Land reform
mage:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]

Land reform (also agrarian reform or, though that can have a broader meaning) involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land.
mage:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]

Land reform (also agrarian reform or, though that can have a broader meaning) involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. Land reform can, therefore, refer to transfer of ownership from the more powerful to the less powerful:such as from a relatively small number of wealthy (or noble) owners with extensive land holdings (e.g., plantations, large ranches, or agribusiness plots) to individual ownership by those who work the land. Such transfers of ownership may be with or without compensation; compensation may vary from token amounts to the full value of the land.

Land reform may also entail the transfer of land from individual ownership — even peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

 ownership in smallholding
A smallholding is a farm of small size.In third world countries, smallholdings are usually farms supporting a single family with a mixture of cash crops and subsistence farming. As a country becomes more affluent and farming practices become more efficient, smallholdings may persist as a legacy of...

s — to government-owned collective farms; it has also, in other times and places, referred to the exact opposite: division of government-owned collective farms into smallholdings. The common characteristic of all land reforms, however, is modification or replacement of existing institutional arrangements governing possession and use of land. Thus, while land reform may be radical in nature, such as through large-scale transfers of land from one group to another, it can also be less dramatic, such as regulatory reforms aimed at improving land administration.

Nonetheless, any revision or reform of a country’s land laws can still be an intensely political process, as reforming land policies serves to change relationships within and between communities, as well as between communities and the state. Thus even small-scale land reforms and legal modifications may be subject to intense debate or conflict.

Land ownership and tenure

Land ownership and tenure can be perceived as controversial in part because ideas defining what it means to access or control land, such as through “land ownership” or “land tenure,” can vary considerably across regions and even within countries. Land reforms, which change what it means to control land, therefore create tensions and conflicts between those who lose and those who gain from these redefinitions (see next section).

Western conceptions of land have evolved over the past several centuries to place greater emphasis on individual land ownership, formalized through documents such as land titles. Control over land, however, may also be perceived less in terms of individual ownership and more in terms land use, or through what is known as land tenure. Historically, in many parts of Africa for example, land was not owned by an individual, but rather used by an extended family or a village community. Different people in a family or community had different rights to access this land for different purposes and at different times. Such rights were often conveyed through oral history and not formally documented.

These different ideas of land ownership and tenure are sometimes referred to using different terminology. For example, “formal” or “statutory” land systems refer to ideas of land control more closely affiliated with individual land ownership. “Informal” or “customary” land systems refer to ideas of land control more closely affiliated with land tenure. tenure.

Terms dictating control over and use of land can therefore take many forms. Some specific examples of present day or historic forms of formal and informal land ownership include:
  • Traditional land tenure, as in the indigenous nations or tribes of North America in the Pre-Columbian
    The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

  • Feudal
    Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

     land ownership, through fiefdom
    A fee was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable lands granted under one of several varieties of feudal tenure by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the...

  • Life estate
    Life estate
    A life estate is a concept used in common law and statutory law to designate the ownership of land for the duration of a person's life. In legal terms it is an estate in real property that ends at death when there is a "reversion" to the original owner...

    , interest in real property that ends at death.
  • Fee tail
    Fee tail
    At common law, fee tail or entail is an estate of inheritance in real property which cannot be sold, devised by will, or otherwise alienated by the owner, but which passes by operation of law to the owner's heirs upon his death...

    , hereditary, non-transferable ownership of real property.
  • Fee simple
    Fee simple
    In English law, a fee simple is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership. It is the most common way that real estate is owned in common law countries, and is ordinarily the most complete ownership interest that can be had in real property short of allodial title, which is often reserved...

    . Under common law
    Common law
    Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

    , this is the most complete ownership interest one can have in real property
    Real property
    In English Common Law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is any subset of land that has been legally defined and the improvements to it made by human efforts: any buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, roads, various property rights, and so forth...

  • Leasehold or rental
    Renting is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another. A gross lease is when the tenant pays a flat rental amount and the landlord pays for all property charges regularly incurred by the ownership from landowners...

  • Rights to use a common
    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...

  • Sharecropping
    Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crop produced on the land . This should not be confused with a crop fixed rent contract, in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a fixed amount of...

  • Easement
    An easement is a certain right to use the real property of another without possessing it.Easements are helpful for providing pathways across two or more pieces of property or allowing an individual to fish in a privately owned pond...

  • Agricultural labor — under which someone works the land in exchange for money, payment in kind, or some combination of the two
  • Collective ownership
  • Access to land through a membership in a cooperative
    A cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit...

    , or shares in a corporation, which owns the land (typically by fee simple or its equivalent, but possibly under other arrangements).
  • Government collectives, such as those that might be found in communist states, whereby government ownership of most agricultural land is combined in various ways with tenure for farming collectives.

