A time of Emperors

At the start of the 19th century the idea that if you have an empire, especially one encompassing multiple kingdoms, you should bear the title Emperor?

e.g. Britain is a multiple kingdom (Great Britain and Ireland, where Great Britain is a union of the kingdoms and Scotland and England, where in Henrician times England basically annexed Wales etc) and has large overseas colonies

Spain could look at itself similarly

The idea that Napoleon could be EMPEROR of France, relating it back to the Carolingians is so dubious as a legal title, that surely everyone else can look at it and think "Why not me?"

Spain, for example, one of the medieval Alphonsos actually styled himself Emperor of Spain because he had united briefly under his personal rule the kingdoms that would a few centuries later come to form Spain

Spain also rules Mexico, whose ruler was an emperor

Spain also was willed the succession to the Byzantine empire [sic] according to some accounts

Athelstan, King of England, called himself "Imperator" in the 9th century, surely no less a "legitimate" claim. This persisted on and off until the Norman Conquest

Not sure what other countries could have claimed it?
Denmark?- they have Norway, Iceland, Greenland, West African, Caribbean and Indian colonies at this time
Sweden? - they have Finland, Pomerania, but have lost most else
The Papacy?

Best Regards
Grey Wolf
 
Extant Emperors in 1800:

Francis II - Holy Roman Emperor (would be Francis I, Austrian Emperor in a few years' time)
Selim III - Ottoman Emperor
Paul I - Russian Emperor

Surprisingly that's it, every other monarch was a king during this time.
 
Napoleon 3 ruled over the lands that were previously known as France, Brittany, Aquitaine and Arles. Over time, more and more people assimilated into just being French. In that way he was an emperor.

In any case, the rule of thumb is that a ruler can call himself whatever (s)he wants as long as they can back it up. And Napoleon 3 had the forces of (almost) all frenchmen with him, so he could certainly back it up (at least until he got captured by the Prussians and forced to abdicate).
 
Actually, the Portuguese can claim to be successors of Majapahit since the last ruler of Majapahit actually died allied with them.
 
According to The Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532, England was already an empire.

Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles, it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial Crown of the same, ...
This Act was repealed only in the sixties.
 
According to The Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532, England was already an empire.


Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles, it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial Crown of the same, ...


This Act was repealed only in the sixties.
As Athelstan first used to the title Imperator, and it was in some use up to Edward the Confessor's time, this might be a continuation of that tradition?

So, it becomes a question of when "grade inflation" takes impact and people start to actually use the imperial title that their dignity allows them to do so?
 
Well, it really depends on how insecure the ruler in question is about his authority and dignity. Take Italy for example. The Savoia family could have declared themselves Emperor in the Roman fashion, and it wouldn't have seemed very strange because after all, Rome itself is the capital.

On the other side, we have Haiti.
 
Besides the aforementioned Ecclesiastical Appeals Act, the British monarch was Emperor of India after 1857 anyways.
 
I seem to recall that a British proposal to name the monarch "Emperor" was shot down precisely because Napoleon had claimed that title for himself, thus reducing its value and prestige.
 
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