Take another quiz >

Most Populous Countries in 1900

Name the most populous countries and empires in the year 1900.
Only countries that were sovereign in the year 1900
Last updated: June 18, 2017
Rate:
4:00
Enter country here:
0
 / 22 guessed
The quiz is paused. You have remaining.
Scoring
You scored / = %.
This beats or equals % of test takers
The average score is
Your high score is
Your best time is remaining
Keep scrolling down for answers and more stats ...
Population
Country or Empire
415 m
China
384 m
British Empire
137 m
Russia
89.6 m
United States
78.9 m
French Empire
67.1 m
Germany
51.4 m
Austria-Hungary
51.3 m
Dutch Empire
42.0 m
Japan
32.0 m
Italy
30.9 m
Ottoman Empire
Population
Country or Empire
18.7 m
Spain
17.0 m
Brazil
12.5 m
Portuguese Empire
12.1 m
Mexico
12.0 m
Korea
8.1 m
Morocco
7.2 m
Siam
7.0 m
Persia
6.6 m
Romania
6.1 m
Belgium
5.8 m
Argentina
+7
level 73
Jun 15, 2013
Cool quiz. I only missed Romania. Overall, much healthier numbers for world population than we have today. Hard to believe that 100 years ago the 20th-most-populous country in the world contained only 6.1 million people. Of course... there were much fewer countries then as most people and land had been sucked up by the major world empires (British, Russian, Chinese, American, French, Austrian, Dutch, Ottoman, Portuguese.. a few decades earlier and you'd have to include the Spanish). Also hard to believe how much population has exploded in some places. Compare Abyssinia's 4 million to present-day Ethiopia's 85 million. A 2000% increase over the last century.
+2
level 49
Jun 18, 2013
Harder to believe that BE (420m) went to 1653m in 2012 just to include UK (63m), India (1205m), Pakistan (190m), Canada (34m), Bangladesh (161m). This planet is getting flooded...
+1
level 73
Jun 21, 2013
As a % increase that's not as impressive even if it was a much bigger increase arithmetically.
+2
level 32
Aug 13, 2013
now where did you get from 420 to 1653? british made many countries that they took were independent today
+2
level 48
Sep 1, 2014
@JHAssassin he's talking about the area that was apart of the BE in 1900 now has that population.
+2
level 49
Jul 28, 2017
egypt, nigeria, south africa
+7
level 16
Jun 19, 2013
Healthier numbers? Are you saying a couple billion people shouldn't exist that are born today? I think that its great that we sont have abysmal population factors today.
+9
level 73
Jun 21, 2013
You think it's great that there is tons of overcrowding, traffic, poverty, starvation.. that we are polluting and using resources at alarming and unsustainable levels that continue to increase.. that we're clearcutting huge swaths of tropical rainforest to make more farms, wiping out 100s of species along the way to give us more room for more roads and shopping malls? hm... if you say so. Personally I think a population of around 1 billion humans on Earth is more than enough and far from abysmal... if we get down to 10,000-100,000 or so like we've been during some previous ice ages then I guess there is cause for concern, if the perpetuation of human DNA is something that you feel is important though I don't see it as really that big of a deal.
+11
level 27
Jun 22, 2013
I find it ridiculous when people like you complain about the size of the population and want to reduce it. Usually it is you elitist rich people who think that you are too good for everybody else, and it is extremely hypocritical. If the population size worries you so much, then you would have no problem killing yourself to reduce the population. I don't mean that in the way that it is good for you to kill yourself, I'm just pointing out that great leaders lead by example, and reducing the population is difficult because it involves killing people.
+13
level 69
Jun 30, 2013
There doesn't need to be any killing to reduce population. All you need to do is to slow down the rate it grows. Like with birth control.
