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BCE is an abbreviation for "Before the Common Era". It is often used in English-speaking and Catholic-influenced cultures to denote the count of years before the traditional reckoning of the birth of Jesus. The BCE counting system for years is equivalent to that signified by BC ("Before Christ"). Year 1 BCE refers to the first year before Year 1 CE and Year 2 BCE to the second year before 1 CE. There is no year zero between years BCE and years CE. When the term BCE is used, it is usually placed after the numerical year rather than before. Thus both BC 100 and 100 BC are rendered "100 BCE".

The use of BCE to replace BC is usually advocated on the grounds that the counting of years in relation to the birth of Jesus is biased too strongly in the service of Christianity.

Christians, however, sometimes interpret "BCE" to mean "Before the Christian Era" and "CE" to mean "Christian Era". The terms CE and BCE are therefore usually uncontroversial.

See Also CE, Anno Domini ("A.D.")

Other Meanings BCE is the abbreviation in Romance languages for the European Central Bank.

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