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A century (from the Latin centum, meaning one hundred; abbreviated c.) is one hundred years. Centuries are numbered ordinally in English and many other languages (e.g. "the 7th century AD/CE").
Dating units in other calendar systems
Besides the Gregorian calendar, the Julian calendar, the Aztec calendar, and the Hindu calendar have cycles of years that are used to delineate whole time periods; the Hindu calendar, in particular, summarizes its years into groups of 60, while the Aztec calendar considers groups of 52.
Centuries in astronomical year numbering
Astronomical year numbering, used by astronomers, includes a year zero (0). Consequently, the 1st century in these calendars may designate the years 0 to 99 as the 1st century, years 100 to 199 as the second etc. However, in order to regard 2000 as the first year of the 21st century according to the astronomical year numbering, the astronomical year 0 has to correspond to the Gregorian year 1 BC.
Alternative naming systems
In Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish, besides the ordinal naming of centuries another system is often used based on the hundreds part of the year, and consequently centuries start at even multiples of 100. For example, Swedish nittonhundratalet (or 1900-talet), Danish nittenhundredetallet (or 1900-tallet), Norwegian nittenhundretallet (or 1900-tallet) and Finnish tuhatyhdeksänsataaluku (or 1900-luku) refer unambiguously to the years 1900–1999. The same system is used informally in English. For example, the years 1900–1999 are sometimes referred to as the nineteen hundreds (1900s). This is similar to the English decade names (1980s, meaning the years 1980–1989).
- The Battle of the Centuries, Ruth Freitag, U.S. Government Printing Office. Available from the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250- 7954. Cite stock no. 030-001-00153-9.
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