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  • This is Samoa.

  • Samoa is an independent island country in the Pacific lying about 1,700 miles North

  • of New Zeawait a minutethis is Samoa.

  • Samoa is an independent island country in the Pacific lying about 1,700 miles North

  • of New Zealand and in 2011, it didn't have a December 30th.

  • But first some boring history.

  • Between the 15th and early 20th century, a bunch of European countries got really into

  • claiming and colonizing all the non-Europe parts of the world.

  • You might have even heard of a few of these former colonies like the United States, Brazil,

  • and Australia.

  • Samoa, being so isolated, was colonized relatively late in 1900 when the Germans came along.

  • This period of German rule was actually fairly productive for the nation during which time

  • they saw significant economic development.

  • In 1914, however, this rule came to an end since Germany was having some, um, issues

  • back home.

  • New Zealand was at the time an independent country but it was still loosely part of the

  • British Empire which meant that it was part of the Allies which meant that Germany was

  • its enemy so, when World War One broke out, they sailed up to Samoa, kindly asked the

  • Germans to leave, and raised the Union Jack on the small island nation.

  • That rule continued until 1961 when Samoa became independent, so there's your historical

  • background, but now for some more background.

  • Samoa is in a bit of an awkward position geographicallyit's almost exactly on the opposite side of the

  • world from Britain.

  • Since Britain invented time, all time zones were more or less established relative to

  • the mean solar time at the Greenwich Observatory in London.

  • At this observatory is the line marking the prime meridian which lays about 334 feet away

  • from actual prime meridianseriously look it upand the exact opposite of this line,

  • the antemeridian, falls just a few hundred miles west of Samoa.

  • This linethe international date lineis supposed to more or less follow that line

  • but it doesn't sort've like how this line is supposed to more or less be funny but it

  • isn't.

  • The international date line is the separation between the timezones that are the furthest

  • behind greenwich mean time and those furthest ahead of greenwich mean time, but each and

  • every country can choose what time it is in their territory.

  • If Iceland decided they wanted the sun to rise at 7pm and set at 7am they couldnot

  • because they control the sun, but because they control the time.

  • Plenty of countries get into time-zone shenanigans because of political reasons.

  • China, for example, only has one time zone as a symbol of unification even though it's

  • as wide as the United States.

  • For this reason, in June, sunrise will be at 7:30 AM in Kashgar, China while it's

  • at 3:30 AM in Harbin, China.

  • North Korea also created an entirely new time zone eight and a half hours ahead of Greenwich

  • in a move that they basically admitted was only to be unique.

  • All the countries around the antemeridian, however, each have to make a choice on whether

  • they want to be ahead of the rest of the world or behind it, and that's a big choice.

  • For much of recent history since even before the Germans came around Samoa has been at

  • GMT -11—three hours behind California.

  • That made it easy to conduct business with the United States which was, at the time,

  • Samoa's biggest trading partner but it made it hard to conduct business with Australia

  • and New Zealand since there were only three overlapping business days each week.

  • On Monday in New Zealand it was Sunday in Samoa while on Friday in Samoa it was Saturday

  • in New Zealand.

  • In the past century during New Zealand rule Samoa became culturally and politically closer

  • to Australia and New Zealand than the US and so the prime minister, Tuilaethe prime

  • minster decided to make some changes.

  • There were 23 hours of time change between Samoa and Auckland before 2011 but, just after

  • 11:59 pm on December 29, 2011, the clocks in Samoa advanced to 12 midnight on December

  • 31, 2011 therefore entirely skipping December 30th and putting the country only one hour

  • ahead of Auckland.

  • Unfortunately this meant that they missed out on International Bacon Day that year,

  • but it was all worth it for the sake of getting closer to New Zealand.

  • If you want to get closer to New Zealand, you'll need a flight, but they can get expensive,

  • however there are some tricks you can use to find cheaper flights which you can learn

  • in courses like this very one on

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Why Samoa Skipped December 30, 2011

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    Taka posted on 2020/02/25
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