Top 7 Oldest Monarchies In The World

Monarchies have played a significant role in the history and development of many countries around the world. Monarchies are a form of government where a single individual, often referred to as a monarch or a sovereign, holds supreme authority and usually inherits the position based on hereditary succession.

Monarchies have existed for thousands of years and have taken various forms throughout history. There are various forms of monarchies around the world such as absolute, constitutional, and elective.

Here we would like to share with you the top 7 oldest monarchies in the world, their histories, and contemporary roles.

7. Kingdom of Denmark (10th Century)

The Kingdom of Denmark, also known as the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, dates back to the Viking Age, which began around the late 8th century. During this time, the Danish territory consisted of a collection of small tribes and chiefdoms.

However, one of the earliest notable Danish kings was Gorm the Old, who reigned during the 10th century. He is often associated with the establishment of the Jelling Stones, large runestones that commemorate the conversion to Christianity and the unification of Denmark under his rule.

In 1849, Denmark adopted a constitution that transformed the country into a constitutional monarchy, limiting the powers of the monarchy and establishing a parliamentary system of government. This marked the transition to modern Denmark as we know it today.

6. Kingdom of Norway (9th Century)

The Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic country with a rich history that dates back to its foundation as a unified state. Before the formal establishment of the Kingdom of Norway, the region was divided into various petty kingdoms and chieftaincies, each with its own rulers and leaders.

The process of unifying Norway began in earnest with the reign of Harald Fairhair, who ruled from approximately 872 to 930 AD. Harald Fairhair is often credited with being the first king to unite significant parts of Norway under a single monarch.

The country gradually embraced Christianity, with the first Christian king, Olaf Tryggvason, ascending to the throne in the late 10th century. Today, the Kingdom of Norway is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government.

5. British Monarchy (9th Century)

The foundation of the British monarchy is a complex tale that encompasses the amalgamation of various tribal and regional entities into a unified kingdom. King Alfred of Wessex, known as Alfred the Great, played a crucial role in resisting Viking invasions and became the first monarch of the Kingdom of England in the 9th century.

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066, led by William the Conqueror led to the establishment of the Normans' control over England and the beginning of Norman rule. The true formation of the United Kingdom came later, with the passing of the Acts of Union in 1707 and 1800.
The Acts of Union merged the separate parliaments of England and Scotland and, later, Ireland into the Parliament of the United Kingdom, creating the political entity known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain (1707) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801).

Over time, the British monarchy evolved into the constitutional monarchy that we see today.

4. Kingdom of Morocco (8th Century)

The Kingdom of Morocco, located in North Africa, is a nation with a rich and intricate history that has shaped its cultural, political, and social landscape for centuries. The Arab-Muslim conquest of North Africa in the 7th century led to the spread of Islam in the region. 

Morocco became part of the larger Islamic caliphates, including the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. 

The Idrisids, who governed Morocco from 788 to 971, are frequently acknowledged for laying the foundations of the initial Moroccan state. The Alaouite dynasty, presently in control, ascended to prominence in the 17th century until today. 

Throughout its history, the leader of Morocco has assumed various titles, including sultan, but since 1957, the title of King has been employed. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government.

3. Sultanate of Oman (8th Century)

Oman's early history is closely tied to the ancient civilizations that flourished in the region. In the year 751 AD, Ibadi Muslims founded an imamate in Oman, appointing Al-Julanda bin Mas’ood as the inaugural official ruler of the country. 

This imamate persisted until 1749, when the Al Said dynasty ascended to power(until today), ushering in the establishment of the Sultanate of Oman. Ahmad bin Said is often considered the first Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ibadi branch of Islam with the Al Said family bringing stability to the region and establishing the framework for modern Oman.

Unlike the monarchies previously listed, the Sultanate of Oman practices an absolute monarchy as it gains full power in the country.

2. Kingdom of Cambodia (1st Century)

The Kingdom of Cambodia, located in Southeast Asia, has a rich and complex history that spans over a millennium. Unlike other monarchs which started with a male ruler, Cambodia's monarchy came into existence under the rule of Queen Soma.

She holds the distinction of being both Cambodia's inaugural official monarch and its first female leader. The country initially adopted a constitutional monarchy, but political turmoil and conflicts, including the Vietnam War, reshaped its history.

After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia went through a period of recovery and rebuilding. A new constitution was adopted in 1993 where the King of Cambodia was elected by the Royal Council of the Throne.

1. Imperial House of Japan (~660 BC)

The Imperial House of Japan, also known as the Japanese imperial family, is one of the oldest hereditary monarchies in the world, with a lineage that spans over 2,600 years. Its foundation date is traditionally linked to the mythical first emperor of Japan, Emperor Jimmu, though the historical veracity of his existence remains a subject of debate.

According to Japanese mythology and the "Kojiki" and "Nihon Shoki," two ancient historical texts, Emperor Jimmu is said to have ascended to the throne in 660 BC making it the oldest monarchy in the world. He is believed to be a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu, making him a divine figure in Japanese culture.

The Japanese imperial lineage officially acknowledges 125 monarchs, commencing with Emperor Jimmu. However, the documented records of the imperial succession lineage extend back only as far as Emperor Ōjin, who reigned during the early 4th century.


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