The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom, that had originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height it absolutely was the largest empire ever sold and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, one-quarter of the world’s population at the time, and covered more than 13,000,000 square miles (33,670,000 km2): approximately a fraction of the Earth’s total land area. As a result, its political, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, it absolutely was often stated that “the sun never sets on the British Empire” because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on a minumum of one of its numerous territories.