On a lighter note today, Livescience.com has published a piece on “seven population milestones” to mark “seven billion people” in the world. This piece included seven interesting snapshots at the (estimated) time that the world welcomed each successive billionth person into the world. I thought that I’d reproduce the snapshots here and add a couple of my own:
1805 – 1 Billion
“The birth year of the world’s billionth baby will never be certain, but it’s likely he or she came into the world around 1805. Beethoven was big that year, and already going deaf. Lewis and Clark made it to the Pacific Ocean. Napoleon was on a roll in Europe, 10 years from his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo. With the exception of a few coastal outposts, most of Africa was a complete mystery to Europeans. In China, the Qing Dynasty had just put down the White Lotus Rebellion, a tax protest that ultimately killed about 16 million people — a reminder that mass death and population growth don’t necessarily cancel one another out.”
I can’t believe that they omitted the battle of Trafalgar! Kiss me Hardy! Alexis de Tocqueville was also born in 1805.
1927 – 2 Billion
“If the 2 billionth baby was indeed born in this year, he or she came into being the same year that the first trans-Atlantic telephone call was made (from New York City to London). The world was on the cusp of the Great Depression. Mao Zedong battled the Kuomintang in Hunan, China, and lost — for a time. An enormous flood along the Mississippi River inundated 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometres), the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history at that point.”
1927 was a bad year for earthquakes – 100 were killed by one in Yugoslavia in February. Japan lost around 3000 in two earthquakes in March and September, while around 200 000 people died in Xining, China when an 8.6 magnitude earthquake hit there in May.
1959 – 3 Billion
“The year the 3 billionth person was born was also the first year that rocket scientists were able to send monkeys to space and bring them back alive. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet during an uprising and set up a government-in-exile in India. And in a fitting tie to humanity’s evolutionary roots, Louis and Mary Leakey discovered the first skull of the ancient hominid Australopithecus.”
A new government in Cuba under Fidel Castro is recognised by the USA. The convening of the Second Vatican Council is announced by Pope John XXIII.
1974 – 4 Billion
“…the world had changed in many ways in the 15 years since baby No. 3 billion took his or her first breath. Forget space monkeys: The human crew of Skylab 4 returned to Earth alive and well after 84 days in orbit. Second-wave feminism had hit a stride in the U.S., ushering in a number of legal victories aimed at workplace and educational equality for women. And just as the first Australopithecus skull was found the year the world’s population rose to 3 billion, “Lucy,” the famed 40-percent-complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, was found in 1974, the year the population hit 4 billion.”
Also this year, a man who never knows when to quit finally does so as Japanese World War II Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, surrenders in the Philippines. Cyclone Tracy hits Darwin, Australia. Ford succeeds Nixon as the 38th President of the USA.
1987 – 5 Billion
“Baby 5 Billion actually got a name: Matej Gaspar, a 7-pound, 9-ounce Croatian boy, was declared by the United Nations to be the official 5 billionth person on the planet. Matej was born at 8:35 a.m. local time in the city of Zagreb, according to Associated Press reports from the time. The secret of being the 5 billionth baby was location, location, location: Officials looked to Zagreb for the birth because the 14th World University Games were being played there at the time.”
The host nation, New Zealand, wins the inaugural Rugby World Cup. Nothing else of importance happened that year.
1999 – 6 Billion
“Baby No. 6 billion got an official designation, too: Adnan Nevic, born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Oct. 12, 1999. Adnan got his label seemingly because then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan happened to be in town for a photo shoot…Notably, Adnan Nevic (or whoever Baby 6 Billion really was) was born into a world with more young people than ever before. Over 1 billion people were between ages 15 and 24 in 1999, all entering peak childbearing years themselves.”
The Euro currency is established. Australia decides to remain a monarchy after a referendum on the establishment of a republic.
2011 – 7 Billion
“Who will Baby 7 Billion be? While the United Nations places his or her birthday at around Oct. 31, 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau, going with slightly more conservative numbers, estimates a February 2012 due date. Where the 7 billionth baby will be born is impossible to know. But Plan International, an international child advocacy agency, is taking a bet on Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. The group plans to present a birth certificate to a baby girl in the region on Oct. 31 to draw attention to the problem of sex-selective abortions in India.”
History repeats and host nation, New Zealand, wins the seventh Rugby World Cup. Nothing else of importance happened this year.