The Portuguese Empire known as the Portuguese Overseas or the Portuguese Colonial Empire, was one of the largest and longest-lived empires in world history. It existed for six centuries, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415, to the handover of Portuguese Macau to China in 1999; the empire began in the 15th century, from the early 16th century it stretched across the globe, with bases in North and South America and various regions of Asia and Oceania. The Portuguese Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description given to the Spanish Empire; the Portuguese Empire originated at the beginning of the Age of Discovery, the power and influence of the Kingdom of Portugal would expand across the globe. In the wake of the Reconquista, Portuguese sailors began exploring the coast of Africa and the Atlantic archipelagos in 1418–19, using recent developments in navigation and maritime technology such as the caravel, with the aim of finding a sea route to the source of the lucrative spice-trade.
In 1488 Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, in 1498 Vasco da Gama reached India. In 1500, either by an accidental landfall or by the crown's secret design, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil on the South American coast. Over the following decades, Portuguese sailors continued to explore the coasts and islands of East Asia, establishing forts and factories as they went. By 1571 a string of naval outposts connected Lisbon to Nagasaki along the coasts of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia; this commercial network and the colonial trade had a substantial positive impact on Portuguese economic growth, when it accounted for about a fifth of Portugal's per-capita income. When King Philip II of Spain inherited the Portuguese crown in 1580 there began a 60-year union between Spain and Portugal known to subsequent historiography as the Iberian Union; the realms continued to have separate administrations. As the King of Spain was King of Portugal, Portuguese colonies became the subject of attacks by three rival European powers hostile to Spain: the Dutch Republic and France.
With its smaller population, Portugal found itself unable to defend its overstretched network of trading posts, the empire began a long and gradual decline. Brazil became the most valuable colony of the second era of empire, until, as part of the wave of independence movements that swept the Americas during the early 19th century, it broke away in 1822; the third era of empire covers the final stage of Portuguese colonialism after the independence of Brazil in the 1820s. By the colonial possessions had been reduced to forts and plantations along the African coastline, Portuguese Timor, enclaves in India and China; the 1890 British Ultimatum led to the contraction of Portuguese ambitions in Africa. Under António Salazar, the Second Portuguese Republic made some ill-fated attempts to cling on to its last remaining colonies. Under the ideology of Pluricontinentalism, the regime renamed its colonies "overseas provinces" while retaining the system of forced labour, from which only a small indigenous élite was exempt.
In 1961 India annexed Goa and Dahomey annexed Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá. The Portuguese Colonial War in Africa lasted from 1961 until the final overthrow of the Estado Novo regime in 1974; the so-called Carnation Revolution of April 1974 in Lisbon led to the hasty decolonization of Portuguese Africa and to the 1975 annexation of Portuguese Timor by Indonesia. Decolonization prompted the exodus of nearly all the Portuguese colonial settlers and of many mixed-race people from the colonies. Portugal returned Macau to China in 1999; the only overseas possessions to remain under Portuguese rule, the Azores and Madeira, both had overwhelmingly Portuguese populations, Lisbon subsequently changed their constitutional status from "overseas provinces" to "autonomous regions". The origin of the Kingdom of Portugal lay in the reconquista, the gradual reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Moors. After establishing itself as a separate kingdom in 1139, Portugal completed its reconquest of Moorish territory by reaching Algarve in 1249, but its independence continued to be threatened by neighbouring Castile until the signing of the Treaty of Ayllón in 1411.
