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In Mexico, an ejido is an area of corporative land of town shared by the people of the community in small lots. The land of the ejido could not be sold or given legally to third parties; it was only possible to inherit. Ejidos have their origins in the pre-Hispanic (calpulli and altepetlalli) and Hispanic (exidos and propios) land-ownership traditions. After the Conquista the Spanish laws gave to the "pueblos de indios" land for the communal use that were administered by the republic. These lands were apportioned for public uses (forests and area of grass for the cattle).

In the nineteenth century, liberal land reforms pushed to end communal privileges, and ejidos were officially abolished by law. The Ley de Desamortización of 1856 and the Constitution of 1857 transferred land-ownership from the civil and church corporations to citizens. "Los pueblos de indios" lost their right to own ejidos and other communal lands. The ejido reappeared after the Mexican Revolution with the Ley Agraria of 1915 and the Mexican Constitution of 1917. In the 1930s Lázaro Cárdenas's Reforma Agrarista made land ejido property; 53 percent of Mexican lands were ejidos.

After the 1940s, communal landholding decreased because of lack of investment in this sector. In 1970 more than 3 million farmers were ejidatarios. With the neoliberal project of the Mexican government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Article 27 of the Constitution of 1917 was altered in 1992 to authorize the private sale of parcels of ejidos by the farmers, with the character of individual property.

See alsoCárdenas del Río, Lázaro; Mexican Liberal Agrarian Policies, Nineteenth-Century; Mexico, Wars and Revolutions: Mexican Revolution.


Bartra, Roger. Agrarian Structure and Political Power in Mexico, trans. Stephen K. Ault. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

De Janvry, Alain, Gustavo Gordillo, and Elisabeth Sadoulet. Mexico's Second Agrarian Reform: Household and Community Responses, 1990–1994. La Jolla: University of California at San Diego, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, 1997.

                                          Diana Birrichaga