Year 4 History and Geography

history and geography owl

What is a century?

How do we know when things happened in the past? We read on page 122 about the way in which we use B.C. and A.D. to describe things that happened either before or after the birth of Jesus Christ. But suppose we want to be more exact about when things happened? Then we talk about the century they happened in.

A century is a hundred years long. On page 257 we learn that the letter that the Romans used to show 100 was C, because the Latin word for a hundred is centum. But how do we know which century is which? This sounds strange, but the ordinal number of the century always sounds like it's one ahead of the first one or two numbers in the exact date! So, the dates 1603, 1642 and 1688 were all in the seventeenth century. Do you remember the date of the Norman Conquest? It was 1066 in the eleventh century. King John agreed to Magna Carta in 1215 in the thirteenth century. In which century was 1776? Or 1851? Which century are we in now?

what is a century

This activity is adapted from page 119 of What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.