Free from threats to its existence and unchallenged by the wars fought by other European states, Portuguese attention turned overseas and towards a military expedition to the Muslim lands of North Africa. There were several probable motives for their first attack, on the Marinid Sultanate, it offered the opportunity to continue the Christian crusade against Islam. In 1415 an attack was made on Ceuta, a strategically located North African Muslim enclave along the Mediterranean Sea, one of the terminal ports of the trans-Saharan gold and slave trades; the conquest was a military success, marked one of the first steps in Portuguese expansion beyond the Iberian Peninsula, but it proved costly to defend against the Muslim forces that soon besieged it. The Portuguese were unable to use it as a base for further expansion into the hinterland, the trans-Saharan caravans shifted their routes to bypass Ceuta and/or used alternative Muslim ports. Although Ceuta proved to be a disappointment for the Portuguese
The yard is an English unit of length, in both the British imperial and US customary systems of measurement, that comprises 3 feet or 36 inches. Since 1959 it is by international agreement standardized as 0.9144 meters. The name derives from the Old English gerd, gyrd, &c., used for branches and measuring rods. It is first attested in the late-7th century laws of Ine of Wessex, where the "yard of land" mentioned is the yardland, an old English unit of tax assessment equal to 1⁄4 hide. Around the same time, the Lindisfarne Gospels account of the messengers from John the Baptist in the Gospel of Matthew used it for a branch swayed by the wind. In addition to the yardland and Middle English both used their forms of "yard" to denote the surveying lengths of 15 or 16 1⁄2 ft used in computing acres, a distance now known as the "rod". A unit of three English feet is attested in a statute of c. 1300 but there it is called an ell, a separate and longer unit of around 45 inches. The use of the word "yard" to describe this length is first attested in Langland's poem on Piers Plowman.
The usage seems to derive from the prototype standard rods held by his magistrates. The word "yard" is a homonym of "yard" in the sense of an enclosed area of land; this second meaning of "yard" has an etymology related to the verb "to gird" and is not related. The origin of the measure is uncertain. Both the Romans and the Welsh used multiples of a shorter foot, but 2 1⁄2 Roman feet was a "step" and 3 Welsh feet was a "pace"; the Proto-Germanic cubit or arm's-length has been reconstructed as *alinâ, which developed into the Old English ęln, Middle English elne, modern ell of 1¼ yd. This has led some to derive the yard of three English feet from pacing. Based on the etymology of the other "yard", some suggest it derived from the girth of a person's waist, while others believe it originated as a cubic measure. One official British report writes: The standard of measure has always been taken either from some part of the human body, such as a foot, the length of the arm, the span of the hand, or from other natural objects, such as a barleycorn, or other kind of grain.
But the yard was the original standard adopted by the early English sovereigns, has been supposed to be founded upon the breadth of the chest of the Saxon race. The yard continued till the reign of Henry VII. when the ell was introduced, that being a yard and a quarter, or 45 inches. The ell was borrowed from the Paris drapers. Subsequently, Queen Elizabeth re-introduced the yard as the English standard of measure; the earliest record of a prototype measure is the statute II Edgar Cap. 8, which survives in several variant manuscripts. In it, Edgar the Peaceful directed the Witenagemot at Andover that "the measure held at Winchester" should be observed throughout his realm; the statutes of William I refer to and uphold the standard measures of his predecessors without naming them. William of Malmesbury's Deeds of the Kings of England records that during the reign of Henry I "the measure of his arm was applied to correct the false ell of the traders and enjoined on all throughout England." The folktale that the length was bounded by the king's nose was added some centuries later.
Watson dismisses William's account as "childish" but William was among the most conscientious and trustworthy medieval historians. The French "king's foot" was supposed to have derived from Charlemagne, the English kings subsequently intervened to impose shorter units with the aim of increasing tax revenue; the earliest surviving definition of this form of the ell appears in the Act on the Composition of Yards and Perches, one of the statutes of uncertain date tentatively dated to the reign of Edward I or II c. 1300. Its wording varies in surviving accounts. One reads: It is ordained that 3 grains of barley dry and round do make an inch, 12 inches make 1 foot, 3 feet make 1 yard, 5 yards and a half make a perch, 40 perches in length and 4 in breadth make an acre; the Liber Horn states: And be it remembered that the iron yard of our Lord the King containeth 3 feet and no more, a foot ought to contain 12 inches by the right measure of this yard measured, to wit, the 36th part of this yard rightly measured maketh 1 inch neither more nor less and 5 yards and a half make a perch, 16 feet and a half measured by the aforesaid yard of our Lord the King.
