Two thousand years ago, when Caesar Augustus ruled the Roman Empire, the entire world population was approximately 170 million. To put that in perspective, that’s as if you spread the population of only Bangladesh across the entire world. This video shows the expansion from that time, beginning at 1:18, with each yellow dot representing one million people.
Things start out slow, with individual dots appearing infrequently enough you can watch each one. In fact, things carry on that way for quite some time, passing events like the rise of the Mayan Empire, the Crusades, and a noticeable European population dip at the Black Death. But in the 16th century things really start to get crazy, and with the industrial revolution quickly followed by the invention of modern medicines the world population simply explodes.
While this video gives us a quick guided trip through history, a fully interactive version (giving you the chance to explore major historical events in detail) can be found at WorldPopulationHistory.org.