History (General)

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How Do Centuries Work

What is a century and how do you work out what century you are in?

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Jasmin Ritchie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A century is any 100 year period, however the accepted  calendar century of today was instituted in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.  Known as the Gregorian calendar, his confirmation of 'Anno Domini' cites Jesus' life as the basis of our calendar time.  Pope Gregory XIII 'bull' (document) defined our modern definition of a century from the birth of Jesus as year 1, however the years 1 to 100 were recognized as the time of Jesus, while the following years beginning with the year 101 were recognized as the years after Jesus. 'Anno Domini' translated is 'In the year of our Lord' (meaning after the Jesus' time on earth) this is why 2009 is the 21st century.

Just an F.Y.I.- The influence of the Roman Empire was and still can be found everywhere. In this case the history of the  word 'century' could be traced to the ancient Roman 'centurion'. A Roman officer in charge of a 'century' originally made up of 100 men.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A century is defined as a 100 year period.  Currently, we are in the 21st century, meaning we are in the years beginning with 2000.  It is a bit confusing in terms of understanding the relationship between years and century.  Reflecting on it, thought, it makes sense. The years we are in is always one behind the century number.  This is because it takes 100 years to mark a century.  For example, the 19th century is considered the 1800s, because it is one behind the century number.  The 16th century covers the 1500s.  This same logic is why we are in the 21st century.

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yassy2812 | Student

to work out a century just knock off the last 2 digits and add 1

e.g 1978 knock off last 2 digits= 19 + 1= 20th century

e.g 01bc knock off last 2 digits =0+1= 1st century

hope this helps it's well easy

krishna-agrawala | Student

We measure and record passage of time using different units of time such as hours, days, weeks, months and years.

A day is the time taken by the Earth for one complete revolution around its axis. An year is the time taken by the earth for one complete rotation around the sun. This equal to 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.

In the past, different countries have devised different calendars to measure and record time. Some of these calenders are still used by some people in a limited. But the most widely used calender, which is also the internationally accepted common calendar, is the Gregorian calendar devised in 1582. Some corrections were made in this calendar to take into account the improved measurement of period of days and year with advancement of science.

In this calendar the counting of years is supposed to start from the year of birth of Jesus Christ. As per this calendar the current year going on is year 2009.

Century refers to blocks of hundred year periods starting from January 1 of year 1, and continuing up to December 31 of year 100. The second century started immediately in completion of first century and ended on December 31, 200. The twentieth century started on January 1, 1901, and ended on December 31, 2000.

It will not be out of place to point out that many companies projected the day January 1, 2000 as the start of the twenty-first century, but that is not the real start of twenty-first century. These companies projected that as start of twenty-first century, perhaps in their hurry to to use this event as an occasion to make extra money by organizing events to celebrate it, and by linking marketing of their products to this occasions.


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