The ejido eˈxiðo system is a process whereby the government promotes the use of communal land
Communal land
Communal land is a territory in possession of a community, rather than an individual or company.-Zimbabwe:...

 shared by the people of the community. This use of community land was a common practice during the time of Aztec rule in Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. They are registered with the National Agrarian Registry (Registro Agrario National).

It was not until the colonization of Mexico by the Spanish and other European settlers that this practice seemed to disappear and be replaced by the encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

system. The encomienda system was abolished by the Constitution of 1917, with the promise of restoring the ejido system. The system was reinitiated after the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 in some states, notably Morelos
Morelos officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Morelos is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 33 municipalities and its capital city is Cuernavaca....

 but the repartition of land in most of Mexico did not begin until Lázaro Cárdenas
Lázaro Cárdenas
Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940.-Early life:Lázaro Cárdenas was born on May 21, 1895 in a lower-middle class family in the village of Jiquilpan, Michoacán. He supported his family from age 16 after the death of his father...

 became president in 1934. The ejido system was introduced as an important component of the land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 program. The typical procedure for the establishment of an ejido involved the following steps: (1) landless farmers who leased lands from wealthy landlords would petition the federal government for the creation of an ejido in their general area; (2) the federal government would consult with the landlord; (3) the land would be expropriated from the landlords if the government approved the ejido; and (4) an ejido would be established and the original petitioners would be designated as ejidatarios with certain cultivation/use rights. Ejidatarios did not actually own the land, but were allowed to use their alloted parcels indefinitely as long as they did not fail to use the land for more than two years. They could even pass their rights on to their children.

In 1991, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari eliminated the constitutional right to ejidos, citing the "low productivity" of communally owned land.

The change was largely a result of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement:

"Entry into a free trade agreement with the
United States and Canada required intense
preparation for Mexico. To quell U.S.
investors' fears of political upheaval (and thus,
possible confiscation of foreign property), the
authors of NAFTA included an extensive section
on expropriation and confiscation.
Mexico was also pressured by the World Bank
and the United States to re-write Article 27 of
its Constitution - a pillar of the new government that grew out of the 1910 Mexican
Revolution - effectively doing away with the
ejido system of collective land ownership. This
opened up traditional Mexican territory for
sale to foreign investors eager to buy up land.
The ejido system had been a cornerstone of
indigenous and peasant rights in the Mexican
agricultural system. Eliminating ejido protections
and privatizing traditional landholdings
left the most marginalized populations even
more vulnerable."

Since then some of the ejido land has been sold to corporations, although most of it is still in the hands of farmers. Some ejido cooperatives, like the ejido that runs the Tolantongo
Tolantongo is a box canyon and resort located 17 kilometers from Ixmiquilpan on Route 27 in the Mezquital Valley, State of Hidalgo in Mexico, It is about 1.5 hours northeast of Pachuca and 198 km or three-to-four hours northeast of Mexico City...

 resort, have found alternative uses for their land other than farming.

See also

  • Commons
  • Common land
    Common land
    Common land is land owned collectively or by one person, but over which other people have certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, to collect firewood, or to cut turf for fuel...

  • Communal land
    Communal land
    Communal land is a territory in possession of a community, rather than an individual or company.-Zimbabwe:...

  • Chiapas conflict
    Chiapas conflict
    The Chiapas conflict generally refers to the Zapatista uprising and its aftermath, but has to be understood in relation to the history of marginalization of indigenous peoples and subsistence farmers in the state of Chiapas, Mexico....

  • México Indígena
    México Indígena
    México Indígena is the controversial prototype project of the Bowman Expeditions, an initiative of the American Geographical Society to organize international teams of geographers to research potentially important place-based issues and restore the role of geographers as advisers to U.S. government...

    : controversial geography research project studying the future of the ejido and the comunidad agraria
  • Usufruct
    Usufruct is the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that either belongs to another person or which is under common ownership, as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed...

  • Well-field system
    Well-field system
    The well-field system was a Chinese land distribution method existing between the ninth century BCE to around the end of the Warring States Period...

    : communal lands

External links

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