Bayou-Picayune Podcast, S02 EP22: George Washington was Born on Two Different Days
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Did you know George Washington was born on February 11, 1732, and February 22, 1732?
The first solar calendar, the Julian calendar which commenced in 45 B.C., was three years of three hundred and sixty-five days followed by a leap year of three hundred and sixty-six days.
That comes out to an average of 365 and one-quarter days, which was still eleven minutes and 14 seconds longer than the actual solar year. Over the years this produced too many leap years, which in turn created problems for the Christian church because its biggest feast day, Easter, is tied to lunar activity.
Easter is, after all, the first Sunday after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox.
So, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar.
So, Pope Gregory introduced the new calendar, the Gregorian calendar in 1582 to rectify the problem, and all the Catholic countries made a 10-day switch to align themselves with the new Gregorian calendar.
However, King Henry VIII of England had broken away from the Catholic Church forty-eight years earlier in, 1534, and started the Church of England. So, England refused to go along with the new Papist calendar.
England and its colonies stubbornly clung to the Julian calendar until the inaccuracies were too much to bear. So, in 1752, England reluctantly switched to the Papist Gregorian calendar.
To align itself with the more accurate Gregorian calendar, England added eleven days in September of that year. So, people went to bed on Wednesday, September 2, 1752, and woke up on Thursday, September 14, 1752. Then to be consistent with the new calendar England backdated previous dates by eleven days.
As a result, even though George Washington’s mother thought she had given birth to her son on February 11, 1732, under the Julian calendar, George Washington’s birthday is recorded as February 22, 1732, under the Gregorian calendar.