What if the Persian Empire Reunited Today?
First published: Saturday August 7th, 2021
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At its height in around 500BC, the First Persian Empire was one of the largest and most powerful empires at its time. The empire practically dominated the Middle East and Western Asia, stretching all the way from Greece continuously to parts of Western China. However, like all empires, the Persian Empire's Golden Age didn't last forever and gradually, it lost its power and influence it once had in the region. The rest of the empire was finally finished off by the newly emerging Macedonian Empire and their heroic leader, Alexander The Great, during a series of brutal wars between the two, and finally the Persian Empire ceased to exist in 330BC, paving the way for new empires to take control of the region. But what if it reunited today?
Population and Land
As always, the first thing we need to think about a reunited Persian Empire is the population and land it would have in control. First of all, a total of 32 countries would lose all or some of their territory to the reunited empire: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Oman, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the UAE, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan
don't say all of this in one breath. 6 of these countries would be located in Europe, 2 would be located in Africa, and the vast majority of 24 would be located in Asia.
Due to many countries making up the Persian Empire, it would also have a huge land area, standing at 2,120,000 square miles (5,500,000 sq km)! This massive number would be enough to make the empire the 7th largest country in the world, much larger than other big countries like Argentina (1,052,089 sq miles) and an independent India (1,269,345 sq miles), but still smaller than the 6th place contender, Australia (2,969,906 sq miles).
As well as a significant land area, the population of the Persian Empire would also be massive, at around 591,240,000 people, which is around the same population as a reunited Macedonian Empire. This would make the empire the 3rd most populous country in the world, steaming well ahead of other very populated countries like Indonesia (273.5 Million) and the United States (331 Million), but still quite behind the population giants of an independent India (1.38 Billion) and China (1.439 Billion). Such a huge population would mainly be due to the booming population centres in the empire like Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan.
A reunited Persian/Achaemenid Empire would also boast some huge and impressive cities within its borders. To start off, we need to think of a capital city for the empire which would be a very hard choice to make as its historic capital was Pasargadae, which is no more than ancient ruins today. So, we would have to think of a completely new capital for the empire. In my opinion, Baghdad would be the most likely choice as the city is located at nearly the exact centre of the empire and its culture is not far off from the Persian culture in modern-day Iran and the culture of the historic Persian Empire. Baghdad is also a very significant economic and population hub with a moderate population of 7,150,000. However, Baghdad would still not be the most populous city in the empire despite being in the top 10. Instead, Cairo would be the most populous urban area, with a population of just over 21,500,000, dwarfing Baghdad's population in comparison. Nonetheless, here would be the rest of the top 10 largest cities within the empire:
- Cairo (21,500,000)
- Karachi (18,200,000)
- Istanbul (16,200,000)
- Tehran (15,500,000)
- Lahore (13,500,000)
- Baghdad (7,150,000)
- Alexandria (5,950,000)
- Amman (5,700,000)
- Ankara (5,150,000)
- Kuwait City (4,750,000)
Money and GDP
Similar to its land and population, the Persian Empire's economy and GDP would be as equally impressive. To start off, the empire's Nominal GDP would stand at a whopping $3.712 Trillion, which would be enough to supercharge it to 5th place, in terms of Nominal GDP, beating up other big economies like an independent India ($3.049 Trillion) and the United Kingdom ($3.124 Trillion), but still remaining quite behind the 4th place contender, Germany ($4.319 Trillion).
Moving on, the GDP Per Capita of the empire, however, wouldn't be so impressive as its GDP, standing at $6,280. The reason for this would probably be due to the poor living standards in some areas of the empire like Syria and Egypt, despite the high living standards in Israel and Kuwait. Nonetheless, this number would be enough to place the empire with the 110th highest living standards in the world, just ahead of the conditions in Albania ($5,991) and Colombia ($5,753), but behind that of Belarus ($6,487) and North Macedonia's ($6,487).
Also, the Persian Empire would also control a huge amount of the world's oil reserves, 40% to be exact, and would also control a further 38% of the entire world's natural gas reserves, mostly located in the central Middle East and Western Saudi Arabia. Oil and Crude Petroleum would probably be the empire's largest export, as many modern-day countries that make up the empire already have that as their largest export.
Religion and Ethnic Groups
Starting with Religion, Islam would be the largest prevailing religion in the empire at a clear majority of 94% of the population, split between 30% Shias and 64% Sunnis. Christianity would make up the next largest religion at 4.2%, split between 3.5% Catholic and 0.7% Orthodox, and the final 1.8% would be made up of Atheists and Irreligious people.
Focusing on Ethnic Groups now, Indo-Aryan ethnicities, mainly focused around the western part of the empire would be the largest Ethnic Group within its borders at 33%, despite not making a clear majority of 50%. Not far behind, Arabs would make up the next largest ethnicity in the empire at 25%, trailed by Turks at 10%. Persians themselves would only make up 8.4% of the population, despite the empire being called "The Persian Empire", which is quite ironic. Kurds would be next, at 6%, closely followed by Azerbaijanis at 5.6%, Pashtuns at 5%, and Jews at 1.5%. Finally, the remaining 5.5% of the population would be a mix of various other small Ethnic Groups present within the empire.
Green = Islam
Dark Blue = Christianity
Light Blue= Judaism
Orange = Hinduism
The last topic we need to think about a reunited Persian Empire is its military size, which would definitely be no disappointment at all. Starting with manpower, the empire would possess about 1,979,500 active-duty personnel. This is a huge amount and would make it have the 2nd highest amount of active-duty troops, well ahead of other massive militaries like the United States (1,359,450 troops) and India (1,444,500 troops), and only just merely behind that of China's (2,035,000 troops. In addition to this, the empire would also have 2,015,000 troops placed in reserves, bringing its military to a total of 3,994,450 troops.
The Persian Empire's budget to fund this military would also be a significant amount standing at an around $62.6 Billion, or 1.7% of the its entire Nominal GDP. This would be enough to make give the empire the 5th highest budget in the world, ahead of Saudi Arabia's ($61.9 Billion) and France's ($50.1 Billion), but still quite behind the budgets of Russia ($65.1 Billion) and India ($71.7 Billion).
As well as this, a reunited Persian Empire would be a Nuclear Power, inheriting all of Israel's and some of India's Nuclear Arsenal. An exact amount would be unclear to predict but an estimated number would be between 80-600 nukes at its disposal.
Yugoslavia | Austria-Hungary | Nazi Germany | Mughal Empire
If you have any new suggestions for significant empires you want me to cover that I haven't yet done, then please let me know in the comments. But for now, thank you so much for reading and goodbye! :)
Mughal Empire | 6 votes | 1st Place
Yugoslavia | 2 votes | 2nd Place
Nazi Germany | 0 votes | Joint 3rd Place
Austria-Hungary | 0 votes | Joint 3rd Place
But if I could choose another one, would be Egyptian Empire. Wait did you did that already?
I vote for Yugoslavia after that.
hopefully you'll implement all of them hopefullyimplement all of your suggestions :)