A league is a unit of length. It was common in Europe and Latin America, but is no longer an official unit in any nation. The word originally meant the distance a person could walk in an hour.Since the Middle Ages, many values have been specified in several countries.
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.
The league was used in Ancient Rome, defined as 1 1⁄2 Roman miles (7,500 Roman feet, modern 2.2 km or 1.4 miles). The origin is the leuga Gallica(also: leuca Gallica), the league of Gaul.
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.
Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age that was inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2 (191,000 sq mi). According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica, and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar finally subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC.
The Argentine league (legua) is 5.572 km (3.462 mi) or 6,666 varas: 1 vara is 0.83 m (33 in).
On land, the league is most commonly defined as three miles, though the length of a mile could vary from place to place and depending on the era. At sea, a league is three nautical mile s (3.452 miles; 5.556 kilometres). English usage also included many of the other leagues mentioned below (for example, in discussing the Treaty of Tordesillas).
The mile is an English unit of length of linear measure equal to 5,280 feet, or 1,760 yards, and standardised as exactly 1,609.344 metres by international agreement in 1959.
A nautical mile is a unit of measurement used in both air and marine navigation, and for the definition of territorial waters. Historically, it was defined as one minute of a degree of latitude. Today it is defined as exactly 1852 metres. The derived unit of speed is the knot, one nautical mile per hour.
The Treaty of Tordesillas, signed at Tordesillas in Spain on June 7, 1494, and authenticated at Setúbal, Portugal, divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between the Portuguese Empire and the Crown of Castile, along a meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands, off the west coast of Africa. This line of demarcation was about halfway between the Cape Verde islands and the islands entered by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage, named in the treaty as Cipangu and Antilia.
The French lieue – at different times – existed in several variants: 10,000, 12,000, 13,200 and 14,400 French feet, about 3.25 to 4.68 km (2.02 to 2.91 miles). It was used along with the metric system for a while but is now long discontinued.
Mesures usuelles were a system of measurement introduced by Napoleon I in 1812 to act as compromise between the metric system and traditional measurements. The system was restricted to use in the retail industry and continued in use until 1839.
Metric lieue was used in France from 1812 to 1840, 1 lieue (metric) = 4000 m (E).
As used in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, a league is four kilometres.
Perhaps in some rural parts of Mexico, the league is still used in the original sense of the distance that can be covered on foot in an hour, so that a league along a good road on level ground is a greater distance than a league on a difficult path over rough terrain.
In Portugal, Brazil and other parts of the former Portuguese Empire, there were several units called league (Portuguese: légua ):
The names of the several léguas referred to the number of units that made the length corresponding to an angle degree of a meridian arc.
As a transitory measure, after Portugal adopted the metric system, the metric légua, of 5.0 km, was used.
In Brazil, the légua is still used occasionally, where it has been described as about 6.6 km.
The legua or Spanish league was originally understood as equivalent to 3 millas (Spanish miles). This varied depending on local standards for the pie (Spanish foot) and on the precision of measurement, but was officially equivalent to 4,180 meters (2.6 miles) before the legua was abolished by Philip II in 1568. It remains in use in parts of Latin America, where its exact meaning varies.
In the early Hispanic settlements of New Mexico, Texas, California, and Colorado, a league was also a unit of area, defined as 25 million square varas or about 4,428.4 acres.This usage of league is referenced frequently in the Texas Constitution. So defined, a league of land would encompass a square that is one Spanish league on each side.
A comparison of the different lengths for a "league", in different countries and at different times in history, is given in the table below. Miles are also included in this list because of the linkage between the two units.
|Length (m)||Name||Where used||From||To||Definition||Remarks|
|1,482||mille passus, milliarium||Roman Empire||Ancient Roman units of measurement|
|1,609.3426||(statute) mile||Great Britain||1592||1959||1760 yards||Over the course of time, the length of a yard changed several times and consequently so did the English (and, from 1824, Imperial) mile. The statute mile was introduced in 1592 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I|
|1,609.344||mile||international||1959||today||1760 yards||Until July 1, 1959 the imperial mile was a standard length worldwide. The length given in metres is exact.|
|1,609.3472||(statute) mile||United States||1893||today||1760 yards||From 1959 also called the U.S. Survey Mile. From then its only utility has been land survey, before it was the standard mile. From 1893 its exact length in meters was: 3600/ × 1760|
|1,852||nautical mile||international||today||1852 m||Symbol: nmi; Abbreviation: NM|
|1,852.3||(for comparison)||1 meridian minute|
|1,855.4||(for comparison)||1 equatorial minute||Though the NM was defined on the basis of the minute, it varies from the equatorial minute, because at that time people could only estimate the circumference of the equator to be 40,000 km.|
