The following list from about.com shows what cities were the most populous cities at particular times in history. The webpage also has links to the top ten cities in (for example) the year 100. I tink some numbers my be wrong, because I thought Tang dynasty Chang’an was about 1 million people.

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)
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