vara to leagues

Disscussing old, rare, very specific or otherwise uncommon units and measurements


vara to leagues

Postby rangler » Thu Aug 05, 2004 6:45 am

Looking for the spanish vara lenth, and the conversions to leagues(english any help ? :shock:

Re: vara to leagues

Postby Knight » Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:28 am

rangler wrote:Looking for the spanish vara lenth, and the conversions to leagues(english) any help ?

The Spanish word vara came from Latin and originally meant a long, thin branch of a tree or plant. Over time, the word began referring to a staff, or measuring stick, carried by a government official.

But the measuring sticks were not uniform, and across Spain the vara therefore represented different lengths. In 1536, the Spanish authorities attempted to assign a standard length to the vara, equal to 32.8748 inches. Even so, the vara, sometimes called a Spanish yard, still lacked uniformity across Spain.

Spain settled what is now Texas, and with the Spanish people came their way of measuring distance in varas. From 1519 to 1821, Texas was under Spain's control, and from 1821 to 1836, Texas was under Mexico's control. Most of the land grants were measured using the vara. By the time Texas became an independent republic in 1836, more than 26 million acres had been granted to settlers by Spain and Mexico.

With title to so much land measured in varas, something had to be done to standardize the meaning of the Spanish term. The first commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas decided that a vara should be 33 1/3 inches, or slightly less than a yard. In 1919, that definition was entered into law by the Texas legislature and is still recognized legally. It can be found in both the Texas Natural Resources Code and the Texas Agricultural Code.

Spain also settled other parts of the southern and western United States, and the vara was used in those territories as well. But the length assigned to the vara was not uniform. In California and New Mexico, the vara is 33 inches. In Colorado, it is 32.993 inches, and in Florida it is 33.372 inches.

In other countries, the length of the vara is quite a bit different. In Brazil and Portugal, it is 43.31 inches, while in Colombia and Panama it is 31.5 inches.

All that said, you can use the converter at to convert whichever measurement you decide to use - Just enter the equivalent measurement in inches, and convert that to leagues. Or if you have Leagues, convert it to inches, then divide by the number of inches in the vara you've choosen.
William J. Knight
Health Physicist
Los Alamos National Labs
User avatar
Posts: 309
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 9:43 pm
Location: Los Alamos, NM

Return to Exotic units

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Our Privacy Policy       Cooking Measures Converter       Metric conversions