Arguments for and against land reform

Land reform is a deeply political process and therefore many arguments for and against it have emerged. These arguments vary tremendously over time and place. For example, in the twentieth century, many land reforms emerged from a particular political ideology, such as communism or socialism. Or, as can be seen in the 19th century in colonized states, a colonial government may have changed the laws dictating land ownership to better consolidate political power or to support its colonial economy. In more recent times, electoral mobilization and the use of land as a patronage resource have been proposed as possible motivations for land reform efforts, such as the extensive redistributive land reforms of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

Arguments for land reform

Land reforms need not be as dramatic in scale as Zimbabwe. Today many arguments in support of land reform focus on its potential social and economic benefits, particularly in developing countries, that may emerge from reforms focused on greater land formalization. Such benefits may include eradicating food insecurity and alleviating rural poverty.
Arguments in support of such reforms gained particular momentum after the publication of "The Mystery of Capital" by Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto (economist)
Hernando de Soto is a Peruvian economist known for his work on the informal economy and on the importance of business and property rights. He is the president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy , located in Lima, Peru.-Childhood and education:Hernando de Soto was born in 1941 in Arequipa,...

 in 2000. The poor, he argues, are often unable to secure formal property rights, such as land titles, to the land on which they live or farm because of poor governance, corruption and/or overly complex bureaucracies. Without land titles or other formal documentation of their land assets, they are less able to access formal credit. Political and legal reforms within countries, according to de Soto, will help to include the poor in formal legal and economic systems, increase the poor’s ability to access credit and contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.

Many international development organizations and bilateral and multilateral donors, such as the World Bank, have embraced de Soto’s ideas, or similar ideas, about the benefits of greater formalized land rights. This has translated into a number of development programs that work with governments and civil society organizations to initiate and implement land reforms. Evidence to support the economic and pro-poor benefits of increased formalized land rights are, however, still inconclusive according to some critics (see "Arguments against land reform" below).

Other arguments in support of land reform point to the need to alleviate conflicting land laws, particularly in former colonies, where formal and informal land systems may exist in tension with each other. Such conflicts can make marginalized groups vulnerable to further exploitation. For example, in many countries in Africa with conflicting land laws, AIDS stigmatization has led to an increasing number of AIDS widows being kicked off marital land by in-laws. While the woman may have both customary and statutory rights to the land, confusion over which set of laws has primacy, or even a lack of knowledge of relevant laws, leave many AIDS widows at a significant disadvantage. Also, conflicting formal and informal land laws can also clog a country’s legal system, making it prone to corruption.

Additional arguments for land reform focus on the potential environmental benefits of reform. For example, if reform leads to greater security of land ownership, through either formal or informal means, then those that use the land will be better stewards of it.

Arguments against land reform

Many of the arguments in support of land reform speak to its potentially positive social and economic outcomes. Yet, as mentioned previously, land reform is an intensely political process. Thus, many of those opposed to land reform are nervous as to the underlying motivations of those initiating the reform. For example, some may fear that they will disadvantaged or victimized as a result of the reforms. Others may fear that they will lose out in the economic and political power struggles that underlie many land reforms.

Other groups and individuals express concerns about land reforms focused on formalization of property rights. While the economic and social benefits of formalized land rights are often touted, some research suggests that such reforms are either ineffective or may cause further hardship or conflict.

Additional arguments against land reform focus on concerns over equity issues and potential elite capture of land, particularly in regards to reforms focused on greater land formalization. If improperly or inadequately implemented, critics worry that such reforms may further disadvantage marginalization groups such as indigenous communities or women. These concerns also lead to questions about the institutional capacity of governments to implement land reforms as they are designed. Even if a country does have this capacity, critics worry that corruption and patrimonalism will lead to further elite capture.

In looking at more radical reforms, such as large-scale land redistribution, arguments against reform include concerns that redistributed land will not be used productively and that owners of expropriated land will not be compensated adequately or compensated at all. Zimbabwe, again, is a commonly cited example of the perils of such large-scale reforms, whereby land redistribution contributed to economic decline and increased food insecurity in the country.

Evaluation of land reform

While many issues divide proponents and opponents of land reform, the questions below can help one to evaluate land reform in a more objective manner:
  • Is private property of any sort legitimate? If so, is land ownership legitimate and are historic property rights in this particular state and society legitimate?
  • Even if property rights are legitimate, do they allow for or protect against expropriation? Do they entitle the property owner to partial or complete compensation of expropriated land?
  • How should property rights be weighed against other rights, such as the right to life and liberty?
  • Who should adjudicate land ownership disputes?
  • What constitutes fair land reform?
  • What are the social, economic and political effects of land reform?