In some early books, this act was appended to another statute of uncertain date titled the Statute for the Measuring of Land. The act was not repealed until the Weights and Measures Act of 1824. In a law of 1439 the sale of cloth by the "yard and handful" was abolished, the "yard and inch" instituted. There shall be but one Measure of Cloth through the Realm by the Yard and the Inch, not by the Yard and Handful, according to the London Measure. According to Connor, cloth merchants had sold cloth by the yard and handful to evade high taxes on cloth. Enforcement efforts resulted in cloth merchants switching over to the yard and inch, at which point the government gave up and made the yard and inch official. In 1552, the yard and inch for cloth measurement was again sanctioned in law XIV, and that all and every Broad Cloth and Clothes called Taunton Clothes and other Clothes which shall be made after the said Feast in Taunton, Bridgwater or in other
The Gauls were a group of Celtic peoples of West-Central Europe in the Iron Age and the Roman period. The area they inhabited was known as Gaul, their Gaulish language forms the main branch of the Continental Celtic languages. The Gauls emerged around the 5th century BC as the bearers of the La Tène culture north of the Alps. By the 4th century BC, they spread over much of what is now France, Spain, Switzerland, Southern Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia by virtue of controlling the trade routes along the river systems of the Rhône, Seine and Danube, they expanded into Northern Italy, the Balkans and Galatia. Gaul was never united under a single ruler or government, but the Gallic tribes were capable of uniting their forces in large-scale military operations, they reached the peak of their power in the early 3rd century BC. The rising Roman Republic after the end of the First Punic War put pressure on the Gallic sphere of influence. After this, Gaul became a province of the Roman Empire, the Gauls culturally adapted to the Roman world, bringing about the formation of the hybrid Gallo-Roman culture.
The Gauls of Gallia Celtica according to the testimony of Caesar called themselves Celtae in their own language, Galli in Latin. As is not unusual with ancient ethnonyms, these names came to be applied more than their original sense, Celtae being the origin of the term Celts itself while Galli is the origin of the adjective Gallic, now referring to all of Gaul; the name Gaul itself is not from the Germanic word * Walhaz. Gaulish culture developed out of the Celtic cultures over the first millennia BC; the Urnfield culture represents the Celts as a distinct cultural branch of the Indo-European-speaking people. The spread of iron working led to the Hallstatt culture in the 8th century BC; the Hallstatt culture evolved into the La Tène culture in around the 5th century BC. The Greek and Etruscan civilizations and colonies began to influence the Gauls in the Mediterranean area. Gauls under Brennus invaded Rome circa 390 BC. By the 5th century BC, the tribes called Gauls had migrated from Central France to the Mediterranean coast.
Gallic invaders settled the Po Valley in the 4th century BC, defeated Roman forces in a battle under Brennus in 390 BC and raided Italy as far as Sicily. In the 3rd century BC, the Gauls attempted an eastward expansion in 281-279 BC, towards the Balkan peninsula, which at that time was a Greek province, with the ultimate goal to reach and loot the rich Greek city-states of the Greek mainland, but the majority of the Gaul army was exterminated by the Greeks and the few Gauls that survived were forced to flee. A large number of Gauls served in the armies of Carthage during the Punic Wars, one of the leading rebel leaders of the Mercenary War, was of Gallic origin. During the Balkan expedition, led by Cerethrios and Bolgios, the Gauls raided twice the Greek mainland. At the end of the second expedition the Gallic raiders had been repelled by the coalition armies of the various Greek city-states and were forced to retreat to Illyria and Thrace, but the Greeks were forced to grant safe-passage to the Gauls who made their way to Asia Minor and settled in Central Anatolia.
The Gallic area of settlement in Asia Minor was called Galatia. But they were checked through the use of war elephants and skirmishers by the Greek Seleucid king Antiochus I in 275 BC, after which they served as mercenaries across the whole Hellenistic Eastern Mediterranean, including Ptolemaic Egypt, where they, under Ptolemy II Philadelphus, attempted to seize control of the kingdom. In the first Gallic invasion of Greece, they achieved victory over the Macedonians and killed the Macedonian king Ptolemy Keraunos, they focused on looting the rich Macedonian countryside, but avoided the fortified cities. The Macedonian general Sosthenes assembled an army, defeated Bolgius and repelled the invading Gauls. In the second Gaulish invasion of Greece, the Gauls, led by Brennos, suffered heavy losses while facing the Greek coalition army at Thermopylae, but helped by the Heracleans they followed the mountain path around Thermopylae to encircle the Greek army in the same way that the Persian army had done at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, but this time deafeating the whole of the Greek army.
