Top 10 Largest Countries in the World in 1900

By | February 13, 2023

In the year 1900, the world had about 1.65 billion people. Below is a list of countries that in 1900 were among the top 10 largest countries in terms of population. Most of these countries no longer exist in their former form. Check timedictionary for list of top 10 largest countries in North America.

10. European France

The European part of France, not counting colonies, ranked 10th in terms of population in 1900. France then had about 38.9 million inhabitants. The country had proclaimed the republic (the Third French Republic) in 1870 after the defeat of Emperor Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War. Since 1870, a president instead of a monarch has ruled the country. The Third French Republic existed until 1940, when the country was occupied by Germany.

9. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

In the year 1900 Great Britain and Ireland formed one kingdom. The population of this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was 39.88 million. Great Britain and Ireland have been one kingdom since 1800. In the 19th century, the kingdom experienced a major industrialization. Britain developed a strong naval power, which led to the very powerful British Empire. Growing discontent in Ireland led to the creation of the independent Republic of Ireland in 1922.

8. Dutch East Indies

From 1816 to 1949, the Dutch East Indies was the name of the colonial area that the Netherlands owned in the Indian Archipelago. This territory corresponded to the current country of Indonesia. In the year 1900 there were 42.75 million inhabitants in the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch East Indies was an important supplier to the Netherlands of raw materials such as coffee, tea, sugar cane, tobacco and rubber. New railways were built into the interior, leading to the growth of the local towns. The Dutch East Indies existed until 1949, when the independent Republic of Indonesia was recognized by the Netherlands.

7. The Empire of Japan

The former Empire of Japan was established in the year 1868 and remained in that form until 1947. In the year 1900, this empire had 43.85 million inhabitants. During this period, economic reforms were implemented, including the introduction of a single currency (the yen), an improved communication network, a financial structure with modern banks, stock exchanges, and so on. The first Japanese constitution was signed in 1889. Japan also expanded its territory by annexing Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria and parts of northern China. After Japan’s defeat in World War II, the Empire of Japan was abolished in 1947 and replaced by the State of Japan, which received a new constitution.

6. Austria-Hungary

The Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary formed a so-called dual monarchy in 1900 under the leadership of the Austrian emperor. This Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy was founded in 1867 and lasted until 1918. In the year 1900, 47.29 million people lived there, which was good for 6th place in the world ranking. The dual monarchy had successively two emperors: Franz Josef I and Karl I, who were king of Hungary at the same time. Austrians and Hungarians had great autonomy in the empire. At the end of the First World War , the dual monarchy fell apart.

5. The German Empire

Germany was an empire from 1871 to 1918. In 1871, several German states united to form a German Empire, under the leadership of Kaiser Wilhelm I of Prussia. The German Reich modernized at a rapid pace. In 1900 the Empire had 56.37 million inhabitants. Wilhelm I died in 1888 and was succeeded by Wilhelm II. He plunged the country into World War I, which Germany lost in 1918. This marked the end of the reign of Wilhelm II who fled to the Netherlands. The German Empire was abolished and replaced by a republic, the so-called Weimar Republic.

4. The United States

The United States of America had a population of 75.99 million in 1900. The US thus reached 4th place in the world ranking. In 1900, the US already consisted of the 50 states that make up the nation today. In 1776, 13 English colonies declared independence and formed the very beginning of the United States. In the 19th century, the US continued to expand its territory to the west. Alaska was added to the US in 1867 as the penultimate state. Hawaii became the 50th state to become part of the US in 1898. After WWII, the US developed into the most powerful nation in the world.

3. The Empire of Russia

The Empire of Russia

The Russian Empire existed from 1721 to 1917. In 1900, 119.55 million inhabitants lived in the Empire. If one also includes the inhabitants of the annexed countries of Finland and Poland, the population comes to 136.3 million people. The Russian Empire was ruled by an emperor (tsar) of the Romanov family. In 1900 Tsar Nicholas II was in power, who would become the last Tsar of the Empire. Popular discontent led to uprisings and revolution in 1917, forcing Nicholas II to abdicate. The Russian Empire was abolished and in 1922 the Soviet Union was born.

2. British India

British India

In 1900, British India ranked 2nd in the ranking of countries with the largest population, with 330.57 million citizens. British India was a British colony from 1858 to 1947. The area included the current countries of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and parts of Myanmar. It was under the direct administration of the British government. In 1947 British India became independent and the area was split into India and Pakistan. Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) became independent in 1948. Bangladesh split from Pakistan in 1971.

1. The Chinese Qing Empire

The Chinese Qing Empire

Already in the year 1900, China had the largest population in the world. In 1900, China was still an empire, ruled by Qing dynasty emperors. The population in 1900 was 400 million. The emperors of the Qing dynasty ruled China from 1644 to 1912. The last emperor, Puyi, came to the throne in 1908. He was only 2 years old at the time. In 1912 the empire was abolished and the republic was proclaimed. Six-year-old Puyi was no longer allowed to leave the Forbidden City in Beijing and thus became more or less a prisoner in his own palace.