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Most Populous Countries by Year

Can you name the 10 most populous countries and empires in each of these years.
Only countries that were sovereign in that year
Population includes all territories, colonies, and possessions
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: December 23, 2019
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First submittedAugust 29, 2016
Times taken81,604
Average score70.0%
Rating4.79
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2050
1,657 m
India
1,438 m
China
402 m
Nigeria
398 m
United States
327 m
Indonesia
291 m
Pakistan
238 m
Brazil
228 m
Ethiopia
201 m
Bangladesh
155 m
Philippines
 
 
1900
420 m
British Empire
415 m
China
132 m
Russian Empire
76 m
French Empire
76 m
United States
56 m
Germany
51 m
Austria-Hungary
51 m
Dutch Empire
42 m
Japan
32 m
Italy
2000
1,268 m
China
1,006 m
India
282 m
United States
214 m
Indonesia
174 m
Brazil
152 m
Pakistan
147 m
Russia
132 m
Bangladesh
127 m
Japan
124 m
Nigeria
 
 
1800
328 m
China
115 m
British Empire
75 m
Maratha Empire
38 m
French Empire
35 m
Russian Empire
29 m
Japan
26 m
Ottoman Empire
25 m
Spanish Empire
24 m
Holy Roman Empire
23 m
Habsburg Empire
1950
563 m
China
370 m
India
189 m
Soviet Union
152 m
United States
140 m
British Empire
133 m
French Empire
86 m
Pakistan
84 m
Japan
83 m
Indonesia
53 m
Brazil
 
 
1500
125 m
China
17 m
Japan
16 m
France
16 m
Holy Roman Empire
12 m
Incan Empire
11 m
Ottoman Empire
8.5 m
Spanish Empire
7.5 m
Polish–Lithuanian Union
6 m
Aztec Empire
4 m
Hungary and Croatia
99 Comments
+26
Level 77
Aug 30, 2016
Maybe accept Turkey for Ottomans, because we get Habsburgs for Austria as well.
+31
Level 77
Aug 30, 2016
And "Rome" for "Holy Roman", although it's not fully accurate.
+2
Level 84
Aug 31, 2016
Ditto
+3
Level 74
Sep 6, 2016
Yes, please accept Rome for Holy Roman Empire.
+3
Level 58
Sep 15, 2016
Or Roman. Glad I went back and added Holy.
+3
Level 72
Sep 22, 2016
+1. I tried both rome & roman and neither worked... i think it really could be accepted :-)

Great quizz anyway, thanks!

+29
Level 43
Dec 11, 2016
The Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire are separated by over 1,000 years, and the only major thing they have in common is that they were both large empires. The Holy Roman Empire, as John Green puts it, is not Holy, nor Roman as well.
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
technically, for a time it was ruled by the pope, so it WAS holy, but then the Habsburgs happened
+11
Level 66
Dec 11, 2016
+ryanyesman Yes, the Holy Roman Empire was maybe the most complex nation in the history of the world. It consisted of hundreds of different principalities, counties, bishoprics and all other kinds of fun semi-independent entities. I personally don't think it should be considered a single nation, especially in this quiz.

Actually, Austria (or as it's called here, the 'Habsburg Empire') was a part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Austrian Habsburgs were the emperors of the HRE almost continuously from the 1400s to it's dissolvation by Napoleon.

+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
there is a freaking quiz on this site, that has you name every. single. nation in the HRE, I had several mental breakdowns doing that, but after many freakouts I completed it.
+2
Level 57
Dec 12, 2016
I tried Sacro Roman-Germanic Empire...
+2
Level 58
Oct 4, 2017
or at least "Roman Empire." :)
+3
Level 45
Feb 19, 2019
why on earth would you have the HRE when you have austria on here?
+3
Level 46
Oct 2, 2019
Well I suppose it's because the habsburgs held a lot of posession outside of the HRE at that point (Hungary, the balkans...)

