Why the 3rd of September in 1752 never happened

Why the 3rd of September in 1752 never happened

In September 1752 11 days went missing from our calendar and Google isn’t mistaken.

People that went to sleep on the night of the 2nd of September 1752 in England (or one of the American colonies), awoke to the 14th of September. And they definitely didn’t sleep for 11 days.

So what really happened in September 1752?

This was the month during which England shifted from the Roman Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. The Julian calendar assumed that a year was exactly 365.25 days. That’s close, but not quite right. The average length of a year is 365 days, 5 hours and 49 minutes. As other countries had already made the transition across much earlier, 11 days had accumulated as a difference. The King of England, Goerge II, ordered that 11 days be stricken from the month.

As a result, workers worked for 11 days less that month and still earned a full months wages. Interestingly enough, this was where the concept of paid vacation came from. – All hail the King!

In the old calendar, the 1st of April used to be New Years Day. When the king saw that there were those that were celebrating the New Year on the 1st of April despite his orders, he launched a smear campaign dubbing anyone who involved themselves in this practice, an “April fool”. And hence we have the name that we associate with our annual prank regime, always to be marked with an X on our calendar.

Interestingly enough, Britain wasn’t the last country to make the switch.

Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar in October 1582 as a refinement to the Julian calendar which involved a 0.002% correction in the length of the year. This came about in order to correct a divergence in the canonical date of the Northern spring equinox. Some countries adopted the new calendar immediately, whilst others, such as Britain, held back. As the two calendars differed, countries that didn’t make the transition across to the Gregorian calendar, struggled with synchronisation issues. This caused major disputes in the manner of writings, legal issues and deed dates.

The switch took more than 300 years, with Britain not being the last country to make the change. Russia didn’t make the change until 1923!





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