+13
level 73
Jul 24, 2013
sensfan are you taking your meds? How many months have you spent living in the slums of the Philippines, Ethiopia, India, Thailand, etc, hmm?? Elitist rich folk are perfectly happy with an exploding population... gives them more poor people to exploit, drives down wages and standards of living everywhere to make their iPhones cheaper while at the same time creating massive pools of cheap labor and new consumers simultaneously which help their stock portfolios. I'm actually arguing that it would be FOR THEIR OWN GOOD for people in poor countries to stop reproducing at such alarming rates. How many starving children from an Addis Ababa shantytown have YOU brought food to with your own hands I wonder? Honestly, go jump off a cliff. You have no idea who I am. Who argued for killing people? Psycho...
+4
level 73
Jul 24, 2013
Ponderosa displaying an alarming amount of sanity and intelligence. Yes, OBVIOUSLY, you don't need to kill anyone to achieve population stability. Look at Japan.
+2
level 39
Apr 22, 2015
Japan has control, but also a large factor in that is that there's a very large elderly population, and a youth population who many are refusing to have kids (or have 1). That elderly population is going to give lots of problems in the next 20 years...
+3
level 73
Sep 14, 2015
Miyafuji, an aging population does create certain problems, but overpopulation does, too. On balance I think tackling the problems of an aging population is easier, with more options that seem reasonable for the long-term.
+1
level 74
Sep 14, 2015
All of your replies on this subject were well said, Kalbahamut. It's not only poor countries of the world, either. I have taken food to widows in the good ol' USA whose social security income was cut drastically when reduced to one check when their spouses died, and they had to choose each week whether to buy food, medication, or save it for transportation and housing costs. They usually ran out of food before the end of the month and were forced to either go to missions for free food, or try to stretch a couple of cans of beans to the end of the month. Whatever the cause, it doesn't change the fact that a lot of people in this world go to sleep hungry each night even in "wealthy" countries, and an exploding population certainly won't help that.
+3
level 66
Nov 27, 2015
The major problem the world has today is over-population. Where is it going to end?....... 8billion, 9 billion, 12 billion? Unfortunately it is in countries that can least afford the massive over-population that the increases are greatest. That means those peoples have no employment, medical facilities, insufficient food, poor living conditions etc. Now in the future what will hold these Billions of unfortunate peoples from flooding the more fortunate areas of the world and causing the same problems everywhere. Without (and I mean WITHOUT) a change in the population growth the world for humanity is doomed, unless you think that the growth can be sustained until the population weighs more than the earth itself.
+3
level 55
Feb 6, 2016
Eh? We have enough water in the world today for everyone to drink, bathe, wash, etc. We grow enough food, even if you take off some reasonable amount of waste due to damage while being transported, pests, that sort of thing. If we spread out across the planet, even only in those places where it's reasonably comfortable to live (i.e. not the Himalayan summits, at the tips of marshy growing river deltas, Antarctica), then we wouldn't even have to hear each other unless we were absolutely blasting out music or shooting guns or something. We only need a tiny tiny proportion of the earth's area to be covered in solar panels to supply all our electricity needs. The earth can support all these people, and more, to a comfortable level; it's just that we insist on wasting huge amounts of food and water, on locking up wealth in bank accounts, on polluting and making profit at others' expense and thinking selfishly & short term. It's a problem of distribution and usage, not of the earth's ability
+1
level 73
Mar 22, 2016
Agree with much of that, Allen, except that water will become a much bigger problem in the future as major aquifers begin to dry up. Also, even if the Earth can currently adequately support the humans who live upon it, it would still be much easier to deal with the damage those humans cause, and comfortably (or even lavishly) sustain them all if there were fewer of us.
+1
level 45
Dec 19, 2016
Tell it like it is kalb
+2
level 53
May 4, 2017
The reason for the population boom is that in third-world countries, a process is occurring that has already finished in first-world countries like the U.S. and U.K. Most people in places like Africa, Asia, and the like have many children, few of whom survive because of illness. Now, because of medication dealing with such things reaching places like China and India, most of those children survive, leading to a massive bump in population growth. Then, after a couple of decades, the human body adapts to this and the number of children per person shrinks drastically, which is already starting to occur in China and India. Because of this, most experts predict that human population will level off in the future, and the widely accepted figure is that it will never quite reach 13 billion people.
