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Entry mile in Meyers Konversations-Lexikon , 5th edition, 1896

The mile is a unit of length outside of the International System of Units .

The most common units today are the nautical mile (1852.0 meters) and the English statute mile (1609.344 meters). In Germany, the German mile or land mile (7532.5 meters) and the geographic mile (7420.44 meters, defined as the fifteenth part of an equatorial degree) were valid until the late 19th century . In the pre-metric-metric transition period, a German mile of 7,500.0 meters was also calculated.

Before the conversion to the metric system (in most countries around 1840–1870) there were around 60 definitions in Europe alone with lengths between 1.5 and 11 kilometers.


In the Roman Empire , five foot lengths (Latin pes ) corresponded to the length of a double step (Latin passus ), i.e. a full cycle of steps consisting of two successive steps. A thousand double steps were referred to as the mille passus “a thousand steps” (singular, one mile) or milia passuum “thousands of steps” (plural, several miles); the Roman mile was therefore around 1.5 km. From the abbreviated form milia , the word “die Meile” originated in German (from neuter plural became feminine singular), in other languages mil, miil, mijl, mila, milja or mile. The milestone (lat. Lapis milliarium or miliarium for short ) indicated distances from now on.

The most common old English mile was called the London mile, the new British mile or statute mile. It was the basis of horse racing , and it was at this distance that the Epsom Derby was held in 1780. Around 1784 the distance was increased one and a half times, and it is still run today.

In the German-speaking area, the country mile and the geographic mile were common. Unlike the English mile, which with its 1.6 km is roughly the same as the Roman mile, the German country mile and the geographic mile corresponded to around 7.5 km.

The unit of length leuge , formerly used in Europe and Latin America , is occasionally translated as “mile”, for example in the title of Jules Verne's novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea .

Many miles and related units (leuge, league, legua) were specified as simple multiples of an arc minute of the equator or a meridian . The historically diverse nautical miles are all in the range of a minute of arc. The German geographic mile was also defined as the fifteenth part of an equatorial degree.

1929 was agreed internationally to the now commonly used in shipping and aviation for distances mile , English nautical mile, NM abbreviated.

In 1959 the length differences existing in the English-speaking countries were abolished by international agreement, since then the English mile , country mile or statute mile has been used in Anglo-American countries , for example in the unit miles per hour (mph = miles per hour ).


