and/or mythological rulers. Since then, the title "king" became a
lower ranked title, and later divided into two grades. Although not as
popular, the title 王 _wang_ (king or prince) was still used by many
monarchs and dynasties in China up to the Taipings in the 19th
century. 王 is pronounced _vương_ in Vietnamese, _ō_ in Japanese,
and _wang_ in Korean.
The imperial title continued in China until the Qing
overthrown in 1912. The title was briefly revived from 12 December
1915 to 22 March 1916 by President
Yuan Shikai and again in early July
1917 when General Zhang Xun attempted to restore last Qing emperor
Puyi to the throne.
Puyi retained the title and attributes of a
foreign emperor, as a personal status, until 1924. After the Japanese
Manchuria in 1931, they proclaimed it to be the
Manchukuo , and
Puyi became emperor of Manchukuo. This empire ceased
to exist when it was occupied by the Soviet
Red Army in 1945.
In general, an emperor would have one empress (_Huanghou_, 皇后) at
one time, although posthumous entitlement to empress for a concubine
was not uncommon. The earliest known usage of _huanghou_ was in the
Dynasty . The emperor would generally select the empress from his
concubines . In subsequent dynasties, when the distinction between
wife and concubine became more accentuated, the crown prince would
have chosen an empress-designate before his reign. Imperial China
produced only one reigning empress,
Wu Zetian , and she used the same
Chinese title as an emperor (_Huangdi_, 皇帝).
Wu Zetian then
reigned for about 15 years (690–705 AD).
Emperor of Japan _
Emperor Hirohito (裕仁), or
Shōwa Emperor (昭和天皇), the last Japanese
ruled with prerogative powers, combined with assumption of divinity
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Emperor recorded in
Nihon Shoki is Emperor
Jimmu , who is said to be a descendant of
Amaterasu 's grandson Ninigi
who descended from Heaven (
Tenson kōrin ). If one believes what is
Nihon Shoki , the Emperors have an unbroken direct male
lineage that goes back more than 2,600 years.
In ancient Japan, the earliest titles for the sovereign were either
ヤマト大王/大君 (_yamato ōkimi_, Grand
King of Yamato),
King of Wa, used externally), or
治天下大王 (_amenoshita shiroshimesu ōkimi_, Grand
rules all under heaven, used internally). As early as the 7th century
the word 天皇 (which can be read either as _sumera no mikoto_,
divine order, or as _tennō_, Heavenly Emperor, the latter being
derived from a Tang Chinese term referring to the Pole star around
which all other stars revolve) began to be used. The earliest use of
this term is found on a wooden slat, or _mokkan _, unearthed in
Asuka-mura, Nara Prefecture in 1998. The slat dated back to the reign
Emperor Tenmu and
Empress Jitō . The reading 'Tennō' has become
the standard title for the Japanese sovereign up to the present age.
The term 帝 (_mikado_, Emperor) is also found in literary sources.
Japanese monarchs were given their official title by the Chinese
emperor. The new Japanese monarch after coming into power would send a
representative to China and receive the anointment. They would receive
their official title on several golden plates of several meters tall.
Since the Japanese monarchs changed their title to 天皇 (Heavenly
Emperor) in 607, the Chinese emperor refused to anoint the Japanese
king, thus, ending relations with Japan for the next few hundred
years. Although the Japanese emperors used Chinese imperial titles,,
rarely was the Chinese-style "Son of Heaven " used. In the Japanese
language, the word _tennō_ is restricted to Japan's own monarch;
_kōtei_ (皇帝) is used for foreign emperors. Historically, retired
emperors often kept power over a child-emperor as de facto regent. For
a fairly long time, a shōgun (formally the imperial generalissimo,
but made hereditary) or an imperial regent wielded actual political
power. In fact, through much of Japanese history, the emperor has been
little more than a figurehead.
After World War II, all claims of divinity were dropped (see
Ningen-sengen ). The Diet acquired all prerogative powers of the
Crown, reverting the latter to a ceremonial role. By the end of the
20th century, Japan was the only country with an emperor on the
As of the early 21st century, Japan's succession law prohibits a
female from ascending the throne. With the birth of a daughter as the
first child of the current Crown
Prince , Naruhito , Japan considered
abandoning that rule . However, shortly after the announcement that
Princess Kiko was pregnant with her third child , the proposal to
Imperial Household Law was suspended by Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi . On 3 January 2007, after the birth of her son,
Prince Hisahito ,
Shinzo Abe announced that he would
drop the proposal.
