See also: legger.
In South Africa, 19 – 20ᵗʰ centuries, a unit of capacity, = 127 imperial gallons, approximately 153 U.S. gallons or 577 liters.1,2 A century earlier at the Cape of Good Hope the leaguer = 4 aimes = 388 kannen.
The leaguer was also the name of a long cask with the above capacity, used for the lower tier of water casks in ships, beneath another type of cask called a “rider.”
The name is an anglicization of the Dutch legger.⁴
According to Martin⁵, writing around 1904, “There are no casks of this size; a leaguer is merely a quantity often spoken of. Thus, if a Farmer said he had 1 leaguer of brandy for sale, the Spirit Merchant would send 2 hhds. [hogsheads] perhaps holding 133 gals. or more) to fetch it.” Certainly at one time casks with this capacity existed, but perhaps not in South Africa by 1900. What Martin calls hogsheads would apparently have been referred to 50 years earlier as half leggers.
1. United Nations, 1966.
2. Technical Conversion Factors…, 1972, page 305.
3. Edward Nicholson.
Men and Measures; a history of weights and measures, ancient and modern.
London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1912.
4. Doursther 1840, page 207.
5. Alfred J. Martin.
Up-to-date Tables of Imperial, Metric, Indian and Colonial Weights and Measures…
London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1904.
In Ceylon, 18ᵗʰ – 19ᵗʰ centuries, a unit of liquid capacity = 150 imperial gallons. Also called a legger.
Robert Montgomery Martin.
History of the Colonies of the British Empire in the West Indies, South America, North America, Asia...
London: W. H. Allen & Co. and George Routledge, 1843.
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Last revised: 3 April 2011.