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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Translating Property

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Maria E. MontoyaAssociate Professor of History, University of Michigan, USA

ISBN13: 9780520227446
ISBN: 0520227441
Published: April 2002
Publisher: University Presses of California, Columbia and Princeton
Format: Hardback
Price: £43.95

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Although Mexico lost its northern territories to the United States in 1848, battles over property rights and ownership have remained intense. This turbulent, vividly narrated story of the Maxwell Land Grant, a single tract of 1.7 million acres in northeastern New Mexico, shows how contending groups reinterpret the meaning of property to uphold their conflicting claims to land. The Southwest has been and continues to be the scene of a collision between land regimes with radically different cultural conceptions of the land's purpose. We meet Jicarilla Apaches, whose identity is rooted in a sense of place; Mexican governors and hacienda patrons seeking status as New World feudal magnates; ""rings"" of greedy territorial politicians on the make; women finding their own way in a man's world; Anglo homesteaders looking for a place to settle in the American West; and Dutch investors in search of gargantuan returns on their capital. The European and American newcomers all ""mistranslated"" the prior property regimes into new rules, to their own advantage and the disadvantage of those who had lived on the land before them. Their efforts to control the Maxwell Land Grant by wrapping it in their

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Introduction; 1. Contested Boundaries; 2. Regulating Land, Labor, and Bodies: Mexican Married Women, Peones, and the Remains of Feudalism; 3. From Hacienda to Colony; 4. Prejudice, Confrontation, and Resistance: Taking Control of the Grant; 5. The Law of the Land: U.S. v. Maxwell Land Grant Company; 6. The Legacy of Land Grants in the American West