10th August 1675 – Royal Observatory, Greenwich

In 1675 King Charles II commissioned the Royal Observatory. The foundation stone was laid on the 10th August 1675 at Greenwich (prounced GREN-itch).

Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Royal Observatory, Greenwich

The King also created the position of Astronomer Royal. John Flamsteed was the first to hold that post.

The purpose of the post was to:

apply himself with the most exact care and diligence to the rectifying of the tables of the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so much desired longitude of places for the perfecting of the art of navigation.

Hence the term Greenwich Meridian or Prime Meridian, the starting point for measuring longitude.

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