After passing Thermopylae the Gauls headed for the rich treasury at Delphi, where they were defeated by the re-assembled Greek army. This led to a series of retreats of the Gauls, with devastating losses, all the way up to Macedonia and out of the Greek mainland; the major part of the Gaul army was defeated in the process, those Gauls survived were forced to flee from Greece. The Gallic leader Brennos was injured at Delphi and committed suicide there. (He is not to be confused with another Gaulish leader bearing the same name who had sacked Rome a century earlier. In 278 BC Gaulish settlers in the Balkans were invited by Nicomedes I of Bithynia to help him in a dynastic struggle against his brother, they numbered about 10,000 fighting men and about the same number of
Comparison of the imperial and US customary measurement systems
Both the imperial and United States customary systems of measurement derive from earlier English systems used in the Middle Ages, that were the result of a combination of the local Anglo-Saxon units inherited from German tribes and Roman units brought by William the Conqueror after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Having this shared heritage, the two systems are quite similar; the US customary system is based on English systems of the 18th century, while the Imperial system was defined in 1824, after American independence. Volume may be measured either with specific volume units; the units of cubic length are the same in the imperial and US customary systems but with the specific units of volume they differ. The US customary system has one set of another set for dry goods; the imperial system has only one set defined independently of and subdivided differently from its US counterparts. By the end of the eighteenth century various systems of volume measurement were in use throughout the British Empire.
Wine was measured with units based on the Queen Anne's gallon of 231 cubic inches. Beer was measured with units based on an ale gallon of 282 cubic inches. Grain was measured with the Winchester measure with a gallon of 268.8 cubic inches. In 1824 these were replaced with a single system based on the imperial gallon. Defined as the volume of 10 pounds of distilled water redefined by the Weights and Measures Act 1985 to be 4.54609 L, the imperial gallon is close in size to the old ale gallon. The Winchester measure was made obsolete in the British Empire but remained in use in the US; the Winchester bushel was replaced with an imperial bushel of 8 imperial gallons. The subdivisions of the bushel were maintained; as with US dry measures the imperial system divides the bushel into 4 pecks, 8 gallons, 32 quarts or 64 pints. Thus all of these imperial measures are about 3% larger than their US dry measure counterparts. Fluid measure is not as straightforward; the American colonists adopted a system based on the 231-cubic-inch wine gallon for all fluid purposes.
This became the US fluid gallon. Both the imperial and US fluid gallon are divided into 8 pints or 32 gills. However, whereas the US gill is divided into 4 US fluid ounces, the imperial gill is divided into 5 imperial fluid ounces. So whilst the imperial gallon, quart and gill are about 20% larger than their US fluid measure counterparts, the fluid ounce is about 4% smaller. Note that one avoirdupois ounce of water has an approximate volume of one imperial fluid ounce at 62 °F; this convenient fluid-ounce-to-avoirdupois-ounce relation does not exist in the US system. One noticeable comparison between the imperial system and the US system is between some Canadian and American beer bottles. Many Canadian brewers package beer in a 12-imperial-fluid-ounce bottles. American brewers package their beer in 12-US-fluid-ounce bottles; this results in the Canadian bottles being labelled as 11.5 fl oz in US units when imported into the United States. Because Canadian beer bottles predate the adoption of the Metric System in that country, they are still sold and labelled in Canada as 341 mL.
