Difference Between Empire and Kingdom - Empire vs Kingdom

By K Balaji|Updated : January 25th, 2023

The difference between empire and kingdom is that an empire is typically a group of nations or states under the control of a single emperor or king, whereas a kingdom is often just one state that one monarch rules. An Empire can consist of many kingdoms as well. Most people think that the term 'Empire' is a synonym for 'Kingdom'

Difference Between Empire and Kingdom PDF

The truth is that the meanings of these terms are very different. The difference between empire and kingdom is that a Kingdom refers to a single or more domains ruled by a King or a Queen, whereas in an Empire, an Emperor or Empress rules a collection of countries. Let us check the difference between empire and kingdom in the upcoming sections.

Table of Content

Difference Between Empire and Kingdom

Even though they sound like similar concepts, there is a significant difference between empire and kingdom. Although no official Empires exist in the modern world, some Kingdoms like the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Hawaii, Mali, and so on still exist.

Here's a set of differences in tabular form to help you understand the difference between Empire and Kingdom.

Empire vs Kingdom

Difference Between Kingdom and Empire

Empire

Kingdom

An Empire is a set of several regions towards one person’s (Emperor or Empress) authority.

A Kingdom is one of the regions under the Empire that a King or a Queen rules.

One person can only rule an Empire, and that is the Emperor or the Empress.

A Kingdom can have more than one ruler at a time.

A Kingdom ruled by one King is called a Monarchy, and when two people rule a kingdom, it is called a Biarchy.

Similarly, when more than two people rule a certain Kingdom, it is called Oligarchy.

An Empire expands in size by absorbing more regions.

A Kingdom transforms into an Empire when it absorbs other regions.

Generally, an Emperor or Empress is the outright authority who settles on critical decisions regarding the empire; however, in specific cases, powerful aristocrats' voice is also regarded.

A King or Queen is the authority, but on account of a constitutional monarchy, the authority might be restricted by a parliament or the ruling body of ministers.

Examples: British Empire, Roman Empire, Arab Empire, etc.

Examples: Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Travancore Kingdom, etc.

Empire and Kingdom

We have already understood the difference between empire and kingdom. Both their natures and how they were created differ from one another. In contrast to a kingdom, which is just a country or nation-state dominated by another force, an empire is a collection of sovereign states that have come under the sway of one dominant entity. To compare and contrast empire and kingdom, it is important to understand the characteristics mentioned below.

What is an Empire?

An Empire or realm is a group of states or nations controlled by a solitary ruler, an oligarchy, or a sovereign state. An Emperor or Empress rules an empire. They are considered more powerful than Kings or Queens since they command a larger geographical region.

  • Kings or Queens can likewise govern the various states and locales, but the Emperor controls the whole region.
  • An Empire can come into power by legacy or conquest.
  • A large portion of the strong empires in the world are made by conquering various nations.
  • For example, when a King conquers another region, his Kingdom becomes an Empire, and he becomes an Emperor.

What is a Kingdom?

A Kingdom is a single state or country administered by a King or Queen. A Queen becomes the ruler when the King dies or no male beneficiaries are in the Royal family. Kingdoms can have more than one ruler at a time.

  • A Kingdom ruled by one King is called a Monarchy, and when two people rule a Kingdom, it is called a Biarchy.
  • Similarly, when more than two people rule a certain Kingdom, it is called an oligarchy.
  • Even though a King or Queen is considered the Kingdom's ruler, the Kingdom can also be a part of an Empire.
  • When this happens, the ruler of the Kingdom is under the empire's influence.

Summary:

Key Difference Between Empire and Kingdom

The key difference between empire and kingdom is given below.

  • An empire is a collection of nations, states, or areas under the control of a monarch, an oligarchy, or a sovereign state.
  • However, a kingdom is a nation, state, or region governed by a king or queen.
  • An empire is ruled by an Emperor, whereas a King/Queen rules a Kingdom.
  • An empire is larger in geographical area than a kingdom.
  • An empire can develop from another empire either voluntarily—when the citizens of a nation consent to cede control to a foreign government, or involuntarily when an outside force overthrows that nation's government.
  • In essence, it is a nation that has abused force to rule its own citizens.
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FAQs on Difference Between Empire and Kingdom

  • The difference between Empire and Kingdom is that while Empire is a set of several regions towards one person’s (Emperor or Empress) authority, Kingdom is one of the regions that fall under the Empire that is ruled by a King or a Queen.

  • A large union of states or nations governed by a single monarch, an oligarchy, or a sovereign state is known as an empire.

    • An emperor is the head of an empire.
    • An empress is a female head of state or an emperor's wife.
    • Either inheritance or conquest can lead to the rise of an empire.
  • The difference between Empire and Kingdom in terms of authority is that while an Emperor or Empress is the outright authority who settles on critical decisions regarding the empire, A King or Queen is the outright authority in a Kingdom.

  • A kingdom is a territory, nation, or state governed by a king or queen. A kingdom with one king is called a monarchy, while a kingdom with several kings is called an oligarchy. However, a biarchy is a kingdom where two people share power.

  • An empire is bigger in geographical area than a kingdom. It is because an Empire is a set of several areas towards one Emperor or Empress control, whereas a Kingdom is one of the regions under the Empire.

  • Based on the number of rulers, the difference between Empire and Kingdom is that while Empire can only be ruled by one person, the Emperor or the Empress, a Kingdom can have more than one ruler at a time.

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