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ANTH 3368 Urban Life

Largest City in the World 3100 BCE to 1965 CE

 

City

Year Became #1

Population Information

Memphis, Egypt

3100 BCE

Well over 30,000

Akkad, Babylonia (Iraq)

2240

 

Lagash, Babylonia (Iraq)

2075

 

Ur, Babylonia (Iraq)

2030

65,000

Thebes, Egypt

1980

 

Babylon, Babylonia (Iraq)

1770

 

Avaris, Egypt

1670

 

Memphis, Egypt

1557

 

Thebes, Egypt

1400

 

Nineveh, Assyria (Iraq)

668

 

Babylon, Babylonia (Iraq)

612

First above 200,000

Alexandria

320

 

Pataliputra (Patna), India

300

 

Changan (Xi'an), China

195

400,000

Rome

25

450,000 (100 CE)

Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey

340 CE

400,000 (500)

Ctesiphon, Iraq

570

 

Changan (Xi'an), China

637

400,000 (622); 600,000 (800)

Baghdad, Iraq

775

First over 1 million; 700,000 (800)

Cordova, Spain

935

 

Kaifeng, China

1013

400,000 (1000); 442,000 (1100)

Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey

1127

 

Merv (Mary), Turkmenistan

1145

200,000 (1150)

Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey

1153

 

Fez (Fes), Morocco

1170

 

Hangzhou, China

1180

255,000 (1200); 320,000 (1250)

Cairo, Egypt

1315

 

Hangzhou, China

1348

432,000 (1350)

Nanking, China

1358

487,000 (1400)

Beijing, China

1425

600,000 (1450); 672,000 (1500)

Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey

1650

700,000 (1650 & 1700)

Beijing, China

1710

900,000 (1750); 1.1 million (1800)

London, United Kingdom

1825

First over 5 million; 1.35 million (1825); 2.32 million (1850); 4.241 million (1875); 6.480 million (1900)

New York

1925

First over 10 million; 7.774 million (1925), 12.463 million (1950)

Tokyo

1965

First over 20 million; 23 million (1975)

Source: adapted from Tertius Chandler, Four Thousand Years of Urban Growth (1987)