An empire is an extension of a state's boundary by forceful occupation of other's territory. The greatest area, so far, possessed was 34.0 million km sq by the Spanish Empire ( ca. 1640) and the smallest Empire was 0.15 million km sq by Eastern Zhou Dynasty,China (770 BC). The total no. of empires, so far, were 219.
In the modern times, it is said that the Spanish Empire and then the British Empire were called "empires on which the sun never sets", because of their areas of possession.
India experienced varying levels of European contact and imperial forays since Vasco da Gama's expeditions in 1498, Portuguese, Dutch, French and especially British authorities happened to come to extend their empire. This process culminated after in the period of the British Raj (and its smaller French and Portuguese counterparts) after 1857.