It's a little bit like having the Plantagenets Empire and France on the same map : both are held by french dynasties though they are not the same...

+4
Level 59
May 1, 2020
The Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire are NOT the same thing at all, and Rome should not be accepted for HRE. The only thing they had in common was their name, because the HRE considered itself to be the successor of the Roman Empire, though it didn't actually have much in common with it : it was mostly made up of German-speaking territories, and it never really was a "country", but rather an association of several independent countries that were often at war with each other.
+2
Level 59
Sep 15, 2020
Or just accept germany, since thats who formed from it.
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
technically the Frankish Empire, later the French Empire, formed the HRE if you believe some historians, Prussia, the largest German-speaking nation in the HRE, united it into the German Empire,
+2
Level 62
Jan 8, 2022
Holy Roman Empire shouldn't accept "Rome," but it should accept "Germany" because that's precisely one the names that many contemporaneous sources used to call it as well as the name of the modern country which most (albeit roughly) corresponds to its borders.
+6
Level 90
Sep 5, 2016
Portuguese Empire maybe?
+5
Level 23
Dec 6, 2016
"Roman Empire" wasn't accepted, really??
+22
Level 56
Dec 11, 2016
Because the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 and the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453.
+2
Level 21
Dec 11, 2016
There is a thing called, "Holy Roman Empire." Roman Empire should of counted still. I learned that in 6th grade, c'mon.
+19
Level 51
Dec 15, 2017
You mean should HAVE counted. I learnt that way before 6th grade.
+31
Level ∞
Jan 30, 2020
Maybe they shouldn't be teaching kids about the Holy Roman Empire in 6th grade since it's obviously confusing them. The Holy Roman Empire is absolutely NOT the same as the Roman Empire.
+5
Level 82
Feb 9, 2020
In fairness those who adopted the name very much wanted you to think that the two things were connected or one and the same. The Romans were so successful for so long that for centuries after the empire fell, pretty much all of Europe was trying to claim they were the proper successors.
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
yeah, but byzantium was literally the eastern roman empire, they were the true succesors
+1
Level 70
Feb 9, 2020
@zakattack this isnt about all the big empires, there are dates above each column, it is from 1500 and up. So yes both things exist, but that doesnt mean they both should be on the quiz.
+1
Level 59
Dec 11, 2016
Splendid quiz, thanks!
+13
Level 70
Dec 11, 2016
Holy Roman Empire wasn't really a country in 1500s onwards. It was a loose confederation of de facto independent states. I'd compare it to the European Union
+10
Level 60
Dec 11, 2016
One thing I've learned during my history studies is that the whole concept of 'country' is pretty ambiguous for anything that existed before 19th century.
+2
Level 70
Feb 9, 2020
Still seems to be if you read the many many discussions here on jetpunk..
+1
Level 60
Dec 11, 2016
Can I add to the clamour asking that Rome and Roman be accepted please?
+5
Level 60
Dec 11, 2016
No, but you can use HRE
+2
Level 72
Dec 11, 2016
You need to accept a few more variations for "Austria-Hungary" for instance I didn't get it with 'Austrohungarian'.
+3
Level ∞
Dec 11, 2016
Austrohungarian would have worked. I just checked.
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
wouldn't that be the nationality of the people who lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire?
+3
Level 21
Dec 11, 2016
Soviet union should of been Russia. Got it wrong but typed russia.
+1
Level 21
Dec 11, 2016
same with french empire, mexico for spanish empire.
+19
Level 65
Dec 11, 2016
Mexico for Spanish Empire? That's like accepting Belarus for USSR or Colorado for United States
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
oh, i didn't even read your comment, looks like we had the same thoughts.
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
Mexico wasn't the only country part of the Spanish Empire, so it would be like saying Texas should count for the U.S.
+8
Level 70
Jun 8, 2019
"of" should have been "have".
+2
Level 68
Nov 7, 2021
should of been what now?
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
well, it's name wasn't Russia, it was the USSR, Russia was only a part of the USSR, other than controlling the USSR that is.
+1
Level 69
Dec 12, 2016
Dang! I thought of the Aztec but was too lazy to try it.
+9
Level 58
Aug 22, 2017
Too lazy? And yet you typed it in that comment - wasn't that difficult in the end, was it
+3
Level 57
Dec 12, 2016
def should accept Russia and Turkey for USSR & Ottomans
+2
Level 35
Dec 13, 2016
What about the portuguese empire ?
+2
Level 70
Dec 13, 2016
Add "evil" as a response for "USSR"

