The Phrygians (pronounced FRIJ-ans) commanded a wide swath of modern Turkey from around 1200 to 700 B.C. Their most famous ruler was the legendary King Midas, who resided in the kingdom’s capital of Gordion.

Phrygia

The Phrygians (pronounced FRIJ-ans) commanded a wide swath of modern Turkey from around 1200 to 700 B.C. Their most famous ruler was the legendary King Midas, who resided in the kingdom’s capital of Gordion.
Photograph by Evrim Aydn, Anadolu Agency/Getty

9 powerful ancient kingdoms you’ve probably never heard of

From Nigeria to Pakistan to Peru, these monarchies may be little known today but once commanded great authority.

When you think of the powers that ruled the ancient world, the Romans, the Chinese, or the Inca usually come to mind. But there were countless other kingdoms that, while they may go unmentioned in most history books, also had a significant impact on world history. Fueled by a wealth of resources or a strategic geographical location—or a combination of the two—these entities thrived for centuries before they disappeared. Here are some of our favorites.

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