mão [Portuguese]


In Portugal the primary meaning of the word is “hand”, hence also handful. “Ream of paper” is said to be another meaning, but we do not know how many sheets were considered a mão.


In parts of India under Portuguese influence, 16ᵗʰ century, a unit of capacity, varying by location and commodity.

Locale Commodity Equivalents Value
Bengala little port butter = 21 1/3 canadas
(weighs 2 arrobas)
29.86 L
oil = 30 canadas 42.0 L
big port butter and oil = 16 canadas
(weighs 48 arrateis)
22.40 L
Dio butter & oil = 8¼ canadas
weighs 24¾ arrateis
11.55 L
Goa oil = 12 canadas 16.80 L
butter = 8 canadas 11.20 L
wheat & rice = 1/20 candil = 24 medidas 12.25


In parts of India under Portuguese influence, 16ᵗʰ century, a unit of mass, in Goa about 11.01 kilograms.

At Hormuz: opens a new page containing a chart that shows relationships between this unit and other units in its system

The basic source for meanings 2 and 3 is Amtonio Nunez (1544).

for further reading

K[uzhippalli] S[karia] Mathew.
Portuguese Trade with India in the sixteenth century.
New Delhi: Manohar, 1983.

Page 236.

Afzal Ahmed.
Indo-Portuguese Trade in Seventeenth Century (1600-1663).
New Delhi: Gian Publishing House, 1991.

Page 198. Ahmed does not break out his sources for individual units, but most of his sources are codices held by the Historical Archives of Goa in Panaji.

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