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Math and Arithmetic
Units of Measure
Length and Distance

How was the length of a standard meter defined in the year 1791?


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September 18, 2008 9:26PM

In the 18th century it was felt that a standard unit of length was needed. The French Academy of Sciences decided in 1791 that the meter would be defined by the dimensions of the planet earth.

The metre would be a unit of length such that Earth's meridian line (a line linking the equator with the north pole) was equal to ten million meters. Over the following years measurements of the meridian line that passes through Paris were attempted, so that a standard meter could be cast in metal.