What If the Arabian Empire Reunited Today? Over one thousand years ago in the Eighth Century, the most powerful empire in the world was the Arab Caliphate, ruled by the Umayyad Dynasty.
It was the largest empire the world had ever seen up to that point, and in the year 720, the empire stretched all the way from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to India in the east.
It was, without a doubt, the most powerful empire in the world, but gradually, over the centuries, receeded into history.
That then begs the question: What if this old empire was reunited today in the modern world with the exact same borders that it had in the year 720?
Despite how utterly impossible this is, let’s just assume that the Caliphate suddenly just appeared back into existence instantly with its exact borders.
Thirty-six different modern countries would lose all or some of their territory to the Caliphate, including places as far away from each other as Portugal and India.
11.1 million square kilometers of territory would belong to the empire, which would make it the second-largest country in the world, behind only Russia.
It would be home to a population of 665,217,000 people, which would place it as the third most populous country in the world, behind both India and China.
Compared to the recreated Roman Empire, the Caliphate would have a similar but slightly smaller population.
Something interesting that I discovered while doing the research for this video was that despite the empire being called the ‘Arab Caliphate,’ Arabs themselves would only form a plurality within the country at forty-six percent of the population.
It’s easy to see why, since the empire covers an extremely diverse amount of land, with Spaniards and Portuguese over here, Turks here, Kurds here, Persians here, and Pakistanis and Indians over here, in the east.
Arabic would be the official language spoken by a majority of the population, but Arabic itself is quite different from place to place.
Arabic speakers in some parts of North Africa, for example, are completely incomprehensible to many Arabic speakers from Syria or Iraq for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps every variety of the language would be considered as ‘official,’ but overall, Arabic would remain the most well-understood language within the borders of the empire.
Of course, from the title of this video, and the area of the world that we’re talking about, you probably were safe to assume that Islam would be the dominant religion within this empire.
Islam would be represented by eighty-five percent of the Caliphate’s modern population, divided between sixty-four percent being Sunni, and twenty-one percent being Shi’a.
The Caliphate would also have a very large Christian minority,represented by nine percent of the population.
Jews would make up one percent of the population, Hindus, Zoroastrians, and other faiths would make up a following three percent, and the final two percent would be made up of Atheists or non-religious persons.
Also, interestingly,the largest city in the Caliphate,Karachi, would be located in Pakistan,outside of the main Arab core.
Karachi has almost as many people living in it than all of Afghanistan combined, for example.
And the other biggest cities in the Caliphate would be Cairo,Tehran,Baghdad,and Riyadh.
However, I would expect that Damascus would likely become the reunited empire’s capital city since it was the capital of the Caliphate back in the year 720 at the empire’s territorial height.
And now, we need to move on to every empire’s favourite subject:Money.
The reunited Arab Caliphate would have a nominal G.D.P of 5.34 trillion U.S. dollars, which would mean it would be the third-largest economy in the world, overtaking both Germany and Japan, but remaining behind China and the United States.
But that’s actually a pretty high-valued economy compared to other empires that I’ve covered in the past, like the Soviet Union,and the United African Continent, for example.
However, the Caliphate’s nominal G.D.P per capita would be down to just 8,027 dollars a person, which means that the average living conditions for the average citizen would be roughly the same as it is for the average citizen in China today.
Of course, since the Caliphate would absorb entire countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, and Qatar, it would instantly become by far the world’s largest producer of oil.
In fact, nearly thirty percent of all the Earth’s oil production would be controlled by the Caliphate, which would give it enormous leverage on the world stage.
The other tool that the empire could use as leverage would be its massive military, which would become the largest in the world with 4,214,000 active-duty troops.
That’s more active-duty soldiers than China and the United States combined, and in addition, the Caliphate would find itself in possession of an additional 4,216,000 troops placed in reserves.
If called upon, the Caliphate by far, the largest military force in the world.
The only two empires that I’ve covered before who’d have larger militaries would be both the Mongol,and British empires.
With all things being considered,the reunited modern Arab Caliphate would almost certainly be a potential world superpower.
Governing from its capital of Damascus, the Caliphate would be the second-largest country in the world, have the third-highest population in the world, have the third largest global economy, it would be in possession of the world’s largest military, and also control thirty percent of the entire world’s oil production, vastly more than any other individual country.
It would probably be similar in world power projection to modern-day China, but it could struggle with the vast ethnic diversities such a large empire would bring, its relatively low living conditions on average, and the large divide between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims within the country.
Internal pressures and problems are what tore the historical Caliphate apart before it finally succumbed to the Mongol invasions in 1258.
So it would be interesting to see how, or if, the modern version of it could overcome these similar problems.
Leave your thoughts and comments below about your theories on how this modern empire would handle itself in our modern world.
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