A Land Pacer Doing His JobA Land Pacer  Conquest League Measure



by Donald E. Sheppard


League
A traditional unit of distance. Derived from an ancient Celtic unit and adopted by the Romans as the leuga, the league became a common unit of measurement throughout western Europe. It was intended to represent, roughly, the distance a person could walk in an hour.

Legua
The Spanish league. The traditional legua is equal to 5000 varas (paces), which is close to 2.6 miles or 4.2 kilometers. Using traditional Spanish definition, it would be 2.6 statute miles, 13714 feet, or 4180 meters.

CONQUEST LEAGUE MEASURE
LEAGUES
1/2
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10  
11  
12  
13  
14  
15  
16  
17  
18  
19  
20  
30  
40  
50  
100    
  MILES  
 1.3
 2.6
 5.2
 7.8
10.4
13.0
15.6
18.2
20.8
23.4
26.0
28.6
31.2
33.8
36.4
39.0
41.6
44.2
46.8
49.4
52.0
78.0
104    
130    
260     
  KMs 
 2.1
 4.2
 8.4
12.6
16.8
21.0
25.2
29.4
33.6
37.8
42.0
46.2
50.4
54.6
58.8
63.0
67.2
71.4
75.6
79.8
84.0
126    
168    
210    
420     

                  EXAMPLE:
      154 Leagues = 100+50+4 Leagues
       = 260+130+10 Miles = 400 Miles
           = 420+210+21 KM = 651 KMs


HERNANDO DE SOTO'S LEAGUE

Hernando de Soto's Chroniclers described his activity in North America using Leagues as their standard of distance measure. But what unit of League measure did DeSoto's people use? Perhaps the best way to find out is by applying their league measures to known locations in Cuba, the island DeSoto inspected just before his Conquest of Florida.


DeSoto's Island of Cuba
DESOTO's ISLAND OF CUBA - PRESS TO VIEW ON GOOGLE EARTH


The TRUE RELATION OF THE HARDSHIPS SUFFERED BY GOVERNOR HERNANDO DE SOTO BY A GENTLEMAN OF ELVAS - 1557 sheds light on this. "A GENTLEMAN OF ELVAS," who was with DeSoto, states the following about his army in Cuba:

"The island of Cuba is three hundred leagues in extent from west to southeast, and in some places thirty, and in others forty, leagues from north to south...

[Cuba measures 750 miles along its axis on Google Earth,
so 750 miles/300 leagues = 2.5 miles per league]

"From Santiago, the governor sent Don Carlos, his brother-in-law in the ships, together with Dona Isabel with orders to await him at the Havana... one hundred and eighty leagues from the city of Santiago...

[There are 467 miles from Santiago to Havana on Google Earth,
so 467 miles/180 leagues = 2.6 miles per league]

"The governor and those who remained with him bought horses and set out on their journey. The first town at which they arrived was the Bayamo... twenty-five leagues from the city of Santiago...

"From Bayamo to Puerto Principe it is fifty leagues...

"...(they) made their way to Sancti Spiritus, sixty leagues from Puerto Principe...

"They reached Sancti Spiritus... others went on twenty-five leagues farther to another town called Trinidad...

"From that town of Trinidad to Havana, there is a stretch of eighty leagues without a town, which they traveled."

DESTINATIONS
FROM SANTIAGO
Bayamo
Puerto Principe
Sancti Spiritus
Trinidad
Havana
TOTALS:
  LEAGUES

          25
          50
          60
          25
          80
      240
 ROAD MILES

            70
          135
          115
            65
          215
        600
 KILOMETERS

          112
          217
          185
          104
          346
        965

It is 600 ROAD MILES from Santiago to Havana on Google Earth,
so 600 miles/240 leagues = 2.5 miles (10.5 KM) per league

Native American Conquest       Conquest for Teens       A Story for Kids