Ever wondered why some countries are 30 or 45 minutes off of the global time zone? In

2007 Venezuela joined a unique group of nations that function on a fractional time zone,

but how? The country’s then president, Hugo Chavez, decided to shift the country into

its own unique time zone by moving the clocks back. The motivation for his decision

remains a debate but Venezuela is not alone, they joined the likes of India, Iran,

Afghanistan, Burma, Sri Lanka along with parts of Australia and Canada. Even more

unique are the Chatham Islands located east of New Zealand; they are 45 minutes out

of sync with the global standardized time!

To understand how a nation can create its own time let us look back at its inception,

after all, the way we view time today and the standardization of time is a fairly new

manmade creation. Time zones were born in the 1830-40s prompted by the industrial

revolution and the invention of the railways. Prior to the onset of rapid transportation

each country would calculate their own midday dependent upon the position of the sun

called local mean time. This created confusion as those traveling via train would need

to be aware of each city’s local time. So began the creation of Greenwich Mean Time

(GMT) later known as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

So why change the clocks a mere 30 or 45 minutes? The answer depends on who you

ask. There are those that see these decisions as a Presidents method of proclaiming

their power or even to help strengthen or shift alliances, perhaps a way to rebel again

what has been internationally accepted. Or as proclaimed in 2007 by Venezuela’s then

President Hugo Chavez for the betterment of the citizens “We are temporal beings, we

are physically affected by the seasons, light and dark and the changing lunar cycles and

yet we are… more and more disconnected from those natural cycles.” Whatever your

opinion, it is more than evident that time remains malleable which can be changed at

any moment. Perhaps tomorrow you will wake up with an extra two hours… Anything is

possible!