|Spanish||English||Length in pies||Length in SI|
There are a number of Spanish units of measurement of length or area that are virtually obsolete due to metrication. They include the vara, the cordel, the league and the labour. The units of area used to express the area of land are still encountered in some transactions in land today.
A vara (meaning "rod" or "pole", abbreviation: var) is an old Spanish unit of length. Varas are a surveying unit that appear in many deeds in the southern United States, and varas were also used in many parts of Latin America. It varied in size at various times and places; the Spanish unit was set at about 835.905 mm (32.91 in) in 1801. In Argentina, the vara measured about 866 mm (34.1 in), and typical urban lots are 8.66 m (28.41 ft) wide (10 Argentine varas). At some time a value of 33 inches (838.2 mm) was adopted in California.
In Texas, a vara was defined as 33+1⁄3 inches (846.67 mm), or 1 yard = 1.08 vara. The vara and the corresponding unit of area, the square vara, were introduced in the 19th century to measure Spanish land grants. Stephen F. Austin's early surveying contracts required that he use the vara as a standard unit. The vara can be seen in many deeds as late as the mid to late 1900s. 1 acre (0.405 ha) is equivalent to 5,645.376 Texan square varas. A league is equivalent to 5,000 varas squared or 4,428.4 acres (1,792.11 ha).
Standardisation of measurement in Texas came with the introduction of varas, cordeles, and leagues.
A measure of 100 by 100 varas (Spanish) is almost 7000 square meters, and is known traditionally throughout Spain and Latin America as a manzana (i.e., a "city block"). As well, lumber is still measured in Costa Rica using a system based on 4 vara, or 11 feet, for both round and square wood. With square wood, using inches, the width is multiplied by the depth to get a measurement called pulgadas, or inches. The lumber is charged 'per inch', which is a measurement of 2.2 litres (11⁄12 board foot).
The labour (// in West Texas) is a unit of area, used to express an area of land, that is equal to 1 million square varas. A labor is equivalent to about 177.1 acres (71.67 ha). It was used in the archaic system of old Spanish land grants affecting Texas and parts of adjoining states. The labor is often used as an approximate equivalent to a quarter-section (that is, one quarter of a square mile of land). It is still encountered in modern real estate transactions.
A league can also be a unit of area, used to express the area of land, that is equal to 25 million square varas. A (square) league is equivalent to about 4,428.4 acres (1,792.11 ha). It was used in the archaic system of old Spanish land grants affecting Texas and parts of adjoining states and this use of league is used throughout the Texas Constitution.
A common Texas land grant size, discussed in James A. Michener's Texas, was a "labor and a league": a labor of good riparian land and a (square) league of land away from the river.
The (square) league is still encountered in modern real estate transactions.
The palmo ("palm") measured the distance between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the little finger with all fingers splayed. Its standardized value is 20.873 cm (8.2177 in) (9 pulgadas). Half of a palmo in Castile was called the coto, described as six fingers and defined as 10.4365 cm (4.10886 in). The ancient Romans had a similar, smaller unit called the palmus, which was 7.3925 cm (2.91043 in).
Although some standardisation was achieved with the law of 1801, particularly in defining the league as 6666+2⁄3 varas long, varying measures continued to be used in various cities and regions.
|(Media) Cántara or
|Canary Islands||0.842||0.460||5.08 (Santa Cruz)
5.34 (Las Palmas)
|31.33 (Santa Cruz)|
|A Coruña||0.843||0.575||15.58 (wine)