US vs. European Date Notation

Markus Kuhn Markus.Kuhn at
Fri Jan 29 23:26:02 UTC 1999

May be someone on this list has some insight about this topic:

A journalist of the Wall Street Journal has contacted me as part of his
research for a feature article about date notations. He noted that more
and more Americans now start to use the European day, month, year
notation instead of the traditional month, day, year, and he now
realizes that thanks to ISO 8601 all this is moving into the wrong
direction anyway.

He would be very interested into any pointers of the history of these
three date notations, and actually I am quite interested as well. Why do
Americans write dates as "December 31, 1999" while Europeans write "31
December 1999", etc.? Why are in East Asia Bigendian dates more common?


Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK
Email: mkuhn at,  WWW: <>

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