Could One Country Conquer The Whole World? We Find Out

Throughout history some countries have created enormous empires. The Mongols, the British, and Russians all ruled over huge parts of the world. But when we look at these empires from the past, and compare their technology to today’s, we need to ask, could a modern country take it further? Could one country conquer the whole world?

No nation could conquer the whole world. There is no nation powerful enough to take over every other country on earth. No country has the ambition to take over the world and it is almost impossible to conceive of a country trying to achieve world domination.

…but that’s just an overview. Let’s look more at the history of world domination and try and understand better why no country is powerful enough to take over the whole world.

Why Would A Country Try And Conquer The World?

To understand the idea of world domination, we first need to assess why any country would want to conquer the world? There are definite benefits for countries to form empires, but why would a nation want to go further and control every other country on earth? To break it down, there are four main reasons:

  • Control of resources
  • Ideology
  • Removal of external threats
  • Dominate the global economy

Let’s take a quick look at these…

Control of Resources

A major reason countries build empires is to control natural resources. Essentially, conquering territory allows countries to extract natural resources cheaper than they can buy them on the international market. A country may want to take over the whole world in order to access the entire earths resources or deny them to every other country.


Another reason why countries try to conquer other countries is because of their leader’s ideology. There are many political theories that promote the idea that one country should conquer others. There have been ideologies in the past that have promoted almost total world domination. This could be a reason a country tries to takeover the whole world.

Removal of External Threats

Nations can attack other countries if they feel they pose a significant threat to their security. It is conceivable a country could aim for world domination because it wanted to remove all external threats.

Dominate The Global Economy

A final reason why one country could try and takeover the whole world is to dominate the global economy. If a nation decided it needed to exert direct control over world economics, it could try and build a global empire to do this.

Has A Country Ever Achieved World Domination?

So, we now know why countries would strive for world domination. We also know that no country today has the power to conquer the whole world. But what about in history? Has any nation in the past ever take over the whole planet?

No country has ever conquered the whole world. No empire in history has achieved world domination and no nation has ever had total global control.

History has seen some large empires. However, no single nation has achieved world domination.

Almost no country in the past has had the stated objective of taking over the world. When great empires were being formed, there were almost always other competing empires at the same time. Nations knew they could not defeat the armies of every other country and so remained focused on building their own empires and denying territory to other empire building nations.

Which Countries Have Tried To Conquer The World?

It’s clear that no country today could take over the entire world. It’s also clear that not country in history achieved world domination. However, are there any countries that have tried to conquer the whole world, even if they failed?

No country has ever tried to conquer the whole world. Even the largest empires in history – the British, Mongol, and Russian, never tried to take over the entire planet.

When countries have set out to conquer territory, their aims have included acquiring natural resources, controlling strategically important locations, subjugating rival peoples and gaining economic opportunities. All of these can be achieved without needing to conquer the whole world.

Throughout history, when enormous empires such as the British or Russian where being formed, the leaders of the nation’s new that they could not take over the whole world. There nations were not powerful enough to conquer every other country in the world.

Empire building nations throughout history have strategically chosen which places to conquer based on what they can gain from the territory and if they can defeat the people there. This rationale could not be applied to the entire world, and it is a major reason why no country has ever tried to achieve world domination.

Which Countries Came Close To World Domination?

No country has actively tried to achieve world domination and there isn’t a country in history that has achieved it either. However, are there any countries that have come close to world domination, even if conquering the whole world was not their stated aim?

Britain is the country that has come closest to conquering the whole world. At the height of the British Empire, it controlled 23% of the world’s territory. However, Britain never tried to conquer the whole world and did not achieve world domination.

When discussing which countries came closest to conquering the whole world it is important to state that none of the largest empires in history set out to achieve world domination.

The British empire was the largest in history. At its height in 1920 it covered 34 million square kilometres and ruled over 400 million people. Essentially, the British came closest to achieving world domination by the fact that they ruled over more of the world than any other empire in history. However, the British empire never aimed to conquer the entire world.

In existence from 1206 to 1368, the Mongol empire was the second largest in human history. It covered nine million square miles and stretched from present day China and Korea to Turkey and Bulgaria. However, as with the British empire, the Mongols never tried to conquer the whole world. They were always aware of other states and peoples and knew that although they dominated much of the known world, they did not have the power to conquer everywhere.

At its height in late 19th Century, the Russian empire was 22.8 million square kilometres and covered nearly 20% of the world. It had a population of 125 million people. It was the third largest empire in human history. However, it could not be said that the Russians came close to conquering the world. The Russian empire was created during a period of great imperial rivalry as many other European countries created empires. The Russians never tried to takeover every country in the world.

How Would A Nation Conquer The World?

Ok, so we know there isn’t a country today that could conquer the world. We’ve also looked through history at countries that may have tried, but failed, to achieve world domination. But finally, if we’re going to fully understand the concept of world domination, we need to think about how a country could conquer the whole world. Really, there are two ways:

  • Military conquest
  • Forming a global federation

Let’s go over each of these…

Military Conquest

The first way a country could take over the whole world is through military conquest. This would mean one country defeating the armies of every other country in the world and taking them over by force. This is how almost every nation in history has built its empire.

There is no country in the world that has the military strength to defeat the armies of every other country and take them over. There has also never been a nation in history with an army that strong. It’s not possible for a country to militarily defeat all others.

Forming A Global Federation

The second way one state could gain control of the entire world would be by creating a global federation of nations that it controlled. This has never been achieved in history, although some parts of the British empire acted as a kind of federation with ultimate control still lying with the British government.

There is no political will or public support for creating a global federation. There is also no country that aims to create a world federation as a way to take over the entire world.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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