Length (m) designation place from to definition Remarks
0500 Li , Chinese mile China −2100 today 1500 Chi (Chinese feet) Before 1984 between 323 m and 645 m depending on the ruler
01000 (for comparison) international since the end of the 18th century today 1 kilometer ≈ 1/10000 of the earth's meridian quadrant
01482 mille passus , miliarium Roman Empire Old weights and measures (Roman antiquity)
01486.6 Miglio Sicily
01500 persian mile Persia Old weights and measures (Persia)
01524 London Mile England Old weights and measures (England)
01609.3426 (statute) mile Great Britain 1592 1959 1760 yards In the course of time, the length of a yard changed several times and thus also the mile built on it, initially English and finally from 1824 imperial mile. The "Statute Mile" was introduced in 1592 during the reign of Elisabeth I.
01609,344 mile international 1959 today 1760 yards On July 1, 1959, the Anglo-American units of length , which differ worldwide, were standardized. The length in meters is exact.
01609,3472 (survey) mile United States 1893 today 1760 (survey) yards Since it was unified in 1959, it has been referred to as the "US Survey Mile" , since then its only use has been land surveying, previously this was the regular mile and was also known as the "statute mile". From 1893 the exact length in meters is: 1760 3600/3937.
01653.6 Miglio toscano Tuscany 1782 1861 2833⅓ Braccio da Panno Traditionally 3000 Braccio da Terra ; see old dimensions and weights (Tuscany)
01807 Scots mile Scotland 1824 (320 if ) Old weights and measures (Scotland)
01820 Italy
01852 Mile , nautical mile international today 1852 meters The unit of length commonly used in shipping , aviation and meteorology ( wind speed ) was measured on the great circle of 40,000 km and corresponded to 1 arc minute there. Derived directly from the meter since 1992. Abbreviation: NM, nm (also sm in German).
01852.3 (for comparison) 1 meridian minute
01853,181 nautical mile Turkey
01855.4 (for comparison) 1 equatorial minute Although the NM was defined on the basis of the minute, there is a deviation from the equatorial minute, since at that time the equatorial circumference could only be determined approximately at 40,000 km.
02065 Portugal
02220 Gallo-Roman Leuge Gallo-Roman culture 1.5 miles Under the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus , from which it replaced the Roman mile as the official measure of length in the Gallic and Germanic provinces , sometimes differing in time and region.
02470 Sardinia, Piedmont
02880 Ireland
03780 Flanders
03898 French Lieue (Postleuge) France 2000 body lengths
04000 general or metric lie
04000 Legua Guatemala
04190 Legua Mexico = 2500 Tresas = 5000 Varas
04444.8 Landleuge 1/25 ° of a longitude
04452.2 lieue commune France Old Weights and Measures (France) This measure refers to 20,000 miles under the sea .
04513 Legua Paraguay
04513 Legua Chile, (Guatemala, Haiti) = 36 Cuadros = 5400 Varas
04808 Switzerland Old weights and measures (Switzerland)
04828 english land league (Landleuge) England 3 miles
Germanic Rasta, also "double eye"
05000 légua nova Portugal
05196 Legua Bolivia = 40 Ladres
05152 Legua Argentina Argentina, Buenos Aires = 6000 varas
05154 Legua Uruguay
05200 Bolivian Legua Bolivia
05370 Legua Venezuela
05500 Portuguese Legua Portugal
05510 Legua Ecuador
05510 Ecuadorian Legua Ecuador
05532.5 Landleuge Prussia Old weights and measures (Prussia)
05540 Legua Honduras
05556 Soul eye 1/20 ° of a longitude
3 nautical miles
05570 Legua Spain and Chile Old weights and measures (Spain)
05572 Legua Colombia = 3 millas
05572.7 Legua Peru = 20,000 feet
05572.7 Legua antigua
old Legua
Spain = 3 millas = 15,000 feet
05590 Légua Brazil = 5000 Varas = 2500 Bracas
05600 Brazilian Legua Brazil
05840 dutch mile Holland
06197 legua antiga Portugal = 3 Milhas = 24 Estadios
06277 Luxembourg
06280 Belgium
06687.24 Legua nueva
new Legua, since 1766
Spain = 8000 varas
06797 Surveyor's Mile Saxony
07400 Netherlands Old weights and measures (Netherlands)
07409 (for comparison) 4 meridian minutes
07419.2 Kingdom of Hanover Old weights and measures (Hanover)
07419.4 Duchy of Brunswick
Bavaria Old weights and measures (Bavaria)
07420,439 Geographic mile
(corrected) German geographic mile
Denmark , Hamburg , Prussia 1/15 equatorial degree
07421.6 (for comparison) 4 equatorial minutes
07448.7 Württemberg
07450 Hohenzollern
07467.6 Russia 7 Werst Old weights and measures (Russia)
07480 Bohemia
07500 small / new post mile Saxony 1840 German Empire , North German Confederation , Grand Duchy of Hesse , Russia
07532.5 German land (es) meile,
Prussian land mile
Denmark , Hamburg , Prussia = 2000 Prussian rods = 24000 Prussian feet (also Berlin feet or Danish feet) For Denmark, defined by Ole Rømer , one German country mile corresponds to 10,000 paces.
07534 Míla á landi Iceland
07585.9 Post mile Austria-Hungary Old weights and measures (Austria)
07850 Romania
08800 Schleswig-Holstein
08888.89 to bathe Old weights and measures (bathing)
09062 middle post or police mile Electorate of Saxony 1722 1840
09206.3 Electorate of Hesse
09261.4 (for comparison) 5 meridian minutes
09264.4 Lippe country mile Lip (country) 1858
09277 (for comparison) 5 equatorial minutes
09323 old country mile Hanover 1836
09347 old country mile Hanover 1836
09869.6 Oldenburg
10,000 metric mile, Scandinavian mile Sweden, Norway Still very common today, e.g. B. for driving routes; corresponds to myriameter .
10044 big mile Westphalia
10670 Finland Old weights and measures (Finland)
10688.54 mil Sweden 1889 Old weights and measures (Sweden)
11113.7 (for comparison) 6 minutes of meridian
11132.4 (for comparison) 6 equatorial minutes
11299 mil Norway Old weights and measures (Norway) , corresponded to 3000 " Rheinlaendischen Ruthen ".

Similar units:

See also

Web links

Wikiquote: Mile  Quotes
Wiktionary: Mile  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Leopold Carl Bleibtreu: Handbook of coin, measure and weight, and the bill of exchange, government paper, banking and shares in European and non-European countries and cities. Published by J. Engelhorn, Stuttgart 1863, p. 332.
  2. Pre-metric units of length
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k Helmut Kahnt: BI-Lexicon old measures, coins and weights . 1st edition. VEB Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1986, p. 380 .
  4. ICAR old map database of the Berlin State Library, map department.
  5. Jugoslavenski leksikografski zavod: Pomorska enciklopedija. Volume 3, Izdanje i naklada Leksikografskog zavoda FNRJ, Zagreb 1956, p. 469.