Foreign News: Historical Note

One day 200 years ago, it was Sept. 2 in the realm of King George II. Next morning, by Act of Parliament, it was Sept. 14. England, 170 years after most other European nations, at last switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

The Julian calendar (introduced by

Julius Caesar in 45 B.C.) was based on the solar year, i.e., the time it takes the earth to make its orbit around the sun. But Caesar's astronomers had not been accurate: the Julian year was 11 minutes, 14 seconds longer than the solar year. If this had gone on unchecked, spring would eventually...

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