The days from 3 September to 13 September 1752 don’t exist

The days from 3 September to 13 September 1752 don’t exist

People in Britain and English colonies slept on 2 September 1752 and woke up on 14 September 1752. The days from 3 September to 13 September 1752 don’t exist in the history of Britain.

The eleven days referred to here are the ‘lost’ 11 days of September 1752, skipped when Britain changed over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, bringing us into line with most of Europe.The Gregorian calendar is today’s international calendar, named after the man who first introduced it in February 1582, Pope Gregory XIII.

Before 1752, Britain and her Empire followed the Julian calendar, first implemented by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. However this calendar had an inbuilt error of 1 day every 128 years, due to a miscalculation of the solar year by 11 minutes. This affected the date of Easter, traditionally observed on March 21, as it began to move further away from the spring equinox with each passing year.

To get over this problem, the Gregorian calendar was introduced. This is a solar calendar, based on a 365-day year divided into 12 months. Each month consists of either 30 or 31 days with one month, February, consisting of 28 days. A leap year every 4 years adds an extra day to February making it 29 days long.

Its introduction was not straightforward. It meant that the year 1751 was a short year, lasting just 282 days from 25th March (New Year in the Julian calendar) to 31st December. The year 1752 then began on 1 January.

There remained the problem of aligning the calendar in use in England with that in use in Europe. It was necessary to correct it by 11 days: the ‘lost days’. It was decided that Wednesday 2nd September 1752 would be followed by Thursday 14th September 1752.

There were riots in rural villages since the people thought the government was trying to cheat them out of 11 days of their lives,many people mistakenly believed that their lives would be shortened by 11 days.However, most historians now believe that these protests never happened.