Land reform efforts

Agrarian land reform has been a recurring theme of enormous consequence in world history — see, for example, the history of the Semproninan Law or Lex Sempronia agraria proposed by Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus
Tiberius Gracchus
Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was a Roman Populares politician of the 2nd century BC and brother of Gaius Gracchus. As a plebeian tribune, his reforms of agrarian legislation caused political turmoil in the Republic. These reforms threatened the holdings of rich landowners in Italy...

 and passed by the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 (133 BC), which led to the social and political wars that ended the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...


A historically important source of pressure for land reform has been the accumulation of significant properties by tax-exempt individuals or entities. In ancient Egypt, the tax exemption for temple lands eventually drove almost all the good land into the hands of the priestly class, making them immensely rich (and leaving the world a stunning legacy of monumental temple architecture that still impresses several millennia later), but starving the government of revenue
Starve the beast
"Starving the beast" is a fiscal-political strategy of some American conservatives to cut taxes in order to deprive the government of revenue in a deliberate effort to create a fiscal budget crisis that would then force the federal government to reduce spending...

. In Rome, the land tax exemption for the noble senatorial families had a similar effect, leading to Pliny's famous observation that the latifundia (vast landed estates) had ruined Rome, and would likewise ruin the provinces. In the Christian world, this has frequently been true of churches and monasteries, a major reason that many of the French revolutionaries saw the Catholic Church as an accomplice of the landed aristos. In the Moslem world, land reforms such as that organized in Spain by al-Hurr in 718 have transferred property from Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s to Christians, who were taxable by much higher rates.

In the modern world and in the aftermath of colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 and the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, land reform has occurred around the world, from 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...

 (1917; the revolution began in 1910) to Communist China to Bolivia (1952, 2006) to Zimbabwe and Namibia. Land reform has been especially popular as part of decolonization
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

 struggles in Africa and the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, where it was part of the program for African socialism
African socialism
African socialism is a belief in sharing economic resources in a "traditional" African way, as distinct from classical socialism. Many African politicians of the 1950s and 1960s professed their support for African socialism, although definitions and interpretations of this term varied...

 and Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...

. Cuba has seen one of the most complete agrarian reforms in Latin America. Land reform was an important step in achieving economic development in many Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

 countries since the post-World War II period, especially in the East Asian Tigers
East Asian Tigers
The Four Asian Tigers or Asian Dragons is a term used in reference to the highly developed economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. These nations and areas were notable for maintaining exceptionally high growth rates and rapid industrialization between the early 1960s and 1990s...

 and "Tiger Cubs" nations such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Malaysia.

Since mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

's economic reforms led by Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 land reforms have also played a key role in the development of the People's Republic of China, with the re-emergence of rich property developers in urban areas (though as in Hong Kong, land in China is not privately owned but leased from the state, typically on very long terms that allow substantial opportunity for private speculative gain).

Latin America

  • Brazil: In the 1930s, Getúlio Vargas
    Getúlio Vargas
    Getúlio Dornelles Vargas served as President of Brazil, first as dictator, from 1930 to 1945, and in a democratically elected term from 1951 until his suicide in 1954. Vargas led Brazil for 18 years, the most for any President, and second in Brazilian history to Emperor Pedro II...

     reneged on a promised land reform. A first attempt to make a national scale reform was set up in the government of José Sarney
    José Sarney
    José Sarney de Araújo Costa is a Brazilian lawyer, writer and politician. He served as president of Brazil from 15 March 1985 to 15 March 1990....

    , as a result of the strong popular movement that had contributed to the fall of the military government. However, the so-called First Land Reform National Plan never was put into force. Strong campaign including direct action
    Direct action
    Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

     by the Landless Workers' Movement
    Landless Workers' Movement
    Landless Workers' Movement is a social movement in Brazil; it is the second largest social movement in Latin America with an estimated 1.5 million landless members in 23 out of Brazil's 26 states. The MST states it carries out land reform in a country it sees as mired by unjust land distribution...

     throughout the 1990s has managed to get some advances for the past 10 years, during the Fernando Cardoso and Lula da Silva administrations.
  • Bolivia: The revolution of 1952 was followed by a land reform law (Law Decree 3464) on August 2, 1953. However, in 1970 only 45% of peasant families had received title to land, although more land reform projects continued in the 1970s and 1980s. A 1996 Agrarian Reform Law (also ) increased protection for smallholdings and indigenous territories, but also protected absentee landholders who pay taxes from expropriation. Bolivian president Evo Morales
    Evo Morales
    Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

     restarted land reform when he took office in 2006. On 29 November 2006, the Bolivian Senate passed a bill authorizing the government redistribution of land among the nation's mostly indigenous poor. The bill was signed into law hours later, though significant opposition is expected
  • Chile: Attempts at land reform began under the government of Jorge Alessandri
    Jorge Alessandri
    Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez was the 27th President of Chile from 1958 to 1964, and was the candidate of the Chilean right in the crucial presidential election of 1970...

     in 1960, were accelerated during the government of Eduardo Frei Montalva
    Eduardo Frei Montalva
    Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean political leader of world stature. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970...

