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First Countries to Reach 5 Million People

Name the modern-day countries whose current territory reached a population of 5 million people the earliest.
Based mostly on this map
Numbers should be considered crude estimates
Last updated: September 07, 2017
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Year
Country
2000 B.C.
China
2000 B.C.
India
200 B.C.
Turkey
100 B.C.
Italy
1 AD
France
200
Spain
400
Iran
Year
Country
600
Bangladesh
600
Japan
800
Mexico
1000
Indonesia
1100
Germany
1100
Pakistan
1200
Nigeria
Year
Country
1200
Russia
1300
Peru
1400
D.R. Congo
1600
Egypt
1600
Poland
1600
United Kingdom
+12
level ∞
Sep 6, 2017
Egypt is a weird case. Their population hovered in the 3-4 million range for over a thousand years. Its possible that they hit 5 million at some point B.C.
+2
level 64
Mar 6, 2018
As an Egyptian, I was under the impression that Egypt exceeded 10 million at some point during the height of the dynastic period. Perhaps I am influenced by old wives' tales and the populist media in my country?
+4
level 73
Mar 6, 2018
Ancient population figures vary wildly and are extremely hard to pin down. Primary sources almost always exaggerate, sometimes by orders of magnitude, making ancient demography a very inexact science.
+5
level 40
Mar 7, 2018
Mo Salah, Mo Salah, Mo Salah...running down the wing
+1
level 44
Mar 9, 2018
Salah, oh, Mane Mane, Roberto Firminoooo, and we sold Coutinhoooo...
+2
level 61
Sep 6, 2017
On the basis of your source, I am pretty sure Indonesia hits the 5 million mark around 1000 AD.
+2
level ∞
Sep 6, 2017
Fixed, thanks.
+1
level 60
Sep 6, 2017
According to wikipedia the whole Holy Roman Empire had 5 million at about 1200. But probably only a third of its population was then living in modern German territory. So if there has not been a plague between 1100 and 1200, wikipedia and your source are far from matching. Just said.
+15
level ∞
Sep 6, 2017
It's almost like they didn't have a reliable census back then.
+1
level 71
Dec 7, 2017
bazinga!

That is a very interesting map you've used to source the data
+2
level 76
Sep 6, 2017
I'm surprised that Indonesia didn't make the grade. All those people didn't just go there from elsewhere since 1600, did they?
+1
level 76
Sep 6, 2017
And now that I've taken the quiz "Most populous countries in 1800 AD" which claims that Indonesia had 16m people in 1800 AD, while this quiz claims it had fewer than 5m in 1600 AD - either there's big inconsistency here or that's a LOT of immigration (or intensive sex) in just 200 years!
+1
level ∞
Sep 6, 2017
Obvious mistake, now fixed. No intensive anything required. :)
+2
level 57
Sep 7, 2017
Actually it's not that big of a leap... if you have 2 or more kids with someone else and they do too, and everyone survives for around 50, 60 years, and people are also immigrating there, then it may happen in two or three generations. I can't check the math today because my brain refuses to work properly.
+1
level 66
Sep 8, 2017
Indonesia has 261 million now .... a rise of 245 million in 200+ years..... there is a lot of something going on!
+6
level 64
Sep 10, 2017
And they're enjoying it.
+1
level 62
Sep 6, 2017
Wow. Everyone made 20/20 including myself. It's absurd.
+1
level 73
Sep 7, 2017
Pretty generous with the time limit. Easy to play process of elimination
+1
level ∞
Sep 8, 2017
Changed it to 3 minutes
+1
level 55
Sep 19, 2017
Pakistan in 1100..!! And Bangladesh in 600s ..:P
+1
level 60
Feb 5, 2018
Quite sure Ethiopia, Iraq and Syria should be on here.
+5
level 73
Mar 6, 2018
Ethiopia was the first country on Earth to reach 1 person. But it took them a while to get to 5 million.
+1
level 37
Mar 6, 2018
Bangladesh did not achieve independence until 1971
+5
level 65
Mar 6, 2018
and it did not achieve modern-day status until today.
+1
level 73
Mar 6, 2018
What's modern-day status?
+1
level 50
Mar 6, 2018
20/20... 1 sec left! That's a bloody one.
+1
level 57
Mar 6, 2018
India divided as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1900s. There was no such country as Pakistan and Bangladesh before 1947.
+2
level 55
Mar 7, 2018
Yes, but the quiz is asking for the modern-day countries whose territory first reached 5 million people in history. For example, the area now known as Bangladesh first reached 5 million people in 600, even though it was not an independent country at that point.
+2
level 73
Mar 7, 2018
There's only one country on this entire list that was a country on the date given (the United Kingdom). There was a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1600. There was a dynastic federation called "Rus" (centered in Kiev, Ukraine) in 1200. None of the others even come close.
+1
level 48
Mar 7, 2018
My problem with your source is that it only really accounts for city-sized markers showing point-concentrations of 1 million at each spot. So hugely countries that most certainly WOULD have over 5 million people people in it, but spread over a very large area. I sound like a left-leaning prat for saying it, but this data is too heavily influenced by white-history, and ignores all the native people that were in countries before they came along. Am I supposed to believe that before white people discovered North America in 1492, there was less than 5 million Native Americans over the entire modern country? And the presence of Aborigines in Australia has been dated back to 50 000 years (yes - you read that right!) yet over all this time, over the entire country, there is supposedly less that 5 million of them. I'm calling your source out as ridiculous, as it doesn't count sparsely populated regions (but a modern country nonetheless). Fix your quiz.
+1
level 73
Mar 9, 2018
considering that the current population of Australia including Sydney (4 million people), Melbourne (3.8 million), Perth (1.6 million), Brisbane (2 million), Adelaide (1.2 million) etc is only 24 million... the assertion that there were 5 million aborigines living there in 1600 seems more ridiculous to me than the source. Though you might have a point, it's also difficult for people to conceptualize just how FEW humans were living on Earth most places prior to industrialization and the rise of modern urbanization. Also, yes, when you start talking about race you do indeed sound like a prat. The total pre-Columbian population of Brazil is estimated to have been about 4 million. The total pre-Columbian population of North America is estimated to have been anywhere from 2 million to 18 million people. However, the large majority of those people were in Mexico. The lands that become the United States and Canada were sparsely populated comparatively.
+1
level 73
Mar 9, 2018
Also, North America is not a country. Fix your... something.
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