A parcel comprises 40 acres and has four sides of 1,320 feet each. A square mile is comprised of 640 acres, with each side measuring 5,280 feet.
The United States government began distributing land in 40-acre parcels, commonly known as “quarter-quarter-sections,” in 1832. On a map, a township is comprised of 36 counted parts, each measuring 1 square mile. “40 acres and a mule” is derived from this parcel notion.
A parcel is a piece of anything, such as a separate tract of land. The origin of the phrase parcel is the French word “parcele” from the 1400s.