In the United States, 19th–20th centuries, an area of land equal to 36 square miles = 36 sections = 23,040 acres, two sides running due north-south, and the other two at right angles, “as nearly as may be.” Strictly speaking, a township was not required to be “six miles on a side” if an Indian reservation, land previously surveyed or patented, or a navigable river made such a square impractical.

The township was first defined by an act of 20 May 1785. It was used for laying out the western territories.

United States Revised Statutes, 2395 (a1877).

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