By Maria E. Montoya
25 b/w photos, 7 maps, 2 tables even supposing Mexico misplaced its northern territories to the us in 1848, battles over estate rights and possession have remained extreme. This turbulent, vividly narrated tale of the Maxwell Land furnish, a unmarried tract of 1.7 million acres in northeastern New Mexico, indicates how contending teams reinterpret the which means of estate to uphold their conflicting claims to land. The Southwest has been and is still the scene of a collision among land regimes with significantly various cultural conceptions of the land's goal. We meet Jicarilla Apaches, whose id is rooted in a feeling of position; Mexican governors and hacienda buyers looking prestige as New international feudal magnates; "rings" of grasping territorial politicians at the make; girls discovering their very own means in a man's international; Anglo homesteaders searching for a spot to settle within the American West; and Dutch traders looking for gargantuan returns on their capital. the ecu and American newbies all "mistranslated" the previous estate regimes into new ideas, to their very own virtue and the drawback of these who had lived at the land earlier than them. Their efforts to regulate the Maxwell Land supply by means of wrapping it of their personal specific myths of legislation and customized necessarily resulted in clash or even violence as cultures and criminal regimes clashed.
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Extra info for Translating Property: The Maxwell Land Grant and the Conflict over Land in the American West, 1840-1900
The Jicarillas, in particular, marked their territory by the natural boundaries of the four rivers that surrounded their homeland. In turn, the Spanish explorers gave natural features (rivers, mountains, springs) Spanish Catholic labels to mark their possession. The Mexican government, through its grantees Carlos Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda, used maps and seison (the physical act of taking possession) to mark the land grant that they and their contemporaries knew as the Beaubien/ Miranda Land Grant.
16 Although the Spanish were interested in seeing their neophytes returned to the Rio Grande Valley and the Pueblos kept happy, they were also concerned about rumors that the French were encroaching on their territory via the fur-trapping rivers on the eastern plains. Ulibarrí set out to take control of this northern frontier from both the Jicarillas and the French. 17 His renaming was neither an oversight nor the result of ignorance, but rather a reinscription of Spanish meaning and power over the landscape.
While Vigil used straight lines to convey the extent of the grant, in reality the boundaries were based on the area’s natural topography. S. surveyor general’s map, based on the grid system, which would eventually be acknowledged as showing the grant’s legal boundaries. While the Mexicans grantees and grantors accepted and embraced the natural limits of the land parcel, they also placed artiﬁcial boundaries to mark the private property. The Mexican government, based on Spanish custom, also had a formal ceremony for taking possession of private land.