Century

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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.

Start and end in the Gregorian calendar

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 popular perspective (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. 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).[2]

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]

Viewpoint 1: Strict usage

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 usage

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 AD

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.

Alternative naming systems

Informally, years may be referred to in groups based on the hundreds part of the year. In this system, the years 1900–1999 are referred to as the nineteen hundreds (1900s). Aside from English usage, this system is used in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Finnish. The 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.

Similar dating units in other calendar systems

While the century has been commonly used in the West, other cultures and calendars have utilized differently sized groups of years in a similar manner. The Hindu calendar, in particular, summarizes its years into groups of 60,[5] while the Aztec calendar considers groups of 52.[6]

See also

References

  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 15 June 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. 

Bibliography

  • 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.
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