In England, a unit of distance, probably introduced by the Norman invaders and derived from the Gallic leuca. In the 12ᵗʰ – 13ᵗʰ centuries it was equal to 12 furlongs, not much bigger than the Gallic unit, but lengthened in the 14ᵗʰ century to 2 miles. From the 15ᵗʰ – 19ᵗʰ centuries it grew to = 3 (statute) miles, which is the present value in the United States and many other English-speaking countries.



Unde 5 pedes faciunt passum, et 125 passus faciunt stadium; et 8 stadia faciunt mileare Anglicum; et 16 stadia faciunt miliare Gallicum, quod vocant Gallici unam leucam.

Thus 5 pedes make a passum, and 125 passus make a stadia, and 8 stadia make an English mile, and 16 stadia make a Gallic mile, which the Gauls call a leuca.

Nota quod tria grana ordei.
Reg. 13D. I, f. 248.   14ᵗʰ century. See Hall and Nicholas, page 7.

This passage is a good illustration of how furlongs became confused with stadia. For the consequences, see mile.


The nautical league, also known as the geographical league, 18ᵗʰ – 19ᵗʰ century = 3 nautical miles. Different nautical leagues arise from the various nautical miles:


In Texas, the league is a unit of land area, an anglicization of the Spanish legua, = 25,000,000 square varas (4,428.402 acres). Until 1836, land grants to emigrants were in leagues, afterwards in acres:

Size of land grants to emigrants to Texas
Date of arrival Head of family Single
before March 2, 1836 1 league + 1 labor 1/3 league
before August 1, 1836, if the person
served a tour of duty and
was honorably discharged
1 league + 1 labor 1/3 league
July 31, 1836 to July 31, 1837 1,280 acres 640 acres
August 1, 1837 to December 31, 1841 640 acres 320 acres

For its history, see vara.

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