Colombian units of measurement

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A variety of units of measurement were used in Colombia to measure quantities like length, mass and area. In Colombia, International Metric System has adopted since 1853, and has been compulsory since 1854.[1][2][3]

Pre-metric units

Several different units were used before 1854. Older system before Metric system was derived from Spanish Castillian System.[2]


Different units were used to measure length. As in 1920s too, some units were derived from metric system. One vara was equal to 0.8 m (or 0.84 m[4]). Some other units are provided below:[1][2]

1 pulgada = 1/32 vara

1 cuarta = 1/4 vara

1 pie = 1/3 vara[2]

1 cuadra = 100 vara

1 legua = 6250 vara


A number of units were used to measure mass. As in 1920s too, some units were derived from the metric system. One libra was equal to 0.500 kg (i.e. 500 g) (or 0.54354 kg[4]). Some other units are provided below:[1][2]

1 onza = 1/16 libra

1 arroba = 25 libra

1 quintal = 100 libra

1 saco = 125 libra

1 carga = 250 libra

1 tonelada = 2000 libra


Several units were used to measure area. As in 1920s too, some units were derived from metric system. one vara2 was equal to 0.64 m2, and one fanegada was equal to 10000 vara2[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Washburn, E.W. (1926). International Critical Tables of Numerical Data, Physics, Chemistry and Technology. New York: McGraw-Hil Book Company, Inc. pp. 4, 5.
  2. ^ a b c d e Cardarelli, F. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. pp. 158, 159. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1.
  3. ^ Clarke, F.W. (1891). Weights Measures and Money of All Nations. New York: D. Appleton & Company. p. 24.
  4. ^ a b Abad, L.A.; Davies, E.; Zanden, J.L.v. (1891), Between conquest and independence: Real wages and demographic change in Spanish America, 1530-1820 (in the journal, Explorations in Economic History), Middlebury College, United States and Utrecht University, The Netherlands: elsevier, p. 15
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