+3
level 73
Aug 23, 2017
The most optimistic projections have global populations actually starting to shrink within the next century, because of this "natural" predicted fall off after the introduction of education, medicine, and clean drinking water that then seems to lead to a cultural shift and a drop-off in birth rates.
That said, 13 billion people, or even 7 billion, is still an enormous strain to place on the world's environment. It remains to be seen if it will be too much. There's at least a reasonable chance that the damage homo sapiens are inflicting upon the Earth will prove great enough to cause a serious disruption to the food chain (from, for example, acidification of the oceans) which will lead to catastrophe the likes of which we haven't seen since pre-history. There's also the likelihood of wars, famines, etc as resources run out and these ballooning populations confined to inhospitable areas attempt to move to other areas.
+1
level 74
Nov 1, 2017
AllenY, the only reason we are growing enough food is because, as Kal said, we are putting land into production which shouldn't be farmed. Also, we are irrigating arid land with water which may not be available in the future, and we have developed hybrids which produce many times more grain per plant. Those new superhybrids are creating many times more kernels of grain per plant, but there is an argument being made that those superhybrids still have the same root system, so even though a single acre of wheat may now be producing 300 bushels instead of 40, each plant is still taking up the same amount of nutrients from the surrounding soil, meaning that each kernel doesn't have near the amount of nutrition as formerly, meaning that people have to eat more of it to get the same nutrition. I can't say that is a fact, but it's something I read and it seemed sensible to me.I do know the corn we buy for animal feed now has a lower protein content.
+2
level 74
Nov 1, 2017
Corn yields had been doubling about every 20 years even before the development of superhybrids, but the CP content (crude protein) has been decreasing. When we develop our feeding formulas we have to know the protein content to figure the ratios, and formerly corn had a protein content of nearly 10%. Now it is down to around 8% in this area. Corn now has more starch and less protein. Modern methods of growing high plant population is driving corn silage protein down, too, for dairy farmers. The same thing is happening with wheat. Wheat protein content should be 13% or more. We've heard that some hard red wheat tested as low as 8%. Other factors come into play, too, but there has been a general trend for high-yielding hybrids to have less protein. It seems reasonable that it would affect humans the same way it does farm animals. Feeding a hungry planet is more complicated than it might seem.
+2
level 74
Nov 1, 2017
We also formerly used distiller's grain as a winter protein supplement with hay when grass wasn't available. Now the ethanol plants are stripping out more of the oil to convert to biodiesel, and the nutrition is now so poor that we no longer even use that supplement. Something that was formerly part of the food process has now become an energy resource. Another worry - some say bees are dying and crop yields will go down because of less pollination, although our beekeeper says he is growing extra queens to increase the number of his hives to combat the higher losses - he has 60 hives on our farm alone, so that may become less of an issue in the future if more hives can be produced to make up for the losses. But there is definitely a water problem. Some underground aquifers are silting in from crop erosion while others are being overpumped for irrigation. All in all, our food supply is not as stable as you'd like to think.
+3
level 62
Dec 31, 2017
Overpopulation is a ... MYTH! In fact, the world could easily handle billions of more people. What is a problem is overconsumption. People use all kinds of useless crap for a second and then buy new crap they don't need. Items are intentionally made to break real fast to force people to buy new ones. In the name of rich people want bigger profit because no amount of money is enough for some. Stick with the fashion, right? Also, food is under-produced and misused while then in certain places people overeat and throw unbelievable amounts of food to trash just, you know, because. Some of the better tech is intentionally prevented/blocked/slowed to milk the last of the possible cash out of the old and polluting/damaging tech... and so on.
+2
level 73
Mar 31, 2018
There is no food thrown away, just, 'cause. It's a lot more complicated than that. It is true that the world produces more than enough food to feed everyone. It's not true that 7 billion people on Earth is not a problem for the environment. Even if we all started living in igloos tomorrow- but, of course, that will never happen unless some catastrophe forces us to. You can't say that overpopulation is not a problem if we change human nature. It is what it is.

