Modern science has estimated that the number of homo sapiens worldwide by the time the species left Africa was probably in the low thousands. If this seems incredibly small compared to our billions and billions, about 70,000 years ago, a massive volcanic eruption in Indonesia caused such global disruption that those numbers may have dropped as low as 1,000.

By 8000 years ago, there were perhaps five million human beings (far fewer than the modern population of London or New York) in the entire world. After this, the development of agriculture vastly increased the human population so that by the birth of Christ, there may have been 230-300 million human beings in the world.

That was a huge increase, but is still only a twentieth of the world population today.

Sign up now for more Quick Histories!