Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Definition and List of Community Land Grants in New Mexico

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Until the mid-nineteenth century, Spain made land grants to towns and individuals to promote development in the frontier lands that now constitute the American Southwest. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, the United States agreed to recognize ownership of property of every kind in the ceded areas. Many people, including grantee heirs, scholars, and legal experts, still claim that the United States did not protect the property of Mexican-Americans and their descendants, particularly the common lands of community grants. Land grant ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 10, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Until the mid-nineteenth century, Spain made land grants to towns and individuals to promote development in the frontier lands that now constitute the American Southwest. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, the United States agreed to recognize ownership of property of every kind in the ceded areas. Many people, including grantee heirs, scholars, and legal experts, still claim that the United States did not protect the property of Mexican-Americans and their descendants, particularly the common lands of community grants. Land grant documents contain no direct reference to "community land grants," nor do Spanish and Mexican laws define or use this term. GAO did find, however, that some grants refer to lands set aside for general communal use or for specific purposes, including hunting, pasture, wood gathering, or watering. Scholars, the land grant literature, and popular terminology commonly use the phrase "community land grants" to denote land grants that set aside common lands for the use of the entire community. GAO adopted this broad definition in determining which Spanish and Mexican land grants can be identified as community land grants. GAO identified 154 community land grants out of the total of 295 land grants in New Mexico. Seventy-eight were grants in which the shared lands formed part of the grant according to the original grant documentation; 53 were grants that scholars, grantee heirs, or others believed to contain common lands; and 23 were grants extended to the indigenous Pueblo cultures in New Mexico."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 10, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Definition and List of Community Land Grants in New Mexico, report, September 10, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294888/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.