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A century (from the Latin centum, meaning one hundred; abbreviated c.[1]) is a period of 100 years. Centuries are numbered ordinally in English and many other languages.

A centenary is a hundredth anniversary, or a celebration of this, typically the remembrance of an event which took place a hundred years earlier.

Contents

Start and end in the Gregorian calendarEdit

Although a century can mean any arbitrary period of 100 years, there are two viewpoints on the nature of standard centuries. One is based on strict construction, while the other is based on general usage.

According to the strict construction of the Gregorian calendar, the 1st century began with 1 AD and ended with 100 AD, with the same pattern continuing onward. In this model, the n-th century started/will start on the year (100 × n) − 99 and ends in 100 × n.[2] Because of this, a century will only include one year, the centennial year, that starts with the century's number (e.g. 1900 was the last year of the 19th century).

In general usage, centuries are aligned with decades by grouping years based on their shared digits. In this model, the 'n' -th century started/will start on the year (100 x n) - 100 and ends in (100 x n) - 1. For example, the 20th century is generally regarded as from 1900 to 1999, inclusive. This is sometimes known as the odometer effect. The astronomical year numbering and ISO 8601 systems both contain a year zero, so the first century begins with the year zero, rather than the year one.[3] In this model, the hundreds portion of the date is one less than the number of the century, so that all years of the form 18XX are in the 19th century.

The term 'turn of the century' refers to a year that starts a new century. During the early 20th century, the term 'turn of the (20th) century' was designated to the year 1901, while in contemporary history, the term 'turn of the (21st) century' is designated to the year 2000.[disputed ]

In the late 1990s, there was a dispute to whether the 21st century would begin on January 1, 2000, or January 1, 2001. Most people considered the 1999-2000 celebrations to be the start of the 21st century, with fewer people marking the 2000-2001 celebrations as the starting point.


Viewpoint 1: Strict usageEdit

2 BC 1 BC 1 2 3 4 5 ... 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 ... 198 199 200 ... 1901 1902 ... 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 ... 2098 2099 2100 2101 2102 2103 ... 2198 2199 2200
1st century 2nd century ... 20th century 21st century 22nd century

Viewpoint 2: General usageEdit

2 BC 1 BC 1 2 3 4 5 ... 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 ... 198 199 ... 1900 1901 1902 ... 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 ... 2098 2099 2100 2101 2102 2103 ... 2198 2199
1st century 2nd century ... 20th century 21st century 22nd century

1st century BC and ADEdit

There is no "zeroth century" in between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD. Also, there is no year 0 AD.[4] The first century BC includes the years 100 BC to 1 BC. Other centuries BC follow the same pattern.

Dating units in other calendar systemsEdit

Besides the Gregorian calendar, the Julian calendar, the Aztec calendar, and the Hindu calendar have cycles of years that are used to delineate whole time periods; the Hindu calendar, in particular, summarizes its years into groups of 60,[5] while the Aztec calendar considers groups of 52.[6]

Alternative naming systemsEdit

In Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Finnish, besides the ordinal naming of centuries another system is often used based on the hundreds part of the year, and consequently centuries start at even multiples of 100. For example, Swedish nittonhundratalet (or 1900-talet), Danish nittenhundredetallet (or 1900-tallet), Norwegian nittenhundretallet (or 1900-tallet) and Finnish tuhatyhdeksänsataaluku (or 1900-luku) refer unambiguously to the years 1900–1999.

The same system is used informally in English. For example, the years 1900–1999 are referred to as the nineteen hundreds (1900s).

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary – List of Abbreviations". 
  2. ^ "The 21st Century and the 3rd Millennium". aa.usno.navy.mil/. U.S. Naval Observatory. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2018. 
  3. ^ "century". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 10 May 2018. 
  4. ^ Two separate systems, the astronomical system and the ISO 8601 standard do use a year zero. The year 1 BC (identical to the year 1 BCE) is represented as 0 in the astronomical system, and as 0000 in ISO 8601. Presently, ISO 8601 dating requires usage of the Gregorian calendar for all dates,[citation needed] whereas astronomical dating[citation needed] and Common Era dating allow usage of the Julian calendar for dates before 1582 AD.
  5. ^ "www.vedavidyalaya.com". Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "www.aztec-history.com". Retrieved 4 September 2013. 

BibliographyEdit

  • The Battle of the Centuries, Ruth Freitag, U.S. Government Printing Office. Available from the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250- 7954. Cite stock no. 030-001-00153-9.