Canned beer in Canada is sold and labelled in 355 mL cans, when exported to the US are labelled as 12 fl oz. The international yard is defined as 0.9144 metres. This definition was agreed by the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand through the international yard and pound agreement of 1959; the US survey foot and survey mile have been maintained as separate units for surveying purposes to avoid the accumulation of error that would follow replacing them with the international versions with State Plane Coordinate Systems. The US survey foot is defined so that 1 metre is 39.37 inches, making the international foot of 0.3048 metres two parts per million shorter. This is a little over one eighth of an inch per mile; the main units of length were the same in the US, though the US uses some of the intermediate units, such as the chain and the furlong. At one time the definition of the nautical mile was based on the sphere whose surface is the same as the Clarke Ellipsoid. In the US, the full value of 1853.256 metres was used, but in the Commonwealth, this was rounded to 6080 feet.
These have been replaced by the international version, which rounds the sixtieth part of the 45° to the nearest metre, as 1852 metres. Traditionally, both Britain and the US used three different weight systems: troy weight for precious metals, avoirdupois weight for most other purposes and apothecaries' weight for medicines. However, apothecaries' weight has now been superseded by the metric system. One important difference is the widespread use in Britain of the stone of 14 pounds for body weight; this unit is not used in the United States, although its influence was seen in the practice, until World War II, of selling flour by a barrel of 196 pounds. Another difference arose when Britain abolished the troy pound on January 6, 1879, leaving only the troy ounce and its dec
Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age, inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Belgium, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2. According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC. Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486.
While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia remains a name of France in modern modern Latin; the Greek and Latin names Galatia and Gallia are derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan Gal-to-. The Galli of Gallia Celtica were reported to refer to themselves as Celtae by Caesar. Hellenistic folk etymology connected the name of the Galatians to the "milk-white" skin of the Gauls. Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh gallu, Cornish galloes, "capacity, power", thus meaning "powerful people"; the English Gaul is from French Gaule and is unrelated to Latin Gallia, despite superficial similarity. The name Gaul is derived from the Old Frankish *Walholant "Land of the Foreigners/Romans", in which *Walho- is reflex of Proto-Germanic *walhaz, "foreigner, Romanized person", an exonym applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately, making it cognate with the names Wales and Wallachia.
The Germanic w- is rendered as gu- / g- in French, the historic diphthong au is the regular outcome of al before a following consonant. French Gaule or Gaulle cannot be derived from Latin Gallia, since g would become j before a, the diphthong au would be unexplained. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived from the name of the Volcae. Unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name Gael; the Irish word gall did mean "a Gaul", i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was widened to "foreigner", to describe the Vikings, still the Normans. The dichotomic words gael and gall are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib; as adjectives, English has the two variants: Gallic. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls", although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as Gaulish. There is little written information concerning the peoples that inhabited the regions of Gaul, save what can be gleaned from coins.
Therefore, the early history of the Gauls is predominantly a work in archaeology and the relationships between their material culture, genetic relationships and linguistic divisions coincide. Before the rapid spread of the La Tène culture in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, the territory of eastern and southern France participated in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture out of which the early iron-working Hallstatt culture would develop. By 500 BC, there is strong Hallstatt influence throughout most of France. Out of this Hallstatt background, during the 7th and 6th century representing an early form of Continental Celtic culture, the La Tène culture arises under Mediterranean influence from the Greek and Etruscan civilizations, spread out in a number of early centers along the Seine, the Middle Rhine and the upper Elbe. By the late 5th century BC, La Tène influence spreads across the entire territory of Gaul; the La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age in France, Italy, southwest Germany, Moravia and Hungary.
Farther north extended the contemporary pre-Roman Iron Age culture of northern Germany and Scandinavia. The major source of materials on the Celts of Gaul was Poseidonios of Apamea, whose writings were quoted by Timagenes, Julius Caesar, the Sicilian Greek Diodorus Siculus, the Greek geographer Strabo. In the 4th and early 3rd century BC, Gallic clan confederations expanded far beyond the territory of what would become Roman Gaul, into Pannonia, northern Italy and Asia Minor. By the 2nd century BC, the Romans descr
The mile is an English unit of length of linear measure equal to 5,280 feet, or 1,760 yards, standardised as 1,609.344 metres by international agreement in 1959. With qualifiers, "mile" is used to describe or translate a wide range of units derived from or equivalent to the Roman mile, such as the nautical mile, the Italian mile, the Chinese mile; the Romans divided their mile into 5,000 roman feet but the greater importance of furlongs in pre-modern England meant that the statute mile was made equivalent to 8 furlongs or 5,280 feet in 1593. This form of the mile spread to the British-colonized nations some of which continue to employ the mile; the US Geological Survey now employs the metre for official purposes but legacy data from its 1927 geodetic datum has meant that a separate US survey mile continues to see some use. While most countries replaced the mile with the kilometre when switching to the International System of Units, the international mile continues to be used in some countries, such as Liberia, the United Kingdom, the United States, a number of countries with fewer than one million inhabitants, most of which are UK or US territories, or have close historical ties with the UK or US.
