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Thousand-Year Reign

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Kimiko: Why a thousand?
Master Fung: It is really 962 years, but a thousand sounds more ominous.

This is when The Empire, or some other organization, is somehow estimated to last a certain amount of time. 1,000 years is common, but there are likely other time frames. The important thing is that this is about assuming the length beforehand, not how long it actually lasts.

Sometimes this assumption can be based on a prophecy that states the length of time. Of course, even if the prophecy is correct, that doesn't preclude the many ways there can be a Prophecy Twist. Perhaps the organization will last that long, but not in the way its creators intended. Say if the Evil Overlord founds it, but The Hero slays him, and rules instead. Or, at the end of the stated time, the downfall of the organization may be so catastrophic that it undoes any impact the organization would have left.

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Examples:

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     Film  

  • In Gladiator, that is how long Commodus wants his incestuous line to last, when he thinks he's won completely.
  • Referenced several times in the World War II drama Conspiracy (2001), which takes place at a time when the Nazis were absolutely convinced that they were moments away from victory.
    Neumann: Neumann, director of the Four-Year-Plan. Whom may I be speaking to?
    Klopfer: I speak for Martin Bormann, of the Thousand-Year-Plan.
  • In Star Wars Attack of the Clones Palpatine references the thousand years of the Republic. In A New Hope Obi-Wan refers to a thousand generations (approx. 25,000 years).note 

     Literature  

     Live Action TV  

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     Music  

Empires built and nations burned
Mass graves remain unturned
Descendants of the dispossessed
Return with bombs strapped to their chests
There's hate for life and death in hate
Emerging from a new caliphate
The victors of this war on fear
Will rule for the next thousand years!

     Religion  
  • The Book of Revelation says Christ will reign with the Saints for 1,000 years, during which time Satan is bound. The nature of this reign and whether the time period is meant to be taken literally has been debated throughout the history of Christianity.

     Video Games  

  • Millennial Kingdom, as per Shin Megami Tensei
  • Entirely possible in Crusader Kings II since the Reaper's Due DLC officially added immortality to the game, allowing, given the length of the game, a reign of almost seven full centuries of lucky, and conversion to later games in the series allows a single ruler to run the nation for a full millennium or more.
    • With timeline extending mods such as When the World Stopped Making Sense, this can even be accomplished without converting the save to a separate game, as demonstrated by the Let's Player Kailvin in one of his last series before leaving YouTube, appropriately titled The 1000 Year Reign.

     Webcomics  

     Western Animation  

  • The "Woodland Critter Christmas" episode of South Park, where the The Antichrist is supposed to "bring a thousand years of darkness to the forest".
  • Spoofed in Xiaolin Showdown. One episode revolves around them locking up their dragon Dojo for the day, because on that particular day he'll turn evil, grow two heads and devour all of the magical Shen Gong Wu items, leading to 1,000 years of darkness. The spoof comes from the time being more like 962, but 1,000 sounds more dramatic.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Harmonic Convergence is a supernatural event that occurs once every 10,000 years, in which the spirits of harmony and chaos, Raava and Vaatu, must battle to determine which force will reign until the next Harmonic Convergence.
    • Later, when Kuvira took Zaofu for her Earth Empire, banners were hanged which read “May Kuvira live for 10,000 years.”
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic begins with Twilight Sparkle reading an old legend that states that the stars would aid in the escape of the Nightmare Moon on the longest day of the 1000th year of her banishment, when she would bring about nighttime eternal. Princess Celestia reigned as sole sovereign during this entire time.

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     Real Life  

  • Older Than Feudalism: 1,000 years was the prediction for how long The Roman Empire would reign made by Cicero, which is probably the Trope Codifier in the Western Hemisphere. (He wasn't entirely wrong. The Eastern Roman Empire lasted until 1453,note  and the Ottoman Emperor claimed the title of "Kaysar-i-Rum" "Caesar of Rome" until 1922.)
  • Ancient Chinese emperors tend to be greeted with "萬歲!" ("May you reign for 10,000 years") but most dynasties only last about 400 years or so. Other East Asian countries did the same.
    • There is a careful delineation with these acclamation, Empresses are acclaimed "A thousand years!" And sometimes, particularly powerful officials would be sarcastically greeted (not out loud, obviously) with "Nine thousand years!" Even after the Republic was proclaimed on 1911, such slogans were used for the Republic or various leaders such as Mao and Chiang. Today, this slogan is used at the Tienanmen gate in Beijing, as "[May the] People's Republic of China [last for] ten thousand years"; meanwhile, presidential speeches in Taiwan used, until 2016, to be closed with "[May] the Republic of China [live for] ten thousand years!", with pro-independence activists suing their own versions.
    • "Tenno heika banzai" the Japanese battle cry that gives the phrase "banzai charge" means literally "[To the Emperor] ten thousand years!" Since the Emperor was understood to have a normal human lifetime, this wasn't meant literally. Today, the phrase is only shouted during the dissolution of the House of Representatives, and also as an acclamation at the enthronement of the Japanese Emperor.
    • The Korean equivalent is manse ("만세"), which also means "10,000 years", although, under Joseon, it was changed to cheonse ("천세") as a sign of deference to China. Today, it's used in North Korea for the leaderships: during the Korean War, while charging, North Koreans with Nodongs shouted "Long live the Great Leader, General Kim Il-sung" (위대한 수령 김일성장군 만세).
  • In Vietnam, vạn tuế is used in this capacity.
  • Adolf Hitler and Those Wacky Nazis invoked this trope by promising a thousand-year Reich. Berlin would be the new world capital of a greatly expanded "Germania". It lasted merely twelve.
    • Winston Churchill implied something similar in his "finest hour" speech when he proclaimed that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, people will say this was our finest hour.. The consesus for the final end of the British Empire was when Hong Kong, the last significant Imperial possession, was given back to the Chinese in 1999. The British Empire therefore dwindled and died in the 59 years following Chutchill's speech. note 
  • The Holy Roman Empire was, at the time of founding, considered a continuation of The Roman Empire and the fourth and last "world monarchy" predicted by the Book of Daniel (after Babylon, Persia and Macedonia). It was believed that, since Rome was the last worldly empire, it would last literally until Judgement Day. (When it didn't, that's how the Fifth Monarchists became a thing during the English Civil War.)
  • In terms of a single Royal Family managing to pull off a Thousand Year Reign, one of the few examples is the Capetian Dynasty. The current, as of 2021, king of Spain is a direct male-line descendant of Hugh Capet, who was himself crowned King of the Franks in 987. For more than a thousand years, they have almost continuously been kings of something, with few interruptions.


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