What's wrong with 1 billion people? Isn't that enough? That's still an awful lot of people.
+2
level 57
Jun 18, 2018
Sensfan never got a thinking cap for Christmas.
+1
level 52
Aug 6, 2018
There are some quite interesting comments here. I think that the entire debate around overpopulation depends heavily on what you think is a desirable end or achievement. Obviously killing large numbers of people is bad, but nobody here is proposing anything like that. Birth control is a fairly clear way that population growth can be reduced, but when population was lower (as in 1900) it wasn't because of better birth control. It was because people were dying young of infectious diseases that are now happily much less common in many parts of the world due to antibiotics and vaccination. For this reason I don't see much reason why anything about world population in 1900 was "healthier". Ageing population is a separate issue to overpopulation, but I agree it is usually easier to handle. There is also an interesting debate about numbers here, and I think it is one of the times when statistics can be misleading if not considered carefully.
+1
level 52
Aug 6, 2018
Because the numbers involved can be misleading, here is another way to think about population. For most of human history, the world population is thought to have been around 100 million (This might be quite far from exact, but I saw a figure of 150 million in 1AD, which I will go with). Since 1AD, the world population has doubled between 5 and 6 times. We are not seeing the apocalyptic scenarios that kalbahamut has been describing yet (except some traces of them through climate change, a problem that merits scientific research and should not be ignored, but one which so far has caused destruction mainly in small areas at one time). One more doubling is predicted to occur before a peak and subsequent reversal in population trends. For this reason I don't think these scenarios will play out, at least not in a way that will cause worldwide destruction beyond what happened in the last five put together.
+2
level 73
Aug 6, 2018
Water aquifers are drying up, oil reserves are being depleted, global temperatures are rising, the oceans are filling up with plastic, species are being wiped out by the thousands- all as a direct result of human activity. No, we're not all dead yet, but by the time it becomes clear to the average person that we've gone too far it's going to be too late to save the millions or billions who will pay the price for this. There is a lot of reason to believe that current population levels are not sustainable long-term, not at the rate that we are currently consuming resources and polluting the environment, and of course if the population doubles and worldwide standards of living continue to go up there is even more cause to be concerned. If global population was still 150 million people we wouldn't even be talking about this. That's what I meant by healthier- sustainable and with less impact on the environment.
+1
level 60
Aug 6, 2018
The growing number of human on the planet does increase the anthropogenic impacts on the environment. Quite simple logic. And given that we are not (yet?) able/willing to establish a sustainable economy/society, the growing number of human can indeed cause apocalyptic dimensions with a new "Migration Period" from India and Africa to Europe and elsewhere. However, even assuming that we will establish a sustainable society (e.g. 100% renewable energy + artifical sugar production - 'cause the natural efficiency sucks ;-) ) there is a philosophical question whether more people is really better. Given limited resources and a given "healty" population size any extra human on Earth (marginally) reduces the standard of living of all the other billions of humans (hopefully except for his nearest relatives).
+1
level 52
Aug 6, 2018
This is certainly true. However, the population in 1900 was not sustainable, because it was growing rapidly and has now grown to very high levels with most of the factors for the growth having occurred before 1900 (except for better treatment of diseases and some reduction in war, both of which are desirable). Only when global population stops growing and is reduced to a number that is inherently sustainable ignoring possible growth will population be sustainable. Overpopulation and pollution are two separate problems. They impact each other, but it is at least in theory possible to have a very high population that doesn't cause much pollution or a low population creating a lot (the Industrial Revolution at least locally caused much worse pollution than the respective areas have now). If world population were to halt today and never get any higher or lower, we should be able to sustain ourselves for a long time with some technological advances.
+1
level 52
Aug 6, 2018
(Replying to kalbahamut, didn't see LastFish). This doesn't necessarily mean it will happen. It is just possible in theory. As it stands, things look better than that. Population should peak this century and go down from there, limiting the time that anthropogenic climate change will carry on.
