Throughout history, royal dynasties have dominated countries and empires around the world. Kings, queens, emperors, chiefs, pharaohs, czars - whatever title they ruled by, monarchs have shaped institutions, rituals, and cultures in every time period and every corner of the globe. The concept of monarchy originated in prehistoric times and evolved over centuries right up to the present. Efforts to overthrow monarchies or evade their rule - such as the American, French, Chinese, and Russian revolutions - are considered turning points in world history. Even today, many countries retain their monarchies, although in vastly reduced form with little political power. One cannot understand human history and government without understanding monarchs and monarchies. This fully-illustrated encyclopedia provides the first complete survey of all the major rulers and ruling families of the world, past and present. No other reference work approaches the topic with the same sense of magnitude or connection to historical context. Arranged in A-Z format for ease of access, World Monarchies and Dynasties includes information on major monarchs and dynasties from ancient time to the present. This set: includes overviews of reigns and successions, genealogical charts, and dynastic timelines; addresses concepts, problems, and theories of monarchy; provides background and information for further research; highlights important places, structures, symbols, events, and legends related to particular monarchs and dynasties; includes a master bibliography and multiple indexes.