Currently, many believe the new prince of Japan will ascend the
throne, as the law defines. Historically, Japan has had eight reigning
empresses who used the genderless title _Tennō_, rather than the
female consort title _kōgō_ (皇后) or _chūgū_ (中宮). There is
ongoing discussion of the
Japanese Imperial succession controversy .
Although current Japanese law prohibits female succession, all
Japanese emperors claim to trace their lineage to _
Amaterasu _, the
Sun Goddess of the Shintō religion . Thus, the
Emperor is thought to
be the highest authority of the
Shinto religion, and one of his duties
is to perform
Shinto rituals for the people of Japan.
Emperor Gojong of the Korean
The rulers of
Goguryeo (37 BC-668 AD) used the title of _
Hangul : 태왕,
Hanja :太王), literally translated as the
_Greatest of the Kings_. Also some
Silla (57 BC-935 AD) rulers
including Beopheung and Jinheung used this title for their declaration
of independence from the influence of
The rulers of
Balhae (698–926) internally called themselves
Hangul : 성왕,
Hanja : 聖王). In the 10th century,
Gwangjong of Goryeo took the title of emperor himself as a means of
enhancing the prestige of the monarchy, and it was first used in
Korea. Many Goryeo sovereign alternately used both supreme king and
emperor. After the Mongolian invasions (1231–1258), however, Korea
relinquished the imperial title.
The rulers of the Joseon
Dynasty (1392–1897) still used the term
King of the Joseon" (
Hangul : 조선국왕,
Hanja : 朝鮮國王). In
First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–'95, Japan defeated the Qing
Dynasty China, and the
Treaty of Shimonoseki was concluded in which
Japan had China recognize the independence and autonomy of Korea.
King Gojong used term of "His Majesty the Great Monarch"
Hangul : 대군주폐하,
Hanja : 大君主陛下), not an official
King Gojong proclaimed the founding of the Korean Empire
(1897–1910), and became emperor of Korea.
Emperor Gojong declared
the new era name "Gwangmu" (
Hangul : 광무,
Hanja : 光武, Warrior
of light). The Korean
Empire maintained their state until 1910 —
though it was an
Empire by name, it was in fact in the process of
being absorbed by Japan.
Mongol Kingdoms such as the Xiongnu used the title "Chanu"
meaning "Ruler of all" in old Mongolian. However it was not until the
Chanu name was dropped and instead replaced by "Khan" that the rulers
of Mongolia claimed the divine right as the ruler of all under the
blue sky, this rule was closely tied with the ancient religious
beliefs of the people of Mongolia (
Tengrism ). The title
of khans or grand khan) was held by
Genghis Khan , founder of the
Empire in 1206. After 1271, the emperors of the Yuan Dynasty
also took the Chinese title _huangdi_, or Chinese emperor . Only the
Genghis Khan to the fall of the Yuan
Dynasty in 1368 are
normally referred to as Emperors in English.
Bảo Đại , the last
Emperor of Vietnam
Ngô Quyền, the first ruler of
Đại Việt as an independent
state, used the title _Vương_ (王, _King_). However, after the
death of Ngô Quyền, the country immersed in a civil war known as
Chaos of the 12 Lords that lasted for over 20 years. In the end, Đinh
Bộ Lĩnh unified the country after defeating all the warlords and
became the first ruler of
Đại Việt to use the title _Hoàng
Đế_ (皇帝, _Emperor_) in 968. Succeeding rulers in Vietnam then
continued to use this
Emperor title until 1806 when this title was
stopped being used for a century.
Đinh Bộ Lĩnh wasn't the first to claim the title of _Đế_ (帝,
_Emperor_). Before him,
Lý Bí and
Mai Thúc Loan also claimed this
title. However, their rules were very short lived.
