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This page, Wikipedia:UuU (originally in the main namespace as UuU), contains the earliest surviving edit on the English Wikipedia (and hence any Wikipedia and project in the Wikimedia Foundation), which was made on January 16, 2001 at 20:08 UTC. The static version and URL of the edit itself may be found in the of this page.
In December 2010, earlier archives were discovered by Tim Starling, though many of these edits are not present in Wikipedia page histories. The earliest edit found in these archives was made to HomePage, which read "This is the new WikiPedia!" The first article created was WikiPedia.
UuU was created as a CamelCase hack to create a link to an article that would otherwise be named 'U'. Such an article name was impossible due to the UseModWiki software in use at the time. The software only rendered CamelCased words as article links rather than rendering double-bracketed phrases as links (it did not support free links), and so the shortest possible article name was three letters long: a capital letter, followed by at least one lowercase letter, followed by at least one capital letter. The first UuU edit survived because between the time that it was created and Wikipedia's conversion to the Phase II software.
* UnitedKingdom * [[United States]] * Uruguay
The first line would have been rendered as a link, and the second one was changed automatically by the UseModWiki software, since the free links feature did not exist when that edit was made. The edit's second line originally contained "UnitedStates" (without brackets). The article was intended to help fill out an alphabetical list of countries. Roger Browne, who made the original edit, explained further:
Someone had already set up some categories (taken from Nupedia I think), one of which was 'Countries' and included unlinked entries for the letters A-Z. Someone had created a stub for United_States, so I added it to the index.
— Roger Browne, UuU Talk page
This shows that UuU was not the first edit ever (United States had already been created), but definitely one of the first made. In December 2008, Jimmy Wales , a test edit with the text "Hello, World!".