+1
level 44
Nov 1, 2017
Well, I got Romania. hahahaha
+1
level 44
Aug 6, 2018
Well so did I. Hahahahaha.
+1
level 33
Dec 20, 2017
Nice argument you started, kal
+1
level 24
Jun 18, 2013
Isn't Brazil a part of the Portugese Empire...
+1
level 73
Jun 18, 2013
Brazil became an independent country in 1824.
+2
level 61
Jul 7, 2017
Actually Brazil became independent in 1822.
+1
level 73
Nov 1, 2017
at any rate before 1900
+1
level 41
Jun 18, 2013
Missed Siam.
+1
level 51
Jun 18, 2013
Could you accept German Empire for Germany? Wasn't that what it was called from 1871 to 1918?
+1
level ∞
Jun 18, 2013
Okay
+1
level 44
Jun 19, 2013
It's so hard to believe that I had to look it up... but Canada only had 5.3 million in 1900. I would have sworn it would be on this list.
+2
level 24
Jun 19, 2013
It was still part of the British Empire in 1900, I believe.
+1
level 33
Aug 7, 2014
Dominions were counted as part of the British Empire. Technically Canada and Australia were still part of Britain until like the 70's-80's
+1
level 45
Oct 21, 2014
Actually Australia ceased to be part of Britain on 1/1/1901.
+1
level ∞
May 7, 2015
Actually, it's complicated. :)
+1
level 57
Jul 12, 2017
You do know that Canada became an independent dominion in 1867? Because we got rid of the British North America Act and replaced it with our constitution does not mean that we were not "independent of Britain" until 1980. Gotta read more boyo.
+1
level 40
Jun 22, 2013
So there were more people in the British Empire than anywhere? Even China? Wow. Makes sense I guess... the the empire was in decline by then.
+1
level 73
Jul 24, 2013
271 million alone in India at this time, so throw in Great Britain, Australia, the large swaths of Africa under British control and it adds up quick.
+1
level 55
Jul 9, 2013
Really cool quiz. 6 stars!
+1
level 73
Dec 7, 2013
Made a sequel of sorts to this one.. countries by population in 1950.
+1
level 73
Feb 18, 2014
turkey should be accepted for Ottoman empire. great quiz otherwise!
+1
level 37
Mar 1, 2014
Wow... the only one I didn't guess was CHINA... I'm ashamed of myself.
+2
level 32
Jun 29, 2014
Hungary should also be counted when you type it in as Austria-Hungary. And why isn't Germany called German Empire? Empire of Japan? Qing Empire?
+1
level 19
Jul 5, 2014
Heh i knew that romania had 6,7 population because it's an european nation,and i learned history about romania,romania it was the 1st in Europe oil producer in 1900-1930 To bad,communism destroyed Romania
+1
level 59
Jul 5, 2017
That's why Romania was so important in World War II. The Ploiesti oil fields provided Germany with over 90% of it's fuel from 1941-1944. World War II and the ensuing Cold War communist government really ravaged that country.
+1
level 72
Feb 16, 2015
We need a world map version of this quiz so everybody can get the countries and empires right.
+1
level 13
Apr 18, 2015
its easy anyway
+1
level 33
Jun 14, 2015
Britain or Great Britain for British Empire please.
+1
level 55
Sep 14, 2015
What about the Congo Free State? The population had fallen dramatically in the genocide, but at the end (in 1908) they seem to be estimated at 8 million.
+1
level 72
Sep 14, 2015
The first reliable census only happened in 1924 (when it was already the Belgian Congo). Probably the population in 1900 was (a lot) higher than the 6.1m threshold, but there's just no data available.
+1
level 59
Sep 14, 2015
Belgian & German should both be acceptable as the quiz title asks for countries or empires
+1
level 55
Sep 14, 2015
There definitely wasn't something like the Belgian empire at the time.
+1
level 25
Sep 14, 2015
Missed out Ottoman Empire , Persia and Romania
+1
level 32
Sep 14, 2015
Missed portuguese, belgium and siam. I thought brazil constituted such a large part of the portuguese empire that it wouldn't be on there
+1
level 66
Sep 15, 2015
Only missed Korea. Nice quiz.
