Mexico
post-conquest, pre-metric units of length

Larger units

         

legua

       

cordel

500

   

estador or braza

5

2500

   

vara

2

10

5000

 

codo

2

4

20

10,000

pie

3

6

30

60,000

27.9 cm

41.8 cm

83.8 cm

1.67 m

8.38 m

4.190 km

10.97 in

16.50 in

32.99 in

1.83 yd

9.15 yd

2.60 mi

Smaller units

       

vara

     

pie

3

   

palmo major or palmo romana

?

?

palmo

?

3

4

palmo menor

3

?

9

12

pulgada

3

9

?

12

36

 

dedo

1 1/3

4

12

?

16

48

línea

9

12

36

108

?

144

432

punto

12

108

144

432

1296

?

1728

5184

0.16
mm

1.9
mm

1.75
cm

2.33
cm

6.98
cm

20.95
cm

(22.18
cm)

27.9
cm

83.8
cm

0.006
in

0.076
in

0.69
in

0.916
in

2.75
in

8.25
in


in

10.97
in

32.99
in

Note on the palmo: Manuel Carrera Stampa distinguishes between the palmo and palmo mayor, but his table is internally inconsistent and cannot be correct. The Mexican unit called the palmo has the same magnitude and subdivisions as the palmo mayor of Spain, leaving one to wonder what the Mexican palmo mayor is. We have listed the palmo mayor with the magnitude Stampa gives. Perhaps a reader can throw some light on this problem. Apparently the palmo, though inherited from Spain, was not much used in Mexico.

Manuel Carrera Stampa.
Robert S. Smith, trans.
The Evolution of Weights and Measures in New Spain.
The Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 29, no. 1, pages 2-24 (Feb. 1949).

Other divisions of the dedo

   

dedo

 

paja

3

grano

1 1/3

4

4.4 mm

5.8 mm

1.75 cm

X

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