List of largest peaceful gatherings in history

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This is a list of the largest historic peaceful gatherings of people in one place for a single event. For brevity, only gatherings in excess of 1 million are recorded.


Over 20 Million


Over 10 Million

Over five million

Two to five million

One to two million

Methodology

The methods of determining how many people are at an event vary in accuracy. Without knowing the method used and its error potential, estimates can be very inaccurate. Practically, for a gathering in an open space,five adults with normal body growth can stand per square metre with minimum movability. For more than four adults per square metre with the crowd moving without previously practised parade-discipline,there is always an ample chance of a stampede. An estimate made by an untrained observer of a large crowd is potentially the least accurate, as there is no methodological basis for the estimate, and it amounts to no more than a guess. Better is an estimate made by a trained observer. These are usually based on scientific principles and experience. Trained observers usually work for governmental or academic organizations.

Scientific analysis of photographs, video images, or both is usually considered to be even better. Based on the quality of the image, it is possible to do a physical head count or to estimate attendance based on the density of people within similar areas. This permits the estimation of people over large areas or where parts of the image are obscured. An extensive discussion of how images were used to estimate the number of attendees at the Million Man March can be found at the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University's website.[102]

The most accurate number is achieved when an actual count of ticket stubs, gate counts, or both is used. This system does have limitations as well. If the number is based on the number of tickets distributed or sold, people who get tickets and do not attend will affect the results. Similarly, people who get into the event without an actual ticket may not be counted. If the count is based on the number of stubs collected, those who get in without tickets will again not be counted, and there is no way to account for people leaving early, or leaving and re-entering using a second ticket.

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