The total number of people on Earth has been increasing for centuries, and it looks as though that trend will continue into the future. The first big growth spurt for the world population occurred in the mid-20th century. However, prior to this population boom, in the 17th to 19th centuries, the population demographics were considerably different than those of today. Globally, this time period was defined by movements of colonization, conquest, trade, industrialization, and the transatlantic slave trade. These events redistributed people on the eve of one of population’s biggest booms. Looking back at where and how people lived in these centuries can help us learn more about why the world population is the way it is today.
Teach students about the history of the world population with this curated collection of resources.