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Most Populous Modern-Day Countries in 1500 AD

Name the modern-day countries whose current territory had the highest population in the year 1500.
Estimates based on this map
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: June 3, 2019
First submittedSeptember 6, 2017
Times taken16,389
Rating4.80
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Population
Country
185 m
China
170 m
India
14 m
Japan
13 m
Bangladesh
13 m
France
12 m
Germany
11 m
Mexico
Population
Country
10 m
Indonesia
9 m
Italy
7 m
Nigeria
7 m
Pakistan
7 m
Peru
7 m
Russia
6 m
D.R. Congo
Population
Country
6 m
Spain
6 m
Turkey
5 m
Egypt
4 m
Poland
4 m
Ukraine
+3
level 80
Sep 6, 2017
I took this quiz after the "First (modern-day) Countries to Reach 5 Million". Indonesia didn't make it, but the last 2 countries that made it didn't get to 5 million until 1600, while this quiz says in 1500 Indonesia was already at 10 million. Which is it?
+4
level ∞
Sep 6, 2017
Good eye. Indonesia is missing from the other quiz. I'll fix that.
+5
level 67
Feb 24, 2018
Similarly, isn't Iran missing from this quiz?
+4
level ∞
Jun 3, 2019
Iran isn't missing. In pre-modern times, population levels often went down, especially when Steppe nomads rolled through your territory. Fun fact: The population of Iran was lower in 1500 AD than it was in 1 AD.
+1
level 67
Sep 13, 2017
SURELY the UK had a population of more than 4 million!?
+5
level ∞
Sep 14, 2017
Nope. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that population growth in Britain went parabolic.
+2
level ∞
Sep 14, 2017
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_England
+2
level 41
Feb 25, 2018
The demography of England does not include the demography of the other constituent countries of the modern day UK. Might not make a big difference, but worth remembering that the UK and England are not the same thing.
+1
level ∞
Jun 2, 2019
You are right. It doesn't make a big difference. A large majority of the UK population has always been in England.
+7
level 76
Feb 24, 2018
It did in the 1300s, but then black death happened. Took until around 1600 to get over 4 million again.
+2
level 60
Feb 24, 2018
The Jetpunk History section would be very different without the Black Death.
+6
level 35
Feb 24, 2018
I'm very skeptical anyone knows how many people lived in the DRC in 1500.
+1
level 69
Apr 5, 2018
The taxation system of the Kongo Kingdom would have meant an estimate was possible. Given taxation was head tax on each village, and that we have accounts of the finances of the Kingdom at the time, the population can be extrapolated from taxation revenues. Any such estimate would be imprecise, but more likely falls on the low rather than high side.
+2
level 63
Nov 13, 2019
plus , time machine. Ow wait sorry, hasn't that been invented yet in 2019? My bad... nevermind... I didnt say anything..
+1
level 38
Nov 14, 2019
We have to remember that many of the third world countries of today used to have pretty well formed social & authority structures before everything went sideways during the colonial era.
+1
level 24
Feb 27, 2018
What about Thailand? If I'm not mistaken, they had one of the biggest cities of that time and probably so was the population on the whole.
+1
level 69
Apr 5, 2018
I strongly suspect Colombia would have had more than 4 million in 1500. The Muisca Confederation had a population over 2 million at about that time and occupied only about 2% of the land area of modern Colombia. Inca territories spilled over into Colombia and many other nations such as the Tairona and Muso would have had significant populations - in the latter's case to the extent that they presented a military threat to the Muisca. However, I can't find a source to back up my suspicions.
+1
level 59
Apr 23, 2018
19 first countries seems too random. Why not maake it to 20?
+1
level ∞
Jun 3, 2019
Because it's a multi-way tie for 20th. We'd have to add a lot more countries.
+1
level 63
Nov 13, 2019
I think 20 is way too random. Why not make it 23?
+1
level 59
Nov 13, 2019
With 18/19 guessed and one second to go I thought "oh god, it's going to be Bangladesh" and what do you know, it was Bangladesh. 2 seconds earlier and I would have had it!