Photo: Wikimedia Commons
While parts of the world have already begun to ring in the new year, others will have to wait. But who has to wait the longest?The consensus is that American Samoa, Midway Islands/U.S.A. and Niue will be the last places to welcome 2013 based on the currently established time zones. Howland and Baker Islands are technically have the latest times on earth, but are both uninhabited.
American Samoa and the the independent nation of Samoa lie approximately 80 kilometers away from each other, but will celebrate the new year 23 hours apart. Samoa shifted time zones a year ago Saturday, mostly for economic reasons.
Date line politics can actually be quite controversial, especially when the New Years Eve starts to get closer — mostly regarding which nation can claims it gets to celebrate first. Many debate whether uninhabited islands count, or whether or not locations within the same time zone but slightly more eastern than the others actually can claim they celebrate the holiday first.
The date-line dispute between Kiribati, the Chatham Islands of New Zealand, and a handful of other island nations was especially heated when each side claimed that it would be the first to celebrate the new millennium. Kiribati actually spreads over 2,000 miles, straddling both sides of the time zone. In order to simplify governmental affairs, islands on both sides of the line use time zones on the same side of the date line in a 1995 realignment. However, many countries and organisations do not recognise Kiribati’s ‘bending’ of the dateline for geographical reasons. See the map below to check out why:
View New Years 2013 in a larger map
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