For the last three months, we’ve primarily looked at events that actually happened. Well today, we’re going to to look at eleven days that never happened. Well, eleven days that never happened in the British Empire, to be specific.
You see, people in Great Britain and its colonies (including the Americas) went to bed on the evening of Wednesday September 2, 1752 and woke up on the morning of Thursday September 14th, 1752. So, what happened to September 3-13? Did a rogue time traveler alter the course of history so that time was rewritten? Did a wizard put everyone into a deep slumber that lasted nearly two weeks? Is there a realistic answer to this mystery? The answer to your questions are no, no and most definitely yes.
So, what actually caused the calendar to skip eleven days? Well, the British were finally getting on the same calendar page as most of Europe and finally jettisoning the Julian calendar for the Gregorian calendar. You see, the many Catholic countries of continental Europe had already switched to the Gregorian calendar shortly after Pope Gregory XIII announced the new dating system in the late 16th century. However, at the time that the Gregorian calendar was adopted, the British weren’t big on the papacy at the time (The Gregorian calendar was unveiled less than fifty years after King Henry VIII had separated the English Church from the Vatican) and there was no great desire to adopt the new “Popish” calendar. However, over the ensuing century and a half, the Gregorian calendar became more commonly used by the rest of the western world, and was clearly not going away any time soon, so the British decided to adopt it.
Contrary to popular rumor, there were no riots over the perceived loss of eleven days. This amusing myth comes from some works by period satirists who joked that the government had stolen eleven days from the hard working English people.
So, to mark the eleven days in September 1752 that never happened, how about a nice Time Warp cocktail. It’s a sweet number that wouldn’t be out of place on the menu of a good tiki bar.
- 1 1/2 ounces Light Rum
- 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
- 1/4 ounce lime Juice
- 2 teaspoon grenadine
Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Tomorrow: The City Of Angels