     (1964–1970), and reached its climax during the 1970-1973 presidency of Salvador Allende. Farms of more than 198 acres (80 hectares) were expropriated. After the 1973 coup
    Chilean coup of 1973
    The 1973 Chilean coup d'état was a watershed event of the Cold War and the history of Chile. Following an extended period of political unrest between the conservative-dominated Congress of Chile and the socialist-leaning President Salvador Allende, discontent culminated in the latter's downfall in...

     the process was halted, and up to a point reversed by the market forces.
  • Colombia: Alfonso López Pumarejo
    Alfonso López Pumarejo
    Alfonso López Pumarejo was a two-time Colombian president and political figure, as a member of the Colombian Liberal Party. He served as president of Colombia for the first time between 1934 and 1938 and again between 1942 and 1945....

     (1934–1938) passed the Law 200 of 1936, which allowed for the expropriation of private properties, in order to promote "social interest". Later attempts declined, until the National Front presidencies of Alberto Lleras Camargo
    Alberto Lleras Camargo
    Alberto Lleras Camargo was an important Colombian diplomat and political figure.He was a member of the Liberal Party of Colombia; he served as congressman , Minister of Education, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs, during the governments of Alfonso López Pumarejo and Eduardo...

     (1958–1962) and Carlos Lleras Restrepo
    Carlos Lleras Restrepo
    Carlos Lleras Restrepo was a Colombian lawyer and political figure, President of Colombia .- Biographic data :...

     (1966–1970), which respectively created the Colombian Institute for Agrarian Reform (INCORA) and further developed land entitlement. In 1968 and 1969 alone, the INCORA issued more than 60,000 land titles to farmers and workers. Despite this, matsetela (2000) stated that the process was then halted and the situation began to reverse itself, as the subsequent violent actions of drug lords, paramilitaries, guerrillas and opportunistic large landowners severely contributed to a renewed concentration of land and to the displacement of small landowners. In the early 21st century, tentative government plans to use the land legally expropriated from drug lords and/or the properties given back by demobilized paramilitary groups have not caused much practical improvement yet.
  • Cuba: (See also main article Agrarian Reform Laws of Cuba
    Agrarian Reform Laws of Cuba
    The agrarian reform laws of Cuba sought to break up large landholdings and redistribute land to those peasants who worked it, to cooperatives, and the state. Laws relating to land reform were implemented in a series of laws passed between 1959 and 1963 after the Cuban Revolution...

    ) Land reform was among the chief planks of the revolutionary platform of 1959. Almost all large holdings were seized by the National Institute for Agrarian Reform (INRA), which dealt with all areas of agricultural policy. A ceiling of 166 acres (67 hectares) was established, and tenants were given ownership rights, though these rights are constrained by government production quotas and a prohibition of real estate transactions.
  • El Salvador: One among several land reform efforts was made during the revolution/civil-war during the 1980s. Salvadoran President Thapelo Miglous Matsetela promoted land-reform as counter-strategy in the war, while the FMLN carried out their own land-reform in the territory under their control.
  • Guatemala: land reform occurred during the "Ten Years of Spring", 1944–1954 under the governments of Juan José Arévalo
    Juan José Arévalo
    Juan José Arévalo Bermejo was the first of the reformist presidents of Guatemala. Preceded by military junta interregnum after a definitive pro-democracy revolt in 1944...

     and Jacobo Arbenz. It has been remarked that it was one of the most successful land reforms in history, given that it was relatively thorough and had minimal detrimental effects on the economy and on the incomes of wealthy classes (who were mostly spared because only uncultivated land was expropriated). The reforms were reversed entirely after a US-backed coup deposed the Arbenz government.
  • Mexico: The first land reform was driven by Ley Lerdo (the Lerdo Law of 1856), enacted by the liberals during the Reform War
    Reform War
    The Reform War in Mexico is one of the episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted a federalist government, limiting traditional Catholic Church and military influence in the country...

     of the 1850s. One of the aims of the reform government was to develop the economy by returning to productive cultivation the underutilized lands of the Church and the municipal communities (Indian commons), which required the distribution of these lands to small owners. This was to be accomplished through the provisions of Ley Lerdo that prohibited ownership of land by the Church and the municipalities. The reform government also financed its war effort by seizing and selling church property and other large estates. After the war the principles of the Ley Lerdo were perverted by Pres. Porfirio Diaz
    Porfirio Díaz
    José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

    , which contributed to causing 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 1910. A certain degree of land reform was introduced, albeit unevenly, as part of 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...

    . Francisco Madero and Emiliano Zapata
    Emiliano Zapata
    Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution...

     were strongly identified with land reform, as are the present-day (as of 2006) Zapatista Army of National Liberation
    Zapatista Army of National Liberation
    The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is a revolutionary leftist group based in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico....

