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The term used in Britain to express a ship's tonnage, or carrying capacity. It was based on the number of tuns of wine that a ship could carry in its holds, the total number giving its burthen. The term remained as an expression of a ship's size until the end of the 18th century, but its use gradually declined after a new system of measurement, Builders Old Measurement, was adopted by Act of Parliament in 1733.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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