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city living

16 greatest cities in human history

From Jericho in 7000 BC right through to New York City in the 1900s, here are the largest cities in the world through human history.

WHAT NEW YORK City was in the 1900s, London was in the 1800s, Constantinople was in the 600s, and so forth, back to Jericho in 7000 BC.

They were the largest cities in the world, and arguably the epicenters of human civilisation.

These cities led mankind to new heights of culture and commerce – though in the end each of them was surpassed and some of them destroyed.

Historians Tertius Chandler, Gerald Fox, and George Modelski identified the largest cities throughout history through painstaking study of household data, agricultural commerce, church records, fortification sizes, food distribution, loss of life in a disaster, and more. Based on this information, here are the largest cities in human history.

16 greatest cities in human history
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  • Jericho was the biggest city in the world in 7000 BC with 2,000 citizens

  • Uruk took the lead in 3500 BC with 4,000 citizens

  • Mari took the lead in 2400 BC with 50,000 citizens

  • Ur took the lead in 2011 BC with 100,000 citizens

  • Yinxu took the lead in 1300 BC with 120,000 citizens

  • Carthage took the lead in 300 BC with 100,000 citizens

  • Rome took the lead in 200 AD with 1,200,000 citizens

  • Constantinople took the lead in 600 AD with 600,000 citizens

  • Babylon took the lead in 700 BC with 100,000 citizens

  • Baghdad took the lead in 900 AD with 900,000 citizens

  • Kaifeng took the lead in 1200 AD with 1,000,000 citizens

  • Beijing took the lead in 1,500 AD with 1,000,000 citizens

  • Ayutthaya took the lead in 1,700 AD with 1,000,000 citizens

  • London took the lead in 1825 with 1,335,000 citizens

  • New York took the lead in 1925 with 7,774,000 citizens

  • Tokyo took the lead in 1968 with 20,500,000 citizens

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