t. Reagan

+3
Level 82
Nov 26, 2017
Cool quiz.

Though..

As others have pointed out. If you accept "France" for the "French Empire," "UK" for the "British Empire," "India" for the "Maratha Empire,"

"Russia" for the "Russian Empire," "Spain" for the "Spanish Empire,"

"Austria" for the "Hapsburg Empire," "Austria" for "Austria-Hungary,"

"Denmark" for the "Dutch Empire," "Hungary" for "Hungary and Croatia," and "Poland" for "Polish-Lithuanian Union"...

Then you probably also ought to accept "Russia" for the "Soviet Union," "Turkey" for the "Ottoman Empire," and maybe even "Mexico" for the Aztecs, "Peru" for the Incas, and "Germany" for the HRE. There's little rationale for not doing so, other than you don't accept those type-ins in other places on the site.

+11
Level 89
Jun 15, 2018
Why on earth would they accept "Denmark" for the Dutch Empire?

"Commemorate Empire Day, when we try to remember the names of all those from the Sudbury area who so gallantly gave their lives to keep China British."

- Month Python

+1
Level 82
Feb 9, 2020
Danish
+2
Level 82
Nov 7, 2021
Denmark would be the Danish Empire. The Dutch Empire is from the Netherlands
+3
Level 64
Feb 7, 2022
From a level 83 user, I expect better than "Denmark" for Dutch Empire
+2
Level 82
Aug 9, 2022
I made a typo. But thanks for pointing it out 3x, including twice after I acknowledged the mistake myself. That's helpful.
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
Germany did not exist with the HRE, only after Prussia unified the HRE to form the German Empire, The Netherlands were the ones who had the Dutch empire, and Russia was only a part of the USSR, although they were the ones in control. The USSR was literally a union, it says so in the name
+1
Level 43
Jan 4, 2018
please accept "roman" or "rome" for holy roman empire
+9
Level 89
Jun 15, 2018
Germany would be vastly more accurate than Rome.
+4
Level 58
Feb 24, 2018
Nothing from India in 1500? At least Vijayanagara empire should count. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vijayanagara_Empire
+1
Level 74
Feb 25, 2018
Can you please accept Mexico for Aztec and Peru for Inca?
+1
Level 59
Jan 20, 2023
Why tho
+1
Level 56
Jul 5, 2018
Why is Germany just Germany in 1900 whereas other European empires are labelled as, example, British Empire, rather than Britain or United Kingdom? Is it excluding German colonies? Great quiz!
+7
Level 76
Sep 5, 2018
Distribute free condoms in India and Nigeria.
+2
Level 45
Oct 21, 2021
lol
+2
Level 70
Jun 8, 2019
Only missed ethiopia, holy roman empire (moved on after roman) aztec and inca and hungary-croatia
+2
Level 65
Aug 6, 2019
How do you know which countries were sovereing in 2050?
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
its a poll, where people estimate what countries populations will be in the future
+1
Level 58
Feb 9, 2020
I'm italian and I missed Italy!!!
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
really? because with that name, i would have thought you were German
+1
Level 51
Feb 9, 2020
Accept Peru for Incan Empire?
+2
Level 51
Feb 9, 2020
Can you accept Mexico for Aztec Empire?
+1
Level 40
Feb 9, 2020
*types in russia* *thinks hard* *gives up* “Soviet Union”

