This article compares and contrasts pre-Columbian indigenous customary law regarding land possession and use with the legal norms and concepts gradually imposed and implemented by the Spanish colonial state in the Viceroyalty of Peru in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Natives accepted oral histories of possession going back as many as ten generations as proof of a claim to land. Indigenous custom also provided that a family could claim as much land as it could use for as long as it could use it: labor established rights of possession and use. The Spanish introduced the concept of private property with the founding of the first colonial city in 1532, but agricultural land did not become immediately important because Europeans were supplied with foodstuffs from the tribute of native communities, produced on native communally worked land. After mid-century, however, royal officials began to grant land to Spanish settlers, and there was also an increase in the usurpation of native lands. Once unable to farm, indigenous peoples were forced into the labor market, sometimes working lands that had formerly been theirs.
Ramirez, Susan E.
"Land and Tenure in Early Colonial Peru: Individualizing the Sapci, "That Which is Common to All","
The Medieval Globe: Vol. 2:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/tmg/vol2/iss2/4
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