Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer ExistEvery imperial project, no matter how great, eventually meets its downfall. In fact, you may be reading this in a country that was once part of a now-vanished international superpower. Here are maps that reveal the rise and fall of the world's most ambitious empires.

The British Empire (between the late 15th century and 2007)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Gerrynobody, The Red Hat Of Pat Ferrick and Wikimedia Commons, made by Walter Crane in 1886)

The Roman Empire or Imperium Romanum (West: 27 BC - AD 476, East: 330 - 1453)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

The maximum extent of the Roman Empire.

(via Wikimedia Commons and Andrei Nacu)

Empire of the Huns (c. 370-469)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Wikimedia Commons, made by William R. Shepherd)

Holy Roman Empire (962-1806)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Jaspe)

Mongol Empire (1206-1368)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Maps On The Web)

The Ottoman Empire (1299-1823)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Esemono and Zonu)

The Aztec empire (originated in 1427 as a triple-alliance between three city-states named Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan. It reached its maximal size in 1519 shortly before the Spanish conquistadors led by Cortes arrived.)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Wikimedia Commons)

French Colonial Empire (1534-1980)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Andrei Nacu)

Qing Dynasty (1644-1912)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Pryaltonian)

Russian Empire (1721-1917)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Shadowxfox)

The Austro-Hungarian Empire (or Austria-Hungary, 1867-1918)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Navona Numismatics)

The Empire of Japan (1868-1947)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

The dark green part was the actual territory of the Empire between 1870 and 1905. The lighter areas were acquisitions between 1905-1930 (medium green) and 1930-1942 (light green).

(via Shadowxfox)

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (known as USSR or Soviet Union, 1922-1991)

Maps of Vast Empires That No Longer Exist

(via Ma GioZal)