THAT’S RUSSIA

+2
Level 63
Jul 21, 2021
The USSR and Russia are 2 very different things
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
kind of, Russia was the one in control of the USSR, but it was also just a part of it, a united socialist sister republic if you will.
+1
Level 21
Mar 2, 2020
why "britain" and "uk" isn't accepted for the british empire is beyond me
+1
Level 29
May 1, 2020
Source?
+1
Level 60
Jan 5, 2021
Interesting that you put the Chinese Emperor on the thumbnail.
+1
Level 64
Mar 12, 2021
The fact that 50% got Polish-Lithuania is odd...
+8
Level 63
Mar 20, 2021
Hardly, this is a site full of geography nerds.
+3
Level 68
Nov 7, 2021
You can just do Poland and get it, so not really odd. But for Hungary and Croatia you have to do the full thing, I tried Hungary but that didn't count for it
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
i did Hungary and it worked
+1
Level 68
Nov 7, 2021
26, missed the 4 lowest ones unsurprisingly
+1
Level 68
Nov 7, 2021
This is one of the few times where the ones I missed were all of the lowest-guessed.
+1
Level 71
Nov 7, 2021
I know India was really fractured by 1500, but it still surprises me that no Indian empires from that period cracked the top 10. I would've thought something like the Delhi Sultanate or Vijayanagara Empire (the latter of which had one of the world's largest cities at the time) would've made it. Maybe they didn't keep good records though, or maybe I've overestimating the size of these empires.

Also pretty surprised that the Spanish Empire, with all its land area, only had a slightly high population than the Holy Roman Empire by 1800.

+1
Level 35
Nov 7, 2021
russia should count as Soviet Union
+1
Level 35
Nov 7, 2021
not all of these are countries

either you should change the title to countries and empires or you could except countries for empires

ex. mexico counts for aztec empire, turkey counts for ottoman empire, ect.

+1
Level 69
Apr 25, 2022
Empires are countries
+1
Level 57
Nov 8, 2021
No Vijayanagar, Dehli Sultanate, Dai Viet, or Duchy of Moscow in 1500? Are you sure?
+1
Level 15
Jun 4, 2024
how many people do you think lived in Vietnam at the time?
+1
Level 67
Nov 9, 2021
You should accept "Germany" for "Holy Roman Empire" as it's basically the same and also called "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" in those years
+1
Level 29
Nov 9, 2021
I agree with silllie and a few others rome for HRE though it is not fully acurate, turkey for the ottomans, and russia for the soviets
+1
Level 55
Jan 8, 2022
The Holy Roman Empire is not a country though, right?

However, I disagree much more with people saying "Rome" should be accepted haha.

+1
Level 82
Jan 11, 2022
I think that figure for the British Empire in 1800 is way too high. This is after the loss of much of North America and before the conquest of most of India or basically any of Africa. The Second and Third Anglo-Maratha Wars after 1800 did much to expand British rule in India, but in 1800 that was still in the future. This page gives the population of British India as late as 1814 as only 40,000,000 and the entire empire as 61,000,000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_British_Empire) while this one suggests 57,000,000 for the Empire as a whole in 1800, with the vast majority of India's population still under the Maratha Confederacy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1800).
+1
Level 69
Apr 25, 2022
This quiz has a lovely score distribution chart.
+1
Level 55
Nov 29, 2022
How is Nigeria going to hit 400M first before the U.S, when they are 100M apart?
+1
Level 69
Jan 11, 2023
Why didn't you clarify that former countries are included??
+1
Level 46
Apr 23, 2023
How can we know what countries are souverign in 2050. Are we assuming the borders dont change?
+1
Level 48
Oct 30, 2023
Lack of consistency.

On one hand you accept Austria for Habsburg Empire, India for Marathi Empire and Poland for Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. On the other hand you do not accept Turkey for Ottoman Empire, Germany for Holy Roman and Russia for USSR. Similar logic though.

+1
Level 47
Apr 9, 2024
Hungary and Croatia were in personal union, but they weren't a single "country"