The mile was abbreviated m. in the past but is now sometimes written as mi to avoid confusion with the SI metre. However, derived units, such as miles per hour or miles per gallon, continue to be universally abbreviated as mph and mpg, respectively; the modern English word mile derives from Middle English myl and Old English mīl, cognate with all other Germanic terms for "miles". These derived from apocopated forms of the Latin mīlia or mīllia, the plural of mīle or mīlle "thousand" but used as a clipped form of mīlle passus or passuum, the Roman mile of one thousand paces; the present international mile is what is understood by the unqualified term "mile". When this distance needs to be distinguished from the nautical mile, the international mile may be described as a "land mile" or "statute mile". In British English, the "statute mile" may refer to the present international miles or to any other form of English mile since the 1593 Act of Parliament, which set it as a distance of 1,760 yards.
Under American law, the "statute mile" refers to the US survey mile. Foreign and historical units translated into English as miles employ a qualifier to describe the kind of mile being used but this may be omitted if it is obvious from the context, such as a discussion of the 2nd-century Antonine Itinerary describing its distances in terms of "miles" rather than "Roman miles"; the mile has been variously abbreviated—with and without a trailing period—as m, M, ml, mi. The American National Institute of Standards and Technology now uses and recommends mi in order to avoid confusion with the SI metre and millilitre. However, derived units such as miles per hour or miles per gallon continue to be abbreviated as mph and mpg rather than mi/h and mi/gal. In the United Kingdom road signs use m as the abbreviation for mile though height and width restrictions use m as the abbreviation for the metre, which may be displayed alongside feet and inches; the BBC style holds that "There is no acceptable abbreviation for'miles'" and so it should be spelt out when used in describing areas.
The Roman mile consisted of a thousand paces as measured by every other step—as in the total distance of the left foot hitting the ground 1,000 times. The ancient Romans, marching their armies through uncharted territory, would push a carved stick in the ground after each 1,000 paces. Well-fed and harshly driven Roman legionaries in good weather thus created longer miles; the distance was indirectly standardised by Agrippa's establishment of a standard Roman foot in 29 BC, the definition of a pace as 5 feet. An Imperial Roman mile thus denoted 5,000 Roman feet. Surveyors and specialized equipment such as the decempeda and dioptra spread its use. In modern times, Agrippa's Imperial Roman mile was empirically estimated to have been about 1,617 yards in length. In Hellenic areas of the Empire, the Roman mile was used beside the native Greek units as equivalent to 8 stadia of 600 Greek feet; the mílion continued to be used as a Byzantine unit and was used as the name of the zero mile marker for the Byzantine Empire, the Milion, located at the head of the Mese near Hagia Sophia.
The Roman mile spread throughout Europe, with its local variations giving rise to the different units below. Arising from the Roman mile is the "milestone". All roads radiated out from the Roman Forum throughout the Empire – 50,000 miles of stone-paved roads. At every mile was placed a shaped stone, on, carved a Roman numeral, indicating the number of miles from the center of Rome – the Forum. Hence, one always knew; the Italian mile was traditionally considered a direct continuation of the Roman mile, equal to 1000 paces, although its actual value over time or between regions could vary greatly. It was used in international contexts from the Middle Ages into the 17th century and is thus known as the "geographical mile", although the geographical mile is now a separate standard unit; the Arabic mile was not the common Arabic unit of length. The Arabic mile was, used by medieval geographers and scientists and constituted a kind of precursor to the nautical or geographical mile, it extended the Roman mile to fit an astronomical approximatio
Prussia was a prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany. In 1871, German states united to create the German Empire under Prussian leadership. In November 1918, the monarchies were abolished and the nobility lost its political power during the German Revolution of 1918–19; the Kingdom of Prussia was thus abolished in favour of a republic—the Free State of Prussia, a state of Germany from 1918 until 1933. From 1933, Prussia lost its independence as a result of the Prussian coup, when the Nazi regime was establishing its Gleichschaltung laws in pursuit of a unitary state.