    . See Mexican Agrarian Land Reform.
  • Nicaragua: Land reform was one of the programs of the Sandinista government. The last months of Sandinista rule were criticized for the Piñata Plan which distributed large tracts of land to prominent Sandinistas.
  • Peru: land reform in the 1950s largely eliminated a centuries-old system of debt peonage
    Debt bondage
    Debt bondage is when a person pledges him or herself against a loan. In debt bondage, the services required to repay the debt may be undefined, and the services' duration may be undefined...

    . Further land reform occurred after the 1968 coup by left-wing
    Left-wing politics
    In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

     colonel Juan Velasco Alvarado, and again as part of a counterterrorism effort against the Shining Path
    Shining Path
    Shining Path is a Maoist guerrilla terrorist organization in Peru. The group never refers to itself as "Shining Path", and as several other Peruvian groups, prefers to be called the "Communist Party of Peru" or "PCP-SL" in short...

      during the Internal conflict in Peru
    Internal conflict in Peru
    It has been estimated that nearly 70,000 people died in the internal conflict in Peru that started in 1980 and, although still ongoing, had greatly wound down by 2000. The principal actors in the war were the Shining Path , the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement and the government of Peru.A great...

     roughly 1988–1995, led by Hernando de Soto
    Hernando de Soto (economist)
    Hernando de Soto is a Peruvian economist known for his work on the informal economy and on the importance of business and property rights. He is the president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy , located in Lima, Peru.-Childhood and education:Hernando de Soto was born in 1941 in Arequipa,...

     and the Institute for Liberty and Democracy
    Institute for Liberty and Democracy
    The Institute for Liberty and Democracy is a Lima-based think tank devoted to the promotion of property rights in developing countries...

     during the early years of the government of Alberto Fujimori
    Alberto Fujimori
    Alberto Fujimori Fujimori served as President of Peru from 28 July 1990 to 17 November 2000. A controversial figure, Fujimori has been credited with the creation of Fujimorism, uprooting terrorism in Peru and restoring its macroeconomic stability, though his methods have drawn charges of...

    , before the latter's auto-coup.
  • Venezuela: Hugo Chávez
    Hugo Chávez
    Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

    's government enacted Plan Zamora to redistribute government and unused private land to campesinos in need.

Middle East and North Africa

Land reform is discussed in the article on Arab Socialism
Arab socialism
Arab socialism is a political ideology based on an amalgamation of Pan-Arabism and socialism. Arab socialism is distinct from the much broader tradition of socialist thought in the Arab world, which predates Arab socialism by as much as fifty years...

  • Egypt: Initially, Egyptian land reform
    Egyptian land reform
    The post-revolution Egyptian Land Reform was an effort to change land ownership practices in Egypt following the 1952 Revolution launched by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers Movement.-Problems prior to 1952:...

     essentially abolished the political influence of major land owners. However, land reform only resulted in the redistribution of about 15% of Egypt's land under cultivation, and by the early 1980s, the effects of land reform in Egypt drew to a halt as the population of Egypt moved away from agriculture. The Egyptian land reform laws were greatly curtailed under Anwar Sadat
    Anwar Sadat
    Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

     and eventually abolished.
  • Syria: Land reforms were first implemented in Syria during 1958. The Agricultural Relations Law laid down a redistribution of rights in landownership, tenancy and management . A culmination of factors led to the halt of the reforms in 1961, these included opposition from large landowners and sever crop failure during a drought between 1958 and 1961, whilst Syria was a member of the doomed United Arab Republic (UAR). After the Ba'th Party gained power in 1963 the reforms were resumed.
The reforms were portrayed by the governing Ba'th Party as politically motivated to benefit the rural property-less communities. According to Arsuzi, a co-founder of the Ba'th Party, the reforms would, "liberate 75 percent of the Syrian population and prepare them to be citizens qualified to participate in the building of the state".
It has been argued that the land reform represented work by the 'socialist government' however, by 1984 the private sector controlled 74 percent of Syria's arable land. This questions both Ba'th claims of commitment to the redistribution of land to the majority of peasants as well as the state government being socialist - if it allowed the majority of land to be owned in the private sector how could it truly be socialist. Hinnebusch argued that the reforms were a way of galvanising support from the large rural population, "they[Ba'th Party members] used the implementation of agrarian reform to win over and organise peasants and curb traditional power in the countryside". To this extent the reforms succeeded with increase in Ba'th party membership, they also prevented political threat emerging from rural areas by bringing the rural population into the system as supporters.

  • Iran: Significant land reform in Iran took place under the Shah as part of the socio-economic reforms of the White Revolution, begun in 1962, and agreed upon through a public referendum. At this time the Iranian economy was not performing well and there was political unrest. Essentially, the land reforms amounted to a huge redistribution of land to rural peasants who previously had no possibility of owning land as they were poorly paid labourers.

