What is a Vara?
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  1. #1
    Jul 2008
    Branson, Missouri
    Whites Prizm III

    What is a Vara?

    I've been reading several posts in this forum that mention a measurement of distance called vara. How does this unit of measure translate into feet or yards or whatever?

  2. #2
    Jan 2008
    Black Hills of South Dakota
    Tesoro Lobo & Garrett Stinger
    400 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: What is a Vara?

    Its an old unit of measure. It actually is "an about" measure.

    Basically, it it a yard, but, it has been used to measure 33-1/3 inches, 30 inches and 32 inches. Not too exact. If you know who wrote the "vara" measurement, it helps.

    "Irony is the rule"

  3. #3
    Oct 2008
    Colorado Springs
    2 times

    Re: What is a Vara?

    You may run into this term also, "League."
    "Draw me not without reason, Sheath me not without honor"

         ~Found on old Spanish sword made by sword maker     Gallegos~

  4. #4
    Fortune Favors the BOLD, while Karma Favors the Wise!

    Jan 2006
    Arizona Vagrant
    Whites GMT 24k / Fisher FX-3 / Fisher Gold Bug II / Fisher Gemini / Schiebel MIMID
    7169 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: What is a Vara?

    Hey Rickit,

    Mrs. O is correct, but 33 1/3 inches is the modern vara. If you do a lot of reading, you will find that there are a few different Vara measurements.

    Originally, a Vara was the average length of the stride of a Spanish Soldier. It was a little inaccurate. It was between 31 and 36 inches. Later on, they changed that to the "walking vara".

    They also had the "Castilian (or Measured) Vara" which was exactly 33 inches. Later on, in 1823 (after Spain left), the Mexican Vara was established at 32.8 inches. This may seem very insignificant, but if you have a Treasure Map, that says: "Start at the black rock, walk 39 varas to the North, turn left, walk another 39 varas, turn right, and walk another 39 varas, turn back left, and walk another 39 varas and dig." Even 1/2 inch difference between what the mapmaker meant, and what you interpret, could put you WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY Off!

    They also measured distance by "rods" (16.5 feet), "chains" (66 feet), "estados" (usually depth on land, but was 5 feet 7 inches, the average height of a man), "brazas" (usually a measure for depth in water, but was 5 feet 7 inches), and "leguas" (2.12-2.18 miles), codos (16.5 inches), palmos (1/2 a codo= 8 1/4 inches).

    "You wouldn't like me when I'm mad, because I back up my rage with hard facts and logic!" - The Credible Hulk

    ............... ALWAYS REMEMBER: When you make a typo, the errorists win...................Aloha Snackbar!

  5. #5
    Nov 2004
    11846 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: What is a Vara?

    HOLA Gullyem: As usual my friend, excellent reporting. You did forget the "CODO" which was also used extensivly. The codo was basically 1/2 a vara, the distance from the elbow to the fingertips, a very inaccuraste and variable measurement also.

    (the measurement was called a "Codo" is because the elbow is called the "Codo" in Spanish, it also signifies a bend, such as in a arroyo bend)

    Some day I will just have to sit down with you, our mutual bearded one, and a gallon of coffee He makes the coffee and Lassagne, while Mazie snuggles up to me.

    Don Jose de La Mancha
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"



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