Order, Revolution, Intervention, Cooperation
6-1. Porfirio Díaz’s Land Law. Mexico 1894
Mexico attempted to attract foreign
immigrants and migrants from other areas of Mexico who could acquire “vacant” land if
they settled it.
Unlike some Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Mexico was
not generally a destination for European immigrants.
With its harsh climate in the north
and large indigenous population, Mexico attracted few foreigners.
minister of Public Works, Manuel Fernández Leal, reformed the Land Law in 1894 in
order to attract more settler colonists.
This new law ended the limitation of 2,500
hectares and the obligation to cultivate and populate surveyed lands.
Coupled with the
revised law on subsoil rights, foreign investors and settlers could acquire and exploit
Mexico’s resources having their property rights secure by law.
This new law which will be put in place [in 1894], will retain much of the good of the
previous law [of 1863].
It will also fill gaps revealed in practice and will increase the
means of acquiring and colonizing uninhabited lands, secure guarantees for maintaining
this property and all other territorial property, as well as remedy the many inconveniences
revealed in the practice of legislation in place until now…
…Experience has demonstrated that in general, limitations, restrictions and
prohibitions motivated by a healthy and philanthropic view to impeding monopolization
of national property, constitute a definite and considerable burden on its mobilization,
cultivation and population.
2500 hectares, which geometrically speaking is supposedly
vast and sufficient to constitute a private farm, is far from being an agricultural economic
unit large enough to stimulate the cultivator.
The country’s best lands in terms of
fertility, proximity to large population centers and principal transportation routes,
irrigation, or favorable climactic conditions, have been privately owned, from time
In general, the wastelands are less favorable and for this reason are
To currently fix 2500 hectares as the limit for acquisition or the unit for
division would create difficulties for registration, purchase or sale, and consequently limit
this land’s population and cultivation.
Fears of monopolization, justified in the past, lost
all reason for being after the long and drawn out experience caused by the law of 1863.
As is evident and indisputable in principle throughout this vast survey, was that the
restrictions before opposed and contradicted, were favored and accelerated.
Besides, economic principles establish that property demands stability and
guarantees, that it can only be successfully mobilized and exploited when regimes
The land holder and the owner of movable investments resist all
With restrictive means, nothing is achieved other than making