Missing Date in Philippines History: 31 December 1844

From A History of the International Date Line:

European explorers who approached the Pacific Ocean by sailing to the east such as the Portuguese, and in their wake the Dutch, the English and the French, naturally kept their ship’s journals and diaries according to the day count of their home land and this was of course also adopted by the colonists who settled along the Asian perimeter of the Pacific Ocean.

However, the colonisation of the Pacific Ocean by the Spanish occurred from the opposite direction and more specifically from the Spanish possessions in America. The Philippine archipelago was discovered in March 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan and Spanish dominion over the islands was first firmly established in 1565 by Miguel López de Legazpi (c. 1510 – 1572), the conquistador and first Spanish governor general of the Philippines….

Most of the shipping from the Philippines to Spain went over the Pacific Ocean to the Mexican port of Acapulco, was transported over land to the port of Veracruz, and then shipped to Spain. In order that the Spanish ships crossing the Pacific Ocean between the Philippines and the Spanish Americas would not have to adjust the dates in their journals whenever they sighted land, the Philippines observed the same day count as that of the Spanish Americas….

During the early 1840s the commercial interests of the Philippine Islands turned more and more away from the Spanish Americas (which for a large part had severed their relations with the motherland Spain) and trading with the Chinese mainland (engendered by the ignominious but lucrative ‘Opium Wars’), the Malay peninsula, the Dutch East Indies and Australia became increasingly important.

In order to facilitate communication and trading with its western and southern neighbours, the secular and religious authorities of the Philippines agreed that it would be advantageous to abolish the American day reckoning and adopt the Asian day reckoning.

This was achieved in 1844 when Narciso Claveria, the governor general of the Philippines, issued a proclamation announcing that Monday, 30 December 1844, was to be immediately followed by Wednesday, 1 January 1845.

The 1867 conversion from Russian to American time in Alaska was much more complicated.


Filed under Mexico, Pacific, Philippines, Spain

5 responses to “Missing Date in Philippines History: 31 December 1844

  1. But when I saw the Philippine calendar in 1844, there is December 31 in that year.

    • I just learned that Philippine calendar in 1844 is really wrong in timeanddate.com

      • @noel d. garcia

        timeanddate.com is just faithful in presenting the right figure and number of days in the calendar, especially in 1844.

        But, the whole website acknowledges the event that happened in the Philippines, losing New Year’s Eve on December 31, 1844, which was ordered to be skipped entirely.

        The real reason was the trade and logistics of the Philippines within its neighboring countries and territories in Asia after Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821. And the Mexican War of Independence which began in 1815 led to an end of the historically famed “Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade” which lasted to 250 years from 1565 until 1815.

        The Philippines was one day behind its Asian Neighbors, and the time zone discrepancy of the Philippines affects the trading system with China and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

        When the Chinese have to do business on Mondays, the Filipinos and the Spaniards are still conducting church attendance, while chilling, and resting on Sundays. And when already weekends in China on Saturdays and resting after a 5-day long working week, the Philippines still conducts business on Fridays.

        In order to fix the problem. On August 16, 1844, the newly-appointed Governor-General at that time Narciso Claveria y Zaldua issued an order to reform the Philippine calendar and realign it with the rest of Asia and the world by removing Tuesday, December 31, 1844. Then it happened that Monday, December 30, 1844, was immediately followed by Wednesday, January 1, 1845.

        Imagine, the Philippine calendar was one day behind for 323 years, 9 months, and 2 weeks before the rest of the world mentioned it in 1884 within the official and formal establishment of the International Date Line at Washington D.C.

  2. And I just hope that Philippine calendar for the year 1844 be corrected.

  3. Nelson Ferrer

    Because the team of Ferdinand Magellan and Sebastian Elcano got tricked by the unknown International Date Line. When they arrived back in the Iberian Peninsula (which contains Spain and Portugal). The team of Sebastian Elcano kept their expedition record ended on June 9, 1522, but when they ask a local resident they’ve got surprised. A resident told them that was already June 10th. So, they probably lose a day during their sailing.

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