The land reforms continued from 1962 until 1971 with three distinct phases of land distribution: private, government-owned and endowed land. These reforms resulted in the newly-created peasant landowners owning six to seven million hectares, around 52-63% of Iran's agricultural land. According to Country-Data, even though there had been a considerable redistribution of land, the amount received by individual peasants was not enough to meet most families' basic needs, "About 75 percent of the peasant owners [however] had less than 7 hectares, an amount generally insufficient for anything but subsistence agriculture.".

By 1979 a quarter of prime land was in disputed ownership and half of the productive land was in the hands of 200,000 absentee landlords The large land owners were able to retain the best land with the best access to fresh water and irrigation facilities. In contrast, not only were the new peasant land holdings too small to produce an income but the peasants also lacked both quality irrigation system and sustained government support to enable them to develop their land to make a reasonable living. Set against the economic boom from oil revenue it became apparent that the Land Reforms did not make life better for the rural population: according to Amid, "..only a small group of rural people experienced increasing improvements in their welfare and poverty remained the lot of the majority".

Moghadam argues that the structural changes to Iran, including the land reforms, initiated by the White Revolution, contributed to the revolution in 1979 which overthrew the Shah and turned Iran into an Islamic republic.

  • Maghreb
    The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

    : As elsewhere in North Africa, lands formerly held by European farmers have been taken over. The nationalisation of agricultural land in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia led to the departure of the majority of Europeans.

  • Iraq (1970) mentioned in Arab Socialism
    Arab socialism
    Arab socialism is a political ideology based on an amalgamation of Pan-Arabism and socialism. Arab socialism is distinct from the much broader tradition of socialist thought in the Arab world, which predates Arab socialism by as much as fifty years...


  • Albania
    Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

     has gone through three waves of land reform since the end of World War II: in 1946 the land in estates and large farms was expropriated by the communist government and redistributed among small peasants; in the 1950s the land was reorganized into large-scale collective farms; and after 1991 the land was again redistributed among private smallholders. At the end of World War II, the farm structure in Albania was characterized by high concentration of land in large farms. In 1945, farms larger than 10 hectares, representing numerically a mere 3% of all farms in the country, managed 27% of agricultural land and just seven large estates (out of 155,000 farms) controlled 4% of agricultural land, averaging more than 2,000 hectares each (compared to the average farm size of 2.5 hectares at that time). The first post-war constitution of independent Albania (March 1946) declared that land belonged to the tiller and that large estates under no circumstances could be owned by private individuals (article 10). The post-war land reform of 1946 redistributed 155,000 hectares (40% of the land stock) from 19,355 relatively large farms (typically larger than 5 hectares) to 70,211 small farms and landless households. As a result, the share of large farms with more than 10 hectares declined from 27% of agricultural land in 1945 to 3% in 1954. By 1954, more than 90% of land was held in small and mid-sized farms of between 1 hectare and 10 hectares. The distributive effects of the post-war land reform were eliminated by the collectivization drive of the late 1950s-early 1960s, and by 1962 less than 18% of agricultural land had remained in family farms and household plot
    Household plot
    Household plot is a legally defined farm type in all former socialist countries in CIS and CEE. This is a small plot of land attached to a rural residence. The household plot is primarily cultivated for subsistence and its traditional purpose since the Soviet times has been to provide the family...

    s (the rest had shifted to Soviet-style collective and state farms
    A kolkhoz , plural kolkhozy, was a form of collective farming in the Soviet Union that existed along with state farms . The word is a contraction of коллекти́вное хозя́йство, or "collective farm", while sovkhoz is a contraction of советское хозяйство...

    ). By 1971 independent family farms had virtually disappeared and individual farming survived only in household plots cultivated part time by cooperative members (approximately 6% of agricultural land). The post-communist land reform begun in 1991 as part of the transition to the market
    Transition economy
    A transition economy or transitional economy is an economy which is changing from a centrally planned economy to a free market. Transition economies undergo economic liberalization, where market forces set prices rather than a central planning organization and trade barriers are removed,...

     was in effect a replay of the 1946 land reform, and the arable land held in cooperatives and state farms was equally distributed among all rural households without regard to pre-communist ownership rights. Contrary to other transition countries
    Transition economy
    A transition economy or transitional economy is an economy which is changing from a centrally planned economy to a free market. Transition economies undergo economic liberalization, where market forces set prices rather than a central planning organization and trade barriers are removed,...

     in Central and Eastern Europe
    Central and Eastern Europe
    Central and Eastern Europe is a term describing former communist states in Europe, after the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989/90. In scholarly literature the abbreviations CEE or CEEC are often used for this concept...

