How Long is a Century – (And Why)?

How Long is a Century – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 100 Years

When you think of a hundred years ago, one of the first things that might come to mind would be the date. As of this writing, it is mid-October 2019. That means that a hundred years ago would have been 1919. Naturally, things were much different back in 1919 then they are now.

America was just getting out of World War I, and Woodrow Wilson was in the White House. Most individuals had never heard of television, and a select few had radios. However, besides the technological advances, there are a lot of other important ways to understand the length of time designated as a century. Here are some questions to keep in mind:

How Long is a Century

How long does it take for a century to get here?

Although it’s interesting to think about what things were like a hundred years ago, it doesn’t tell us just how immense of a period that one hundred years is.

Different measurements can be used.

If we measure the length of a century in years, it is simply discovered to be 100 years. However, that can be further broken down into other types of time measurements. For example, if we classify 100 years into months, we would arrive at 1200 months, because there are 12 months in a year and 12 multiplied by 100 is 1200. However, you could break it down even further:

Measurement in Days

Considering that a day has been classified as 24 hours, if you measure a century in days, you will have a lot of them!

Let’s do the math. there are 365 days in a year, and so you would have to multiply that by 100. You would then get 36,500 days.

Measurement in Hours

Of course, you could go down even further than days if you wanted to. Measuring a century in hours would be done by multiplying the 24 hours in a day by 365 (days in a year) and then by 100. (you would get 876,000 hours total)

Going Down Even Further

Interesting enough, you also could measure a hundred years by minutes and seconds.

Why does a century take so long?

There is no question that a century takes a long time. But how did they decide to designate 100 years as a century? Well, to fully understand it, you have to hearken back to some of the earliest civilizations and study their timekeeping methods.

For example, the ancient Egyptians were among the first civilizations to devise the concept of a year. They simply did this by noting how long it took the “dog star” constellation to make a full rotation in the sky. They determined that the complete journey of this constellation would take 365 days, thus the concept of a “year” was born. They also coincided this time-keeping method with the yearly flooding of the Nile.

stars in the sky making a constellation

This would have been all well and good, but the Egyptians had some miscalculations in their calendar which led to it being a bit off. Egyptian leader Ptolemy III attempted to correct it by introducing a “leap year” after every four years.

ptolemy, euclid, astronomy

It was about this same time that the concept of 100 years being a century came about. Of course, it depends on what calendar you use. Moreover, a “century” can be defined as both an arbitrary length of time and also the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries and so on.

The new century will always start at “0”. For instance, the 19th century was from 1800-1899, the 20th century from 1900-1999, and the 21st century will span from 2000-2099. It’s interesting stuff, to say the least!

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