One of about 3.5 in a league: How to measure distance with an ancient unit

Have you ever wondered how long is a league? Or how many leagues are in a mile? If you are curious about these questions, then this article is for you. In this article, we will explore the origin, definition, and usage of the league as a unit of measurement, and how it relates to the mile, another common unit of distance.

What is a league?

A league is an old unit of measurement that was used to measure distance, especially by sea or land. The word league comes from the Latin word leuga, which means “a furrow” or “a furrow’s length”. According to Crosswordeg, a league was originally defined as the distance a person or a horse could walk in an hour, which varied depending on the terrain and the speed of the walker or the rider.

The league was not a standardized unit, and different countries and regions had different definitions of how long a league was. For example, in ancient Rome, a league was about 2.4 miles or 3.9 kilometers, while in France, a league was about 2.8 miles or 4.5 kilometers. In Spain, a league was about 3.1 miles or 5 kilometers, while in England, a league was about 3.5 miles or 5.6 kilometers. In the United States, a league was about 3 miles or 4.8 kilometers.

How many leagues are in a mile?

Since a league was not a fixed unit, the answer to this question depends on which definition of a league you are using. However, if we use the most common definition of a league as 3 miles, then we can say that there are about 0.33 leagues in a mile, or one league is about 3.5 times longer than a mile. This is the answer to the crossword clue “One of about 3.5 in a league” that appeared in the New York Times on November 17, 2022.

How to use a league to measure distance?

Although the league is not a widely used unit of measurement today, it is still a useful way to estimate distance, especially for historical or literary purposes. For example, if you want to know how far the voyage of Christopher Columbus was from Spain to the Caribbean, you can use the league as a unit of measurement. According to Forbes, Columbus estimated that he sailed about 3,000 leagues, or about 9,000 miles, across the Atlantic Ocean. However, modern calculations show that he actually sailed about 4,000 leagues, or about 12,000 miles, which is about 33% more than his estimate.

Another example of using the league to measure distance is from the classic novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. In this novel, the protagonist Captain Nemo travels around the world in his submarine, the Nautilus, and explores the wonders and mysteries of the ocean. The title of the novel refers to the total distance that the Nautilus travels under the sea, which is about 20,000 leagues, or about 60,000 miles. This is equivalent to about 2.5 times the circumference of the Earth, which is about 24,000 miles.

Conclusion

The league is an ancient unit of measurement that was used to measure distance, especially by sea or land. It was not a standardized unit, and different countries and regions had different definitions of how long a league was. However, the most common definition of a league was 3 miles, which means that there are about 0.33 leagues in a mile, or one league is about 3.5 times longer than a mile. The league is not a widely used unit of measurement today, but it is still a useful way to estimate distance, especially for historical or literary purposes.