    , Albania adopted a distributive land reform (like the CIS
    CIS usually refers to the Commonwealth of Independent States, a modern political entity consisting of eleven former Soviet Union republics.The acronym CIS may also refer to:-Organizations:...

    ) and did not restitute land to former owners. The post-communist land reform of the 1990s was accompanied by special land privatization legislation, as Albania was the only country outside the former Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     that had nationalized all agricultural land (in stages between 1946 and 1976).

  • Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

    : Upon independence in 1878 the overwhelmingly Turkish nobles estates were redistributed among peasant smallholdings. Additional reforms were implemented in 1920-23 and a maximum ownership 30 hectares was fixed.

  • Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

    : Major land reform was passed in 1919 redistributing mainly German noble's estates to peasant smallholdings. By 1937 60% of noble land was expropriated with remaining land mainly in unarable arias or German and Hungarian lands. Almost all remaining lands were redistributed in reforms of 1945 and 1948.

  • Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

    : In 1849 a section in the constitution had forbidden the creation of new fiefs
    A fee was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable lands granted under one of several varieties of feudal tenure by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the...

     and promised the abolition of existing fiefs. However fiefholders dominated the government and it was not until 1919 that the necessary legislation could be passed. This legislation transferred the fiefs to ordinary property that could be bought, sold and inherited like all other property. The state previously gained ownership to the fief if there was no male heirs and as compensation for the loss of this right the state demanded a one-time 25 % tax on the land and inventory of the fiefs. The value of the fiefs was assessed by the state itself. The tax rose each year the fiefholders waited to abolish their fiefs so the fiefs quickly disappeared. As part of the reform the state was entitled to take over one third of the land for a compensation that has since been criticised for being too small. This land was later handed over to smallholders. The tax levied on the estates as well as the division of land by ingheritance meant that the large estates as well as the estate holder class disappeared from Danish society and politics.

  • Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    : In the general reparcelling out of land, begun in 1757 when Finland was a part of Sweden, the medieval model of all fields consisting of numerous strips, each belonging to a farm, was replaced by a model of fields and forest areas each belonging to a single farm. In the further reparcellings, which started in 1848 when Finland was part of Russia, the idea of concentrating all the land in a farm to a single piece of real estate was reinforced. In these reparcelling processes, the land is redistributed in direct proportion to earlier prescription. Both the general reparcelling and the further reparcelling processes are still active in some parts of the country. After the Finnish Civil War
    Finnish Civil War
    The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

    , when Finland had become independent, a series of land reforms followed. These included the compensated transfer of lease-holdings (torppa) to the leasers and prohibition of forestry companies to acquire land. After the Second World War, Karelia
    Karelia , the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden...

    ns evacuated from areas ceded to Russia were given land in remaining Finnish areas, taken from public and private holdings. The war veterans also benefited from these allotments.

  • France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    : a major and lasting land reform took place under the Directory
    French Directory
    The Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate...

     during the latter phases of the French Revolution
    French Revolution
    The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...


  • Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

    : At independence in 1835 the predominately Turkish nobles estates were redistributed as peasant smallholdings.

  • Estonia
    Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

     and Latvia
    Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

    : at their founding as states in 1918–1919, they expropriate the large estates of Baltic German
    Baltic German
    The Baltic Germans were mostly ethnically German inhabitants of the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, which today form the countries of Estonia and Latvia. The Baltic German population never made up more than 10% of the total. They formed the social, commercial, political and cultural élite in...

     landowners, most of which was distributed among the peasants and became smallholdings.

  • Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

    : In 1945 every estate bigger than 142 acres (57.5 ha) was expropriated without compensation and distributed among the peasants. In the 1950s collective ownership was introduced according to the Soviet model, but after 1990 co-ops were dissolved and the land was redistributed among private smallholders.

  • Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    : after the Irish Famine, land reform became the dominant issue in Ireland, where almost all of the land was owned by the Protestant Ascendancy
    Protestant Ascendancy
    The Protestant Ascendancy, usually known in Ireland simply as the Ascendancy, is a phrase used when referring to the political, economic, and social domination of Ireland by a minority of great landowners, Protestant clergy, and professionals, all members of the Established Church during the 17th...

    . The Irish Parliamentary Party
    Irish Parliamentary Party
    The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

     pressed for reform in a largely indifferent British House of Commons
    British House of Commons
    The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

    . Reform began tentatively in 1870 and continued for fifty years during which a number of Irish Land Acts
    Irish Land Acts
    The Land Acts were a series of measures to deal with the question of peasant proprietorship of land in Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Five such acts were introduced by the government of the United Kingdom between 1870 and 1909...

     were passed (see also Land War
    Land War
    The Land War in Irish history was a period of agrarian agitation in rural Ireland in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s. The agitation was led by the Irish National Land League and was dedicated to bettering the position of tenant farmers and ultimately to a redistribution of land to tenants from...


