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A mile is a unit of length, most commonly 5,280 feet (1,760 yards, or about 1,609 meters). The mile of 5,280 feet is sometimes called the statute mile or land mile to distinguish it from the nautical mile (1,852 metres, about 6,076.1 feet). There have also been many historical miles and similar units in other systems that may be translated into English as miles; they have varied in length from 1 to 15 kilometres.

The exact length of the land mile varied slightly among English-speaking countries until the international yard and pound agreement in 1959 established the yard as exactly 0.9144 metres, giving a mile of exactly 1,609.344 metres. The United States adopted this international mile for most purposes, but retained the pre-1959 mile for some land-survey data, terming it the US survey mile. In the US, statute mile formally refers to the survey mile, about 3.219 mm (⅛ inch) longer than the international mile (the international mile is exactly 0.0002% less than the US survey mile).

The Romans, when marching their armies through Europe, were the first to use the unit of long distance mille passuum (literally "a thousand paces" in Latin, where each pace or stride was two steps). When marching through uncharted territory, they would often push a carved stick in the ground after each 1000 paces. Well fed and harshly driven Roman battalions in good weather thus created longer miles. After attempts to standardize, it denoted a distance of 1,000 average paces or 5,000 Roman feet, and is estimated to be about 1,479 metres (1,617 yards). This unit, now known as the Roman mile,[12] spread throughout the Roman Empire, often with modifications to fit local systems of measurements.