|2,220||Gallo-Roman league||Gallo-Roman culture||1 1⁄2 miles||Under the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus, this replaced the Roman mile as the official unit of distance in the Gallic and Germanic provinces, although there were regional and temporal variations.|
|3,898||French lieue (post league)||France||2000 "body lengths"|
|4,000||general or metric league|
|4,190||legue||Mexico||= 2500 tresas = 5000 varas|
|4,444.8||landleuge||1⁄25° of a circle of longitude|
|4,452.2||lieue commune||France||Units of measurement in France before the French Revolution|
|4,513||legua||Chile, (Guatemala, Haiti)||= 36 cuadros = 5400 varas|
|4,531||Wegstunde||Saxony||1722||1840||1000 Dresden rods||introduced on occasion of a countrywide road survey|
|4,828||English land league||England||3 miles|
|Germanic rasta, also doppelleuge|
|5,196||legua||Bolivia||= 40 ladres|
|5,152||legua argentina||Argentina, Buenos Aires||= 6000 varas|
|5,556||Seeleuge (nautical league)||1⁄20° of a circle of longitude|
3 nautical miles
|5,570||legua||Spain and Chile||Spanish customary units|
|5,572||legua||Colombia||= 3 Millas|
|5,572.7||legue||Peru||= 20,000 feet|
|Spain||= 3 millas = 15,000 feet|
|5,590||légua||Brazil||= 5,000 varas = 2,500 bracas|
|5,685||Fersah (Turkish league)||Ottoman Empire||1933||4 Turkish miles||Derived from Persian Parasang .|
|6,197||légua antiga||Portugal||= 3 milhas = 24 estadios|
new league, since 1766
|Spain||= 8000 Varas|
(state survey mile)
|7,409||(for comparison)||4 meridian minutes|
|7,419.2||Kingdom of Hanover|
|7,419.4||Duchy of Brunswick|
|7,420.439||geographic mile||1⁄15 equatorial grads|
|7,421.6||(for comparison)||4 equatorial minutes|
|7,467.6||Russia||7 werst||Obsolete Russian units of measurement|
|7,500||kleine / neue Postmeile|
(small/new postal mile)
|Saxony||1840||German Empire, North German Confederation, Grand Duchy of Hesse, Russia|
(German state mile)
|Denmark, Hamburg, Prussia||primarily for Denmark defined by Ole Rømer|
|Austria-Hungary||Austrian units of measurement|
|9,062||average Post- or Polizeimeile|
(middle post mile or police mile)
|9,206.3||Electorate of Hesse|
|9,261.4||(for comparison)||5 meridian minutes|
|9,277||(for comparison)||5 equatorial minutes|
(old state mile)
(old state mile)
|10,000||metric mile, Scandinavian mile||Scandinavia||still commonly used today, e.g. for road distances.; equates to the myriameter|
|11,113.7||(for comparison)||6 meridian minutes|
|11,132.4||(for comparison)||6 equatorial minutes|
|11,295||mil||Norway||1889||was equivalent to 3000 Rhenish rods.|
The foot is a unit of length in the imperial and US customary systems of measurement. Since 1959, both units have been defined by international agreement as equivalent to 0.3048 meters exactly. In both systems, the foot comprises 12 inches and three feet compose a yard.
A unit of length refers to any discrete, pre-established length or distance having a constant magnitude which is used as a reference or convention to express linear dimension. The most common units in modern use are U.S. customary units in the United States and metric units elsewhere. British Imperial units are still used for some purposes in the United Kingdom and some other countries. The metric system is sub-divided into SI and non-SI units.
A system of measurement is a collection of units of measurement and rules relating them to each other. Systems of measurement have historically been important, regulated and defined for the purposes of science and commerce. Systems of measurement in use include the International System of Units (SI), the modern form of the metric system, the imperial system, and United States customary units.
The following systems arose from earlier systems, and in many cases utilise parts of much older systems. For the most part they were used to varying degrees in the Middle Ages and surrounding time periods. Some of these systems found their way into later systems, such as the Imperial system and even SI. There were several types to measure that is
The li, also known as the Chinese mile, is a traditional Chinese unit of distance. The li has varied considerably over time but was usually about one third of an English mile and now has a standardized length of a half-kilometer. This is then divided into 1,500 chi or "Chinese feet".
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There are a number of Spanish units of measurement of length or area that are now virtually obsolete. They include the vara, the cordel, the league and the labor. The units of area used to express the area of land are still encountered in some transactions in land today. For example, the 'vara' is still used in Costa Rica when ordering lumber.
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A number of different units of measurement were used in Argentina as its national system was derived from Spanish Castillian. The metric system was legally optional since 1863 and has been compulsory since 1887.
A number different units of measurement were used in Brazil to measure quantities including length, mass, area, and capacity, as those units were derived from Portugal and had significant local variances.
A number of different units of measurement were used in Chile to measure quantities like length, mass, area, capacity, etc. From 1848, the metric system has been compulsory in Chile.
A variety of units of measurement were used in Colombia to measure quantities like length, mass and area. In Colombia, International Metric System has adopted since 1853, and has been compulsory since 1854.
A number of units of measurement were used in Cuba to measure quantities like mass, area, and capacity. In Cuba, Metric system has been compulsory since 1858.
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Several units of measurements were used in Puerto Rico. The metric system has been compulsory since 1860 in Puerto Rico. However, there are exceptions, such as speed limits posted in miles per hour along roadways.
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The klafter is an historical unit of length, volume and area that was used in Central Europe.