Why is a mile a mile?
The Ancient Romans measured new territory in ‘miles.’ A mile was a thousand double steps of a soldier. The word mile comes from the latin ‘mille’ which means ‘thousand.’
Miles varied depending on if soldiers were tired, so in 1593 the English government decided on a definite length of eight ‘furlongs’ (a furlong was the length of a furrow in one acre of a ploughed open field).
Bonus fact: The old Scots mile was longer than an English mile. That is why in Edinburgh the Royal Mile is actually 1.2 miles long.
Source: National Geographic Answer Book – Fast Facts about our World