With the end of the Nazi regime, in 1945, the division of Germany into allied-occupation zones and the separation of its territories east of the Oder–Neisse line, which were incorporated into Poland and the Soviet Union, the State of Prussia ceased to exist de facto. Prussia existed de jure until its formal abolition by the Allied Control Council Enactment No. 46 of 25 February 1947. The name Prussia derives from the Old Prussians. In 1308, the Teutonic Knights conquered the region of Pomerelia with Gdańsk, their monastic state was Germanised through immigration from central and western Germany, and, in the south, it was Polonised by settlers from Masovia. The Second Peace of Thorn split Prussia into the western Royal Prussia, a province of Poland, the eastern part, from 1525 called the Duchy of Prussia, a fief of the Crown of Poland up to 1657; the union of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia in 1618 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. Prussia entered the ranks of the great powers shortly after becoming a kingdom, exercised most influence in the 18th and 19th centuries.
During the 18th century it had a major say in many international affairs under the reign of Frederick the Great. During the 19th century, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck united the German principalities into a "Lesser Germany", which excluded the Austrian Empire. At the Congress of Vienna, which redrew the map of Europe following Napoleon's defeat, Prussia acquired rich new territories, including the coal-rich Ruhr; the country grew in influence economically and politically, became the core of the North German Confederation in 1867, of the German Empire in 1871. The Kingdom of Prussia was now so large and so dominant in the new Germany that Junkers and other Prussian élites identified more and more as Germans and less as Prussians; the Kingdom ended in 1918 along with other German monarchies that collapsed as a result of the German Revolution. In the Weimar Republic, the Free State of Prussia lost nearly all of its legal and political importance following the 1932 coup led by Franz von Papen. Subsequently, it was dismantled into Nazi German Gaue in 1935.
Some Prussian ministries were kept and Hermann Göring remained in his role as Minister President of Prussia until the end of World War II. Former eastern territories of Germany that made up a significant part of Prussia lost the majority of their German population after 1945 as the People's Republic of Poland and the Soviet Union both absorbed these territories and had most of its German inhabitants expelled by 1950. Prussia, deemed a bearer of militarism and reaction by the Allies, was abolished by an Allied declaration in 1947; the international status of the former eastern territories of Germany was disputed until the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany in 1990, while its return to Germany remains a topic among far right politicians, the Federation of Expellees and various political revisionists. The term Prussian has been used outside Germany, to emphasise professionalism, aggressiveness and conservatism of the Junker class of landed aristocrats in the East who dominated first Prussia and the German Empire.
The main coat of arms of Prussia, as well as the flag of Prussia, depicted a black eagle on a white background. The black and white national colours were used by the Teutonic Knights and by the Hohenzollern dynasty; the Teutonic Order wore a white coat embroidered with a black cross with gold insert and black imperial eagle. The combination of the black and white colours with the white and red Hanseatic colours of the free cities Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck, as well as of Brandenburg, resulted in the black-white-red commercial flag of the North German Confederation, which became the flag of the German Empire in 1871. Suum cuique, the motto of the Order of the Black Eagle created by King Frederick I in 1701, was associated with the whole of Prussia; the Iron Cross, a military decoration created by King Frederick William III in 1813, was commonly associated with the country. The region populated by Baltic Old Prussians who were Christianised, became a favoured location for immigration by Germans, as well as Poles and Lithuanians along the border regions.
Before its abolition, the territory of the Kingdom of Prussia included the provinces of West Prussia.