Mexico and the Survey of Public Lands: The Management of Modernization, 1876-1911 Robert H. Holden

ISBN: 9780875801810

Published: April 1st 1994

Hardcover

251 pages


Description

Mexico and the Survey of Public Lands: The Management of Modernization, 1876-1911  by  Robert H. Holden

Mexico and the Survey of Public Lands: The Management of Modernization, 1876-1911 by Robert H. Holden
April 1st 1994 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, RTF | 251 pages | ISBN: 9780875801810 | 10.61 Mb

In shaping modern Mexico, few events have been more crucial than the division of public lands. Drawing on previously untapped sources, Holden offers the first systematic study of prerevolutionary Mexicos public land surveys.

He examines the role of private survey companies hired by the governments of Manuel Gonzalez and Porfirio Diaz, demonstrating that the companies were both the agents and the beneficiaries of the greatest single movement of public property in Mexicos history. In a controversial process involving land holders, judges, lawyers, and politicians, survey companies reaped in compensation one-third of all the land they surveyed. Holden reports that in one decade, from 1883 to 1893 up to fifty private companies received 18.4 million hectares of land, approximately one-tenth the total area of Mexico.

Basing his study on official archival records, Holden details the conflicts between private and public interests, challenging long-held impressions about the surveying companies. He shows how the state used private surveyors to insulate itself from the politically risky consequences of the surveys. Rejecting the view that the companies were the instruments of a land-hungry elite that worked along-side a corrupt government to plunder the peasantry, he concludes that the federal government generally respected land holders claims in disputes with the surveyors.

Arguing that the Mexican government acted more flexibly and autonomously than has been recognized, Holden explores the states management of such conflicting interests as maintaining peace in the countryside and furnishing clear titles to property. He interprets government attempts to recover survey-company land grants after 1920 mainly as efforts to strengthen state authority in the countryside.



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