February 17 in Swedish History
1753: This day becomes the last day of February this year as Sweden decides to transition from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar (which at this time is 11 days ahead of the Julian). Therefore the last 11 days are cut out of February in 1753, which means that the following day is not February 18, but March 1. Many Swedes at the time feel that the state thus steals 11 days out of their lives. The decision to introduce the Gregorian calendar in Sweden was made by the Swedish government in November 1699, however in order to ease into the new style it was also decided to eliminate the leap-day (“skottdagen” in Swedish) during 11 leap-years (“skottår”) between 1700-1740. But because of the Great Northern War, this was forgotten in 1704 and 1708. Sweden thus had its own calendar that didn’t exist anywhere else, ten days after the Gregorian, and one day ahead of the Julian. Finally this was just deemed impractical, so in 1711 King Karl XII decided to go back to the old calendar, which meant an extra leap-day was put it (Friday, February 30 in 1712), which was called “tillökningsdagen” (the add-on day). It wasn’t until 1753 that the decision to take the step into the new calendar was taken.

The new calendar was in Sweden referred to as “nya stilen” (the new style), since the Swedes didn’t want any references to popes. The time before March 1, 1753 was referred to as “gamla stilen” (the old style). People who were born on one side of the shift in 1753 and died on the other therefore lived 11 days less than what their papers suggest.

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