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League is a unit of distance long common in Europe and Latin America, although no longer an official unit in any nation.

The league expresses the distance a person, or a horse, can walk in 1 hour of time (usually about 3 miles or 5 kilometres).

Different definitions

The league was used by Ancient Rome, which defined it as being 3 miles. The origin is the Persian parasang which came to the Romans via the Greek.

The Spanish League or Legua was originally set as a fixed unit of distance of 5000 varas, about 2.6 miles or 4.2 km. Officially the league was abolished by Philip II of Spain in 1568, but it is still in use unofficially in parts of Latin America, with exact meaning varying in different countries.

In Argentina a league is a distance of 5 km.

In Brazil the league has fallen into disuse, but it used to be described as equivalent to 6 km.

In Yucatan and 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 French lieue exists in several variants, all in the neighborhood of 4 km. Its use overlapped the metric system for a while but is now long discontinued. The nautical league was worth 3 nautical miles.

Use in fiction

The seven-league boots are a magical prop in European folk tales. Jules Verne named a novel about Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, entitled Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

See also

League also refers to an administrative division in Inner Mongolia. See League (Inner Mongolia).

League is also a term used to denote a collective entity. A league can be:

Last updated: 02-26-2005 04:53:46