Emphyteusis, Law of

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Emphyteusis, Law of

Law of Emphyteusis, a measure granting long-term rights of access to and exploitation of land that was the state's property. The law of emphyteusis (enacted in 1826) was used in Argentina in the 1820s by Bernardino Rivadavia in an effort to populate the vast interior of the fledging republic. The government could lease land to private individuals or companies for a rent equal to 8 percent of the assessed value of pastureland and 4 percent of that of cropland. The system did not function well and did not produce the results Rivadavia had hoped for. In the first place, assessments of the land were made by the people who were going to rent it, and thus were undervalued. Second, the law did not specify how much land a person could rent out. Since it imposed no limitations, it contributed to a large extent to the formation of Latifundios. The law benefited only land speculators, who obtained large tracts for practically no cost at all.

See alsoArgentina: The Nineteenth Century; Latifundia; Rivadavia, Bernardino.


Emilio Ángel Coni, La verdad sobre la enfiteusis de Rivadavia (1927).

Juan Carlos Rubinstein, Filiación histórica y sociopolítica de la enfiteusis rivadaviana (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Adelman, Jeremy. Republic of Capital: Buenos Aires and the Legal Transformation of the Atlantic World. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Barsky, Osvaldo. Historia del capitalismo agrario pampeano. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Siglo Veintiuno Editores Argentina, 2003.

Gelman, Jorge, Juan Carlos Garavaglia, Blanca Zeberio. Expansión capitalista y transformaciones regionales: Relaciones sociales y empresas agrarias en la Argentina del siglo XIX. Buenos Aires: La Colmena y Universidad del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, 1999.

                                   Juan Manuel PÉrez