Archiver > ORANGEBURGH_SC > 1999-03 > 0922400664

From: Mark James <>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 10:24:24 +1200

At 03:58 25 March 1999 -0600, Jim Steinwinder wrote:
> The decree dictated that the new year would start on the 25th of
>March 1752 which would become I Jan 1752.

If I read this correctly, it is not quite accurate. The day after 24
March 1752 did not revert to a second 1 Jan 1752. It's just that the day
after 31 Dec 1751, which previously would have been 1 Jan 1751, suddenly
became 1 Jan 1752 as we do it today. The year number incremented nearly
three months earlier (1 Jan) than it had done before (25 March).

25 March was still an early spring day, in both calendars, and 1 January
was in the dead of winter. The old Julian calendar was off with respect to
the seasons, but only by eleven days, not by three months. The eleven-day
correction took place in September 1752.

The problem, as Jim states, is that not everyone in England and its
colonies observed the change right away, so that dates recorded in January,
February, or early March are always a bit suspect as to which year they
really occurred in. Furthermore, people who later tried to transcribe
dates that occurred prior to the change, sometimes took it upon themselves
to "correct" the dates from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, with or
without making it explicit that that is what they were doing. If they were
careful about it, they tended to write such dates as "11 Feb 1692/3",
meaning that the date occurred in 1692 "old style" (Julian) but in 1693
"new style" (Gregorian).

Many Catholic countries, as Jim noted, shifted from the Julian to the
Gregorian calendar in 1582, but some (France, for example) came on board a
bit later. Other countries shifted at different times; Russia kept the
Julian calendar until the Communists took over, which is why the "October
Revolution" took place in November 1917.

A good Web site for calendar issues is:

-- Mark James <>

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