+1
level 48
Dec 11, 2015
Missed Austria, damn.
+1
level 70
Apr 28, 2016
Awkward... missed only two. One was Romania, which plenty did (I'd basically figured it was likely an eastern European country, but Romania slipped my mind). The other one I forgot was the US... I think I need some sleep.
+1
level 66
Jun 1, 2016
Put in Thailand and Turkey but couldn't remember their former versions :(
+1
level 37
Feb 16, 2017
Surprised to see Romania on here. I looked it up and now it ranks 59th. Seriously, India doesn't make the list?
+1
level 53
Feb 16, 2017
India was part of the British Empire in 1900.
+1
level 46
Feb 18, 2017
I typed in turkey, but nothing came up
+2
level 42
Apr 7, 2017
Shoudln't it be written as; Russian Empire, German Empire Italian Empire Belgian Empire...
+1
level 49
May 4, 2017
I kept entering India, and about 15 seconds later it dawned on me: I had already entered it - as British Empire.
+1
level 39
May 8, 2017
Quizmaster, can you please provide the source you come up with 420 for British empire. Because the number in Wikipedia is different, which puts it to the second place behind China.
+1
level ∞
May 8, 2017
Probably the Wikipedia article has changed. I'll take a look next time I revisit this quiz.
+1
level 40
Jun 9, 2017
Loved this quiz! I got everything but Korea. Should Soviet Union be acceptable and not just Russia? Since the quiz is about 1900 and it was SU until 1991
+1
level 79
Jun 18, 2017
But it wasn't Soviet Union until after 1917. In 1900 it was still Russia.
+1
level 58
Nov 1, 2017
You have to wait for the October Revolution! These things don't just happen.
+1
level 73
Nov 1, 2017
It wasn't the Soviet Union in 1900 but I don't know why it's not identified as the Russian Empire.
+2
level 60
Jun 18, 2017
Sweden-Norway is missing?!
+1
level 74
Jul 14, 2017
Wikipedia: "In a convention dated 27 June 1900, France and Spain agreed to recognize separate zones of influence in Morocco, but did not specify their boundaries." Doesn't sound very sovereign to me.
+1
level 60
Aug 6, 2018
Check the "First Moroccan Crisis". France's assault on the Maroccan souvereinity almost caused a world war.
+1
level 38
Aug 23, 2017
im surprised ethiopia isn't Here!
+1
level 73
Nov 1, 2017
There were about 4 million people living in Abyssinia in 1900.
+1
level 73
Nov 3, 2017
um... I think it's just that the data isn't reliable, as the page admits before 1950. There are several successive years where the population either increases or decreases by 300% or so.

Probably their source collated data from a variety of different sources, each with conflicting numbers.
+1
level 29
Aug 23, 2017
Could you accept Turkey for Ottoman?
+1
level 68
Nov 2, 2017
Any chance of accepting "Rumania" for "Romania"?
+1
level 47
Nov 17, 2017
Sweden–Norway is missing...its population of about 7.3 million in 1900 would put it at #18.
+1
level 57
Dec 5, 2017
India is not here?
+2
level 71
Jan 8, 2018
British Empire
+1
level 46
Jan 21, 2018
Why isn't Hungary excepted for Austria-Hungary? Also Germany was the German Empire still in 1900
+1
level 39
Jan 30, 2018
There's still plenty of room for growth. I've driven through Kansas.
+1
level 73
Aug 5, 2018
At the point where every square inch of the planet is covered in asphalt and high-rise apartment complexes the overpopulation issue is going to sort itself out since that would mean we would have no food or oxygen.
If you have driven through Kansas did you notice that pretty much every available surface has been converted in to farmland? Do you know what that farmland is for? Maybe think that there's more to sustaining human civilization than just space for housing?
+1
level 19
Jun 4, 2018
Finished with 3:19 to spare. Anyone to beat that?
+1
level 25
Aug 22, 2018
I missed the United States...I live in the United States...