Where did the mile come from?

The mile was first used by the Romans to measure long distances.  “Mile” is from the Latin “Milia Passuum,” meaning “A thousand paces.”

A mile, as we know, is a unit of measure equal to 5,200 feet.  The mile was first used by the ancient Romans.  “Mile” is from the Latin words “milia passuum,” meaning “1,000 paces.”


The Romans measured their mile in paces, just as you might “step off” a long distance.  The old Roman mile was 5,000 feet, or 1,000 paces (a Roman pace was a double step).

In the 1500s, Englishmen measured distances in 660-foot “furlongs.”  The furlong originally meant the length of one furrow in a plowed field.  So Queen Elizabeth I made the mile 8 furlongs.

Thus the mile became 5,200 feet.  Different miles measure distances on land and on the sea.

On land, miles are called “statute” or “land” miles.

A “sea” or “nautical” mile equals 1.15 land miles.

Many countries today use the kilometer as their mile – their measure for distance.  A kilometer equals 3,200.8 feet, or about 5/8 of land mile. Dick Rogers


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