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Origin of metric units in Spanish
08 March 2014 @ 11:52

       In Spanish they are known as the units meter, kilogram, liter; but there are other units of measure, which are used in the villages, although they are being lost, for example:  the Bushel and the Celemín –which is an unit of measure, used in field--.

      Fanega (Bushel) comes from the Arab (Fanica) and it means: “Sack for land transport”. It is an unit for measuring grains. But it is also an unit of surface.

      Indeed, Bushel began as unit volume, but after the "Bushel of fist" or the "Bushel of sembladura" was created as an unit of area, which was the amount of land required to plant a bushel of grain volume. But, you need more or less Fanegas, depending of the area where you want to plant; for example, the land in Valencia is different than the land in Castille.

      In Ancient times, the Celemin was equivalent to a drawer full of cereal with a given capacity measure. A Bushel equals to 12 Celemins.

      “Dia de bueyes” (Oxen day) was the time it took a pair of oxen plowing  --and usually it was a full day, but depending on the terrain, the ox took more or less time--.And the middle ground was 1,258 meters.It happened in Asturias (North western Spain).

      In Galice, the unit of measure was the Ferrado. And there were several types of Ferrado.

      Another unit of measure was the Quintal. One Quintal was equivalent to 1000 kilograms.

      Another measure was the Arroba, which is a measure of volume (for example: an arroba of oil). It also comes from the Arab (Irrub) and it means: “quarter”. And the Arroba is equivalent to almost 13 kilograms. It is so used in field of the Eastern Spain (in Valencia, concretely).

      Other unit of measure is the Tahulla; it is a measure of surface and its equivalent is 1,118 m2. It is used above all in Alicante and Almeria.

      In Palencia (North western Spain) is used the unit of measure named Obrada and its equivalent is 5,000 m2.

      Another measure is Cántaro and its equivalent is 11 liters –for example of oil--.

      Another measure is Quarterón. Its equivalent is a little bit more than a quarter. For example, in butcher, we use to ask for a “cuarto y mitad” of meat.

      Well, I hope that you have enjoyed with this post.

      Till soon, kind regards,

Luis.

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