- League (unit)
A league is a unit of
lengthor arealong common in Europeand Latin America, although no longer an official unit in any nation. The league most frequently expresses the distance a person, or a horse, can walk in 1 hourof time (usually about 3.5 miles or 5.5 kilometres).
The English-speaking world
In English units over the past couple of centuries or so, the league was most often considered to be 3
miles, or about 4.8 to 5.6 km, depending on the mile being used – most commonly either the nautical mile(1852 m) or the statute mile (now 1609.344 m, but varying slightly through history). However, English language usage also includes use of this word for any of the various leagues mentioned below (e.g., in discussing the Treaty of Tordesillas).
The league was used in
Ancient Rome, defined as 1.5 Roman miles (7,500 Roman feet, 2.2 km, 1.4 mi.). The origin is the "leuga gallica" "(also: leuca Gallica)", the league of Gaul.:"See also: Ancient Roman units of measurement."
The Argentinian league ("legua") is Convert|5.572|km|mi|sigfig=4|abbr=on or 6,666 "varas": 1 "vara" is Convert|0.83|m|in|abbr=on. ["Espasa-Calpe Dictionary", Argentina and Mexico Edition 1945: headword "Legua"]
Brazil and Portugal
Portugal, Braziland other territories of the former Portuguese Empirethere were several units called league (Portuguese: "légua"):
* "Légua" of 18 by degree, equivalent to 6,172.4
* "Légua" of 20 by degree, equivalent to 5,555.56 metres (maritime "légua")
* "Légua" of 25 by degree, equivalent to 4,444.44 metresAs a transitory measure, after Portugal adopted the metrical system, the metric "légua", equivalent to 5.0 km, was established.
Brazil, "légua" is still used occasionally in the country, where it has been described as equivalent to 6.6 km, approximately.
The French "lieue" – at different times – existed in several variants: 10,000, 12,000, 13,200 and 14,400 French feet, about 3.25 km to about 4.68 km. Its use overlapped the metric system for a while but is now long discontinued.
French units of measurement".
Yucatanand other parts of rural Mexico, the league is still commonly 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.
The Spanish League or "legua" was originally set as a fixed unit of distance of 5,000 varas ( 0.82 m each ), about 2.6 miles or 4.2 km. Officially the league was abolished by
Philip II of Spainin 1568, but it is still in use unofficially in parts of Latin America, with exact meaning varying in different countries.
In the early Hispanic settlement of
New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado, a league was also a unit of area, defined as being equal to 25,000,000 square varas or approximately 4428.4 acres.cite web | url = http://www.ghostseekers.com/Conversions.htm | title = Land Measurement Conversion Guide | format = HTML| author = Vikki Gray | publisher = Vikki Gray | date = 1998-12-24| accessdate = 2007-06-04] 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.
Use in fiction
seven-league bootsare a magical prop in European folk tales.
fantasyauthors have used the league to measure distances in their work. One example is A Song of Ice and Fireby George R. R. Martin.
Jules Verneused this unit in the title of 2 novels:
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"
Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon"
J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, are expressed in leagues, as being equivalent to a unit (the "lár") used by the people who appear in the story.
The Belgariadand The Malloreanby David Eddingsare expressed in leagues.
Medieval weights and measuresfor various definitions of the league.
Li (unit), a Chinese unit of length (considerably shorter than a league).
Obsolete Spanish and Portuguese units of measurement
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