Here in the United States, we often use New York City as our paradigm of extraordinary population density. Indeed, the city proper and some surrounding municipalities hold nine of the top ten spots for most densely populated places in America, and the city itself contains over 27,000 people per square mile. But that’s just a quarter of the density of the most crowded city on Earth: Manila, Philippines.
However, Manila wasn’t always so densely packed. When the photo above was taken, in 1878, Calle Escolta (the street pictured above) was the primary commercial thoroughfare in not just all of old Manila, but in all of the Philippines.