On this day: Great Britain adopts the Gregorian calendar

On the 2nd of September, 1752, Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar. Most of Western Europe had adopted the calendar some two centuries earlier, changing from the Julian calendar.

Included in this reform was the British Empire, including parts of what is now the United States.

The Julian calendar is still used alongside the Gregorian calendar in some parts of the world, which is the reason some countries in the east of Europe celebrate Easter and Christmas on different dates.

The Gregorian Calendar

On this day: Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary was published in London

Title page from the second edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary 1755

The second edition, 1755.

On the 15th of April, 1755, A Dictionary of the English Language was first published. Created by Samuel Johnson, famously known as Dr Johnson, it was the most influential dictionary of its day, and continued to hold that position until the publication of the Oxford English Dictionary 173 years afterwards.

Samuel Johnson c. 1772, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Samuel Johnson c. 1772, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

English writer Johnson was born in September 1709 and died in December 1784.

On this day: Sweden’s move to the Gregorian Calendar

Pope Gregory XIII, portrait by Lavinia Fontana.Gregory_XIII

Pope Gregory XIII, portrait by Lavinia Fontana.

The 17th of February 1753 was Sweden’s last day of following the Julian calendar. The country moved to the Gregorian calendar, named for Pope Gregory XIII, the following day. The Gregorian calendar is the one used in Western society today.

Because of the change, the 17th of February was followed by the 1st of March.