Why is the Mile 5280 Feet instead of an even 5000 Feet and how many Furlongs are in a Mile?

Yup, the mile 5280 feet instead of an even 5000 or something and you can blame it on the Tudors and their fondness for the furlong.

Originally, the mile was 5,000 feet, but Elizabeth I decided that the mile should be divisible by an equal number of furlongs, one furlong measures exactly 220 yards, or 660 feet.

In 1575 she passed a law adding 280 more feet to the official mile so that it equaled eight furlongs.

Pop quiz. How many barleycorns in a fathom?

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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