Endpoints of the 20th century

I posted this page to the site when I first uploaded my stardate information. It pleases me that many (though hardly all) people have come to understand just when the 20th century was. People who insist on using the correct dating are often called “persnickety” (I must have seen this label on three separate online news articles about the topic). I’m not sure why “correct” equals “persnickety,” but I’ve met with good success convincing people about the topic.

I am keeping this page up in its most recent form, but will not be updating it any further way (what would be the point?).

As we we have now reached the year 2000, I feel very unhappy about a strange topic: everyone has been talking about the arrival of the 21st century a year early!

The simple fact is: the first year of the 21st century is 2001. When counting years, numbers begin with one, not zero. The first year of our calendar (although not counted back then) was the year 1, not 0. This makes the first century count from 1 to 100. That’s 100 years, a century. By the time you get to our century, you can see that it is made up of the years 1901 to 2000, inclusive.

Unfortunately, not too many people know this. They see a big, flashy number like 2000 and think that this is it. They couldn’t be more wrong. More people understand it now than in 1999, but it’s considered to be bad taste to complain about inaccuracies. But the fact remains: 2000 was the final year in the 20th century.

Our calendar counts AD, Anno Domini, “Year of the King.” A king does not rule from year 0. There’s the first year of his reign, the second year of his reign, and so on. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Christian or not, or whether it’s accurate; that’s what you’re counting!

Although I don’t expect much success, I want to spread this word to as many people as possible over the Internet to raise the general level of intelligence (sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it?). With the way I am, I will feel obligated to tell anyone who tells me “We’re in the 21st century” that they are wrong, and they will not believe me. In fact, they will resent me for trying to tell them otherwise. So, I’ve decided to get as many people as possible to see the light so this particular emotion does not become a factor. So please, tell all of your friends! Celebrate 2000 as the end of a good century, but celebrate 2001 as the beginning of a potentially wonderful one!

Since the original writing of this document, I’ve become notably more pessimistic, or “realistic,” and don’t really expect too much wonderfulness just because it’s a new year. Wonderfulness comes from people doing wonderful things.

Last updated September 24, 2005

David Trimboli | Index