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The land issue in the early modern overseas empires
Jose Vicente Serrao (ISCTE-IUL)
Jose Vicente Serrao
Sala 78, Piso 1
Wednesday 17 July, 14:00-15:45, Thursday 18 July, 9:30-11:15 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

This Panel aims to discuss, from a variety of perspectives, how land and land related issues were dealt with in the different imperial contexts.

Long abstract:

The 'land issue' arose as soon as Europeans started their expansion overseas. With the exception of a few purely merchant imperial ventures, the occupation, appropriation and (re)distribution of lands became a chief matter, for both individuals and authorities, in the process of colonization and empire-building promoted by the Europeans throughout the early modern period. Firstly, because land had a huge political relevance - occupying, mapping, surveying, taxing or granting land was an exercise of sovereignty and power. But land was also a matter of culture, economy, social relations and ideology, not to mention that the legal and factual regulation of property rights in land was a permanent ground for negotiation and conflict. THIS PANEL ACCEPTS PAPERS ADDRESSING THE COLONIAL LAND ISSUE FROM ANY OF THESE PERSPECTIVES AND FOCUSING ON WHATEVER IMPERIAL CONTEXT. Among the variety of questions that can be discussed, here are some examples: which were the main legal institutions regulating land tenure and land use implemented in each empire? What happened to the European institutional templates when transposed to the imperial spaces? How did they accommodate to the diverse colonial environments and to the existing indigenous regimes of land tenure and property rights, of a very different cultural background? How far were the native peoples deprived of their lands? What role did land play in the negotiation and conflict processes between imperial authorities, settlers and native communities? How did property rights serve economic or settlement purposes? How were they used for building sovereignty over colonial territories?