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The difference between the Millennium and year 2000

Short explanation

The 3rd Millennium starts January 1st, year 2001 NOT year 2000 as many people believe, when using the Gregorian calendar.
Year 2000 starts January 1st, year 2000.

Longer explanation

The reason why the 3rd Millennium / 21st Century starts in 2001 is because there was no year 0 (or AD 0, 0 BC). The year before 1 A.D. is defined as year 1 B.C., so year 0 was skipped. (See below. Therefore, January 1st, year 1 is defined to be the start of the 1st century and the 1st Millennium.

Because one Millennium is 1000 years, the first Millennium ends with year 1000. The next (2nd) Millennium starts 1000 years after the first, that is in year 1+1000 = 1001. And the 3rd one starts 1000 years later than the 2nd: 1001+1000 = 2001. The same procedure could be followed for centuries. See the tables below for more information.

What should we celebrate?

It's no problem celebrating both of them, although probably most people will think year 2000 is the biggest of them.
When going to year 2000, we celebrate that it's a special round number, and in year 2001 we can celebrate a new century, a new Millennium, and that it's passed 2000 years since year 1 started.

Why was there no year 0?

When the present system we use to count years was invented by a scholar called Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century (and later established around Europe) they used Roman numerals which did not have zero. Therefore 1 BC is the year before AD 1, with no intervening year 0. (Sequence ... 3 BC, 2 BC, 1 BC, AD 1, AD 2, AD 3 ...).

Exceptions - other calendars

There are many other calendars in use than the Gregorian Calendar, e.g. Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, that started the numbering of years at a different time (initial epoch) than the Julian/Gregorian calendar, and therefore do not celebrate the 3rd Millennium at the same time.

Starting dates for centuries

External links

Century-no.First dayLast day
1.1st of January 131st of December 100
2.1st of January 10131st of December 200
16.1st of January 150131st of December 1600
17.1st of January 160131st of December 1700
18.1st of January 170131st of December 1800
19.1st of January 180131st of December 1900
20.1st of January 190131st of December 2000
21.1st of January 200131st of December 2100
22.1st of January 210131st of December 2200

Starting dates for Millennia

Millennium-no.First dayLast day
1.1st of January 131st of December 1000
2.1st of January 100131st of December 2000
3.1st of January 200131st of December 3000
4.1st of January 300131st of December 4000
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