International Date Line - Historical Alterations - Alaska

Alaska

Russia settled northwest North America from Siberia, that is, from the west with its own Julian calendar (it did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1918). The United States purchased Russian America while based in the contiguous United States, that is, from the east with its own Gregorian calendar (adopted in 1752 while a British colony). The transfer ceremony occurred on the day that the commissioners appointed by the governments of Russia and the United States for that purpose happened to arrive by ship (the USS Ossipee) at New Archangel (Sitka), the capital of Russian America. The United States recorded this date as Friday 18 October 1867 (Gregorian), now known as Alaska Day, whereas the Russian governor, who had remained in New Archangel, would have recorded it as Saturday 7 October 1867 (Julian). Senator Charles Sumner stated during his 3-hour ratification speech (an encyclopedic discussion of Russian America) on 9 April 1867 that this day of the week and calendar discord should be changed. Because the transfer of ownership officially occurred at 3:30 p. m. Sitka mean solar time (time zones were not yet in use), that was the date and time that Alaska changed from an Asian Julian date to an American Gregorian date. If the transfer had occurred at the preceding midnight, then Friday 6 October 1867 (Julian) would have been followed by Friday 18 October 1867 (Gregorian), a duplicate day with a 12-day difference appropriate both for changing from an Asian date to an American date (equivalent to moving the IDL from the east to the west of Alaska) and for changing from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar during the 19th century.

Read more about this topic:  International Date Line, Historical Alterations

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