The Vietnamese emperors also gave this title to their ancestors who
were lords or influence figures in the previous dynasty like the
Chinese emperors. This practice is one of many indications of the idea
"Vietnam's equality with China" which remained intact up to the
In 1802 the newly established Nguyễn dynasty requested canonization
Jiaqing Emperor and received the title _Quốc Vương_
King of a State)_ and the name of the country as _An Nam_
(安南) instead _Đại Việt_ (大越). To avoid unnecessary armed
conflicts, the Vietnamese rulers accepted this in diplomatic relation
and use the title
Emperor only domestically. However, Vietnamese
rulers never accepted the vassalage relationship with China and always
refused to come to Chinese courts to pay homage to Chinese rulers (a
sign of vassalage acceptance). China waged a number of wars against
Vietnam throughout history, and after each failure, settled for the
tributary relationship. The Yuan dynasty under
Kublai Khan waged three
wars against Vietnam to force it into a vassalage relationship but
after successive failures,
Kublai Khan 's successor,
Temür Khan ,
finally settled for a tributary relationship with Vietnam. Vietnam
sent tributary missions to China once in three years (with some
periods of disruptions) until the 19th century,
Sino-French War France
replaced China in control of northern Vietnam.
The emperors of the last dynasty of Vietnam continued to hold this
title until the French conquered Vietnam. The emperor, however, was
then a puppet figure only and could easily be disposed of by the
French for more pro-France figure. Japan took Vietnam from France and
the Axis -occupied Vietnam was declared an empire by the Japanese in
March 1945. The line of emperors came to an end with
Bảo Đại ,
who was deposed after the war, although he later served as head of
South Vietnam from 1949-55.
The lone holders of the imperial title in
Oceania were the heads of
the semi-mythical Tuʻi Tonga
There have been many fictional emperors in movies and books. To see a
list of these emperors, see
Category of fictional emperors and
Lists of emperors
* ^ Harper, Douglas. "emperor". _
Online Etymology Dictionary _.
* ^ George Ostrogorsky , "Avtokrator i samodržac", _Glas Srpske
kraljevske akadamije_ CLXIV, Drugi razdred 84 (1935), 95–187
* ^ Nicol, Donald MacGillivray, _The Last Centuries of Byzantium_,
second edition (Cambridge: University Press, 1993), p. 74
* ^ Agostino never saw the Sultan, but probably did see and sketch
the helmet in Venice.
* ^ The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1968. "Turquerie" _The
Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin_, New Series 26 (5): 229.
* ^ Garnier, p.52
* ^ Levey, 65.
* ^ _Napoleon_, Vincent Cronin, p419, HarperCollins, 1994.
* ^ _Napoleon_, Frank McLynn, p644, Pimlico 1998
* ^ _Le Mémorial de Sainte Hélène_, Emmanuel De Las Cases, Tome
III, page101, published by Jean De Bonnot, Libraire à l'enseigne du
* ^ Appelbaum, Nancy P.; Macpherson, Anne S.; Rosemblatt, Karin
Alejandra (2003). _Race and nation in modern Latin America_. UNC Press
Books. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-8078-5441-9 .
* ^ Notice that, before the emergence of the modern country of
Spain (beginning with the union of Castile and
Aragon in 1492), the
Latin word _
Hispania _, in any of the
Iberian Romance languages ,
either in singular or plural forms (in English: Spain or Spains), was
used to refer to the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, and not
exclusively, as in modern usage, to the country of Spain, thus
* ^ Vadala,
Alexander Attilio (2011-01-01). "Elite Distinction and
Regime Change: The Ethiopian Case". _Comparative Sociology_. 10 (4):
636–653. ISSN 1569-1330 . doi :10.1163/156913311X590664 .
* ^ Lentz, Harris M (1994-01-01). _Heads of states and governments:
a worldwide encyclopedia of over 2,300 leaders, 1945 through 1992_.
Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0899509266 .
* ^ "Once upon a time, China anointed a \'
King of Japan\' - The
Japan Times". _The Japan Times_.
* ^ Although the
Emperor of Japan is classified as constitutional
monarch among political scientists, the current constitution of Japan
defines him only as 'a symbol of the nation' and no subsequent
legislation states his status as the (head of state ) or equates the
Crown synonymously with any government establishment.
* ^ New Book of Tang vol.209
* ^ Tuyet Nhung Tran, Anthony J. S. Reid (2006), _Việt Nam
Borderless Histories_, Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin
Press, p. 67, ISBN 978-0-299-21770-9
Wikimedia Commons has media related to EMPERORS _.
* Ian Mladjov\'s site at University of Michigan:
* Monarchs (chronology and genealogy)
* Monarchs (more genealogy)
* GND : 4114123-4
Emperor additional terms