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Long ago, my militant leader devised a plan for world domination
Though he is now gone, I am still carrying out his plan
Today, our territory is near second to none

Many have died for me to live
And I am well seasoned, but there are times when my armor does fall away

I have secrets of my own, but you must know me before you could begin know them

Who am I?

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    $\begingroup$ I almost thought the answer is ISIS XD $\endgroup$ – ministic2001 Jan 30 '16 at 12:18
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The answer is

KFC, the fast food chain.

Long ago, my militant leader devised a plan for world domination

KFC's founder was "Colonel" Harland Sanders, who introduced chicken to the fast food market and expanded the franchise from Utah to the rest of the USA.

Though he is now gone, I am still carrying out his plan
Today, our territory is near second to none

Sanders sold the company in 1964, but the company continued to expand overseas and is now one of the largest international fast food chains.

Many have died for me to live

A lot of chickens die to provide the meat for KFC.

And I am well seasoned, but there are times when my armor does fall away

KFC is known for its "Original Recipe" seasoning. Not sure about the armor part, although it could refer to the fact that it's been less successful in the US in recent years.

I have secrets of my own, but you must know me before you could begin know them

Only KFC and the companies who produce the secret "11 herbs and spices" know what they are, and even then the production is split over two companies so that each only knows half the recipe.

Who am I?

KFC. As a bonus, these are also the initials of "Known for Conquering" from the title.

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    $\begingroup$ I like this answer! :D $\endgroup$ – Carl Löndahl Jan 30 '16 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ Do they participate in some kind of 'herb laundering' practices so that their suppliers can't be traced? Buying and selling vast quantities of various herbs and skimming off the top the ones that they actually use? $\endgroup$ – jhabbott Jan 30 '16 at 20:05
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    $\begingroup$ @jhabbott I'll choose to believe so! $\endgroup$ – Zandar Jan 30 '16 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ This is the second answer involving KFC that I've thought was better than whatever the intended answer was $\endgroup$ – question_asker Jan 30 '16 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ @question_asker No worries here, though. KFC is my intended answer. Known For Conquering. $\endgroup$ – raisinghellyer Jan 31 '16 at 2:52
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A start:

The 5th line is yelling vegetation in my mind. And I am well seasoned, but there are times when my armor does fall away - vegetation follows seasons and in the fall/winter most (trees being the most prolific) lose leaves, sometimes even some bark etc... - this answer also kind of fits with the territory stanza , and the many have died for me to live (plants dying and becoming soil for other plants)

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My answer:

I want to say 'tree'... but I'm going to go with "dandelion"! Final answer!

Reasoning:

It begins with 'world domination', suggesting the increase/expansion of resources. While it could be acorns, since these fall from trees and grow new trees, this seems too short-distance a system to describe as having "devised a plan for world domination". Dandelions are plants designed to spread to far-reaching places and to grow new versions of itself, many times over. Also, the life-span of a tree is very high in relation to a dandelion, which could explain "he is now gone, but I am still carrying out his plan", and "many have died for me to live". The last two lines don't fit, though

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  • $\begingroup$ Would you mind explaining your reasoning a bit? Why did you choose dandelion over tree? $\endgroup$ – tinezekis Jan 29 '16 at 21:57
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    $\begingroup$ It begins with 'world domination', suggesting the increase/expansion of resources. While it could be acorns, since these fall from trees and grow new trees, this seems too short-distance a system to describe as having "devised a plan for world domination". Dandelions are plants designed to spread to far-reaching places and to grow new versions of itself, many times over. Also, the life-span of a tree is very high in relation to a dandelion, which could explain "he is now gone, but I am still carrying out his plan", and "many have died for me to live". The last two lines don't fit, though. $\endgroup$ – GoodWillGustin Jan 29 '16 at 22:26
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to puzzling.se, GoodWillGustin. Generally it's a good idea to include your reasoning in the post itself and most people will put the answer and reasoning within spoiler tags (a front arrow, >, followed by an exclamation mark) so that others can still work on the puzzle without having it spoiled. I've edited your post to reflect a basic way to format it. $\endgroup$ – Duncan Jan 29 '16 at 23:13
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I think the answer is...

Genes.

Long ago, my militant leader devised a plan for world domination

Scooping up whatever organic molecules he could, this leader figured out a way to replicate himself, build armour, and weapons, to coldly dominate with copies of himself.

Though he is now gone, I am still carrying out his plan

Evolution marches on. Genes are replicating entities within the larger replicating structure of DNA. All of which is a distant descendant of that original replicating 'leader', but that specific replicator is long gone, probably consumed by some of his stronger descendants. Genes now carry out the same plan.

Today, our territory is near second to none

We construct our survival machines all over the world, pretty-much.

Many have died for me to live

"The secrets of evolution are time, and death." - Carl Sagan. Genes would not be where they are today without death.

And I am well seasoned, but there are times when my armor does fall away

Genes are usually very well adapted to influencing whatever physical and behavioural traits benefit themselves. However, mutation (in themselves or other influencing genes) often prevents them from being passed on in particular hosts (the living things they build in order to replicate down the generations). Extinction also fits this clue as it stops a line of genes, whereas mutation would only affect one line... his identical counterparts would still be passed on in others.

I have secrets of my own, but you must know me before you could begin know them

Oh, the secrets in DNA and our genes! The general public have an awareness of these, but only those who study genetic material and really have a good understanding of it can hope to uncover some of the unknown secrets they hold.

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