Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series
Edited by Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell
Chapter 25: Property issues in the indigenous historical contexts of republican Latin America
The advent of the republican State involved the imposition of liberalism as the central value for the new institutional Latin American order. Such a process, validated by the prestige of the European experience, was supported by the proliferation of a set of laws aimed at cancelling any reference to the colonial system. In its economic profile, the new ideology centred around the establishment of individual freedom of disposition over the most valued asset according to the economic and philosophical predicate of physiocracy: land. For this reason, the process of economic consolidation led to the establishment of an increasingly rural market based on individual titles to property and to the eradication, through an exhaustive legislative process, of any obstacle to the free alienability of land. Within the wide legal framework required to carry out this operation, this chapter illustrates the ideological and normative approach that altered the structure of the land tenure systems of the Latin American indigenous groups during the 19th century. The analysis will focus on the principal legal milestones enacted in four countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. The chapter examines the legal transplant of possessive individualism in those zones in order to provide a critical review of the impact that the rule of law associated with the republican State model exerted in the arrangement of the indigenous agrarian system. It is well known that from the last decades of the 18th century, European states promoted substantial legislative reforms relating to land law regimes.
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