A morgen was a unit of measurement of land area in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the Dutch colonies, including South Africa and Taiwan. The size of a morgen varies from 1⁄2 to 2 1⁄2 acres, which equals approximately 0.2 to 1 hectare. It was also used in old Prussia, in the Balkans, Norway and Denmark, where it was equal to about two-thirds of an acre (0.27 ha).
The word is usually taken to be the same as the German and Dutch word for "morning". Similarly to the Imperial acre, it was approximately the amount of land tillable by one man behind an ox in the morning hours of a day. The morgen was commonly set at about 60–70% of the tagwerk (literally "day work") referring to a full day of ploughing. In 1869, the North German Confederation fixed the morgen at a quarter hectare (i.e. 2500 square meters) but in modern times most farmland work is measured in full hectares. The next lower measurement unit was the German "rute" or Imperial rod but the metric rod length of 5 metres never became popular. The morgen is still used in Taiwan today, called "kah"; 1 kah is roughly 2 acres or 9,000 m2.
The following table shows an excerpt of morgen sizes as used in Germany - some morgen were used in a wider area and so they had proper names. It is noteworthy that the actual area of a morgen was considerably larger in fertile areas of Germany, or in regions where flat terrain prevails, presumably facilitating tilling. The next lower measurement unit to a morgen was usually in "Quadratruten" square rods.
|Region (Timespan)||Name||Size in m²||original definition (QR = Quadratruten)|
|- metric -||Viertelhektar = vha||2,500||(100 QR)|
|Prussia (1816–1869)||Magdeburger Morgen||2,553.22||180 QR|
|Hanover (before 1836)||2,608||120 QR|
|Hanover (after 1836)||2,621||120 QR|
|Cologne Rhineland||Rheinländischer Morgen||3,176||150 QR|
|Bergisches Land||Bergischer Morgen||2,132||120 QR|
|Württemberg (1806–1871)||3,152||384 QR|
|Danzig||ca. 5,000||300 QR|
|Holstein||Tonne (Tønde)||5,046||240 QGeestR|
|Kulmischer Morgen||5,601.17||300 QR|
|East Frisia||Diemat (h)||5,674|
|Altes Land (Harburg & Stade)||8,185|
|Altes Land||10,484||480 QR|
|Land of Hadeln||11,780||540 QR|
The Polish terms for the unit were morga, mórg, jutrzyna, the latter being a near-literal translation into old Polish.
|Unit||Miara(Unit)||Sążeń², (Viennese fathom²)||Łokieć² (Viennese ell²)||m²|
|1 morg (morgen) (= 0.5755 ha)||3||1600||6439.02||5754.64|
|1 miara (Unit) (= 19.18 are)||533.33||2929.07||1918|
|1 sążeń² wiedeński (Viennese fathom)||4.0237||3.6|
|1 łokieć² wiedeński (Viennese el²)||0.9|
Until the advent of metrication in the 1970s, the morgen was the legal unit of measure of land in three of the four pre-1995 South African provinces – the Cape Province, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In November 2007 the South African Law Society published a conversion factor of 1 morgen = 0.856 532 hectares to be used "for the conversion of areas from imperial units to metric, particularly when preparing consolidated diagrams by compilation".
- Dutch units of measurement
- German obsolete units of measurement
- List of unusual units of measurement
- See de:Morgen (Einheit) – German version of Wikipedia
- Andrade, Tonio (2005). "Appendix A: Weights, Measures, and Exchange Rates". How Taiwan Became Chinese: Dutch, Spanish, and Han Colonization in the Seventeenth Century. Columbia University Press.
- "Instructions for the Conversions of Areas to Metric". Law Society of South Africa. November 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-10.