When did the 21st century begin?

Here in the UK almost everybody believes that it began on 1st Jan 2000

When the oldest person born in Britain (born 1899) died she was described as ‘the last person born in the 19th century’ … but there was someone born in 1900 still alive. When she died she became ‘the last person born in the reign of Queen Victoria’.

On 1st Jan 2018 teenagers born on 1st Jan 2000 will become eligible to vote.

January 1, 2001.

I’m in Great Britain and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know it began on 1st Jan 2001.

Use a thought experiment.

Posit a situation in which mankind has decided to implement universal calendar reform. Beginning tomorrow, we are arbitrarily calling it New Year’s Day, January 1, the first day of the First Century, NC (New Calendar).

Is it year 0 (zero), or is it year 1 (one)?

If it’s year 1, the first year of the second century will be 101. If on the other hand, it’s year 0, the first year of the second century will be 100.

If it’s year 1, the first year of the third century will be 201. If on the other hand, it’s year 0, the first year of the third century will be 200.

If it’s year 1, the first year of the fourth century will be 301. If on the other hand, it’s year 0, the first year of the fourth century will be 300.

If it’s year 1, the first year of the fifth century will be 401. If on the other hand, it’s year 0, the first year of the fifth century will be 400.

<SNIP>

If it’s year 1, the first year of the twenty-first century will be 2001. If on the other hand, it’s year 0, the first year of the twenty-first century will be 2000.

Do you want to live in a world in which a theoretical calendar can boldly display “This is the Year 0”? I don’t want to. And I maintain that I don’t actually live in such a world.

Therefore, the 21st century began on January 1, 2001. Q.E.D.

I recently asked 50 random people, of all ages, and only 2 people agreed that it began on 1st Jan 2001 … maybe it depends where you are? I’m in Gloucester.

Anyhow … I’m willing to bet that the newspapers will “celebrate” the ‘First voters born in the 21st century’ as those born on 1st Jan 2000.

I went to school in Cheltenham. Maybe it’s changed since.

I’ve always thought that those who insist the century begins in 2001 are being silly; it’s the day that the “odometer turns” from 1999 to 2000 that sends shivers up the spine.

Yes, yes we all know that with the “odometer convention” the first century would have only 99 years but so what? No one was using the Anno Domino calendar back then, and anyway from the birth of Christ to the year 100 A.D. is estimated at about 104 years, not 99!

(Anyway, C programmers start counting with 0 not 1. )

That said, although we can find people to debate the matter forever, (or, at least until 2099), this is really more of a General Question.

Cite?

As I recall, we just took the opportunity to have two parties.

I am also in GB and everyone I know would probably say that it began in January 2000. Then, suspecting a trap, they would say “Oh yeah - January 2001 if you are going to be pedantic.”

To quote from Cecil - Whatever we do ~ “the universe would hum on.”

In August 1999 I rang the BBC and was passed to a supervisor who responded to my question: When does the 21st century begin? by saying: January 1st 2001.

When I asked her why the BBC was telling people it was January 1st 2000 she replied:

We’ve got government permission.

The Millennium Commission (phone no ending in 2001) responded by saying: It isn’t Us.

I am certain that it began 1/1/2001 but I think I see a list every few weeks of the best whatever of the 21st century and it always seems to include 2000. From a couple of months ago:

Esquire

Spoken like a die-hard FORTRAN programmer! (No offense intended. I am one myself!)

But if we re-booted the calendar today, in these modern data times, the calendar would surely begin with Year 0, Month 0, Day 0.

We did … 0 UNIX Epoch is Jan 1[sup]st[/sup] 1970 at midnight. I don’t think the peoples who made our calender were using zero as a number, such a development came later.

Precisely. Counting starting from 1 is so … primitive.

So we do it in today’s calendar for backwards compatibility reasons. But we wouldn’t (or at least should know better) if we were launching a new calendar nowadays.

Then again, in a country that that still mints pennies worth a tiny fraction of the last coin we pulled from circulation, and that really, *really *wants Pluto to still be a planet, I don’t hold out much hope for logic to prevail when rebasing the calendar.

Does the same rule apply to decades? For example, did the 80s technically begin on 1 January 1981?

Except with calendars.

Is a newborn baby one year old the day it is born? No, it’s beginning its first year. The baby is in its first year, and it will be the first year until 365 days have elapsed. A baby in its first year (Year 1) is zero years old.

60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour … base 60 counting goes all the way back to the very first of human written records … that’s conservative …

Depends on how you phrase the question. The “'80’s” are the years that have an “8” in the tens place, so that would be 1980 - 1989. The eighth decade of the 20[sup]th[/sup] century would be 1981 - 1990.

Clear as mud.

In late 1998 a survey found that 73% of people said that 1st Jan 2000 would be no different from any other New Year’s Day.- and most of the rest were Catholics (Year 2000, the Jubilee Year, the last year of the 2nd Millennium). The key to how the change was orchestrated is to be found in what was broadcast on television during March 1999. There WAS a calculated “plot” to mould the thinking of as many people as possible. In March 2003 they tried something similar in the run-up to the Iraq War (with noticeably less success).