The Mile reference article from the Simple Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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A mile is one of several measures of distance. It comes from the Latin phrase milla passum for "one thousand paces," and may have referred to the distance travelled when a Roman soldier's left foot touched the ground one thousand times when walking.

In the USA and the UK mile refers mostly to the statute mile of 5,280 feet (1.609 344 km).

When measuring significant distances for sea or air travel, the nautical mile is used. It is a distance equal to that covered by 1/60th of 1 degree of arc along the Earth's equator or a line of longitude. It works out to about 6,076 feet 01.386 inches (or exactly 1.852 km).