Counting The Years

Purists like to point out that, technically speaking, the beginning of the new millennium does not really occur on Jan. 1, 2000, but on Jan. 1, 2001. This is because there is no year zero in the Christian era, on which historical calendars are calculated. The first year of the era is called A.D. 1, and the one immediately preceding is 1 B.C. Therefore, by the time the calendar reaches Jan. 1, 2000, only 1,999 years will have elapsed since A.D.'s starting point. The same phenomenon occurs as each new century is recorded. In popular observance, however, the simultaneous turning of...

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