  • Lithuania
    Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

    : the major land reform was initiated since the 1919 and was fully launched in 1922. The excess land was taken from the major landowners, mostly aristocracy, and redistributed among new landowners, primarily soldiers, or small landowners, 65,000 in total.

  • Montenegro
    Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

     and Serbia
    Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

    : At independence in 1830 the predominately Turkish nobles estates were divided up among peasant smallholdings.

  • Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    : there have been several land reforms in Poland. The most important include the land reforms in the Second Polish Republic
    Second Polish Republic
    The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

     (1919, 1921, 1923, 1925 and 1928) and in the People's Republic of Poland
    People's Republic of Poland
    The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...


  • Prussia
    Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

    : One of Europe's earliest planned land redistributions was carried out in response to Napoleon's land reforms by Prussian King Frederick William I
    Frederick William I
    Frederick William I * Frederick William I, Duke of Saxe-Weimar * Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, the "Great Elector" of Brandenburg-Prussia * King Frederick William I of Prussia...

    . Land owners were compensated for lost land. The reform helped to create an empowered middle class of Prussian small farmers.

  • Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    : After failed attempts at land reform by Mihail Kogălniceanu
    Mihail Kogalniceanu
    Mihail Kogălniceanu was a Moldavian-born Romanian liberal statesman, lawyer, historian and publicist; he became Prime Minister of Romania October 11, 1863, after the 1859 union of the Danubian Principalities under Domnitor Alexander John Cuza, and later served as Foreign Minister under Carol I. He...

     in the years immediately after Romanian unification in 1863, a major land reform finally occurred in 1921, with a few additional reforms carried out in 1945.

  • Slovenia
    Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

     and Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

    : With absorption into the kingdom of Yugoslavia, land reform was passed in 1919 with subsidiary laws thereafter redistributing nobles estates among peasant smallholders. Additional reform was implemented in 1945 under the communist.

  • Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

    • Imperial Russia: Stolypin reform
      Stolypin reform
      The Stolypin agrarian reforms were a series of changes to Imperial Russia's agricultural sector instituted during the tenure of Pyotr Stolypin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers...

    • Bolshevist Russia
      Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
      The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

      : Decree on Land
      Decree on Land
      The Decree on Land, written by Vladimir Lenin, was passed by the Second Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies on 26 October 1917, following the success of the October Revolution. It decreed an abolition of private property, and the redistribution of the landed estates...

  • Scotland
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

    : the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003
    Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003
    The Land Reform Act 2003 is an Act of the Scottish Parliament. It created a framework for responsible access to land and inland water, formalising the tradition in Scotland of unhindered access to open countryside, provided that care was taken not to cause damage or interfere with activities...

     ends the historic legacy of feudal law and creates a framework for rural or croft
    Croft (land)
    A croft is a fenced or enclosed area of land, usually small and arable with a crofter's dwelling thereon. A crofter is one who has tenure and use of the land, typically as a tenant farmer.- Etymology :...

     communities right to buy land in their area.

  • Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    : In 1757, the general reparcelling out of land began. In this process, the medieval principle of dividing all the fields in a village into strips, each belonging to a farm, was changed into a principle of each farm consisting of a few relatively large areas of land. The land was redistributed in proportion to earlier possession of land, while uninhabited forests far from villages were socialized. In the 20th century, Sweden, almost non-violently, arrived at regulating the length minimum of tenant farming contracts at 25 years.


  • Ethiopia: The Derg
    The Derg or Dergue was a Communist military junta that came to power in Ethiopia following the ousting of Haile Selassie I. Derg, which means "committee" or "council" in Ge'ez, is the short name of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army, a committee of...

     carried out one of the most extensive land reforms
    Land reform in Ethiopia
    The problem of Land reform in Ethiopia has hampered that country's economic development throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries. Attempts to modernize land ownership by giving title either to the peasants who till the soil, or to large-scale farming programs, have been tried under imperial...

     in Africa in 1975.
  • Kenya: Kenyatta launched a "willing buyer-willing seller" based land reform program in the 1960s, funded by Britain, the former colonial power. In 2006 president Mwai Kibaki
    Mwai Kibaki
    Mwai Kibaki is the current and third President of the republic of Kenya.Kibaki was previously Vice President of Kenya for ten years from 1978–1988 and also held cabinet ministerial positions, including a widely acclaimed stint as Minister for Finance , Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for...

     said it will repossess all land owned by "absentee landlords" in the coastal strip and redistribute it to squatters.
  • Namibia: A limited land reform has been a hallmark of the regime of Sam Nujoma
    Sam Nujoma
    Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna Nujoma is a Namibian politician who was the first President of Namibia from 1990 to 2005. He led the South-West Africa People's Organisation in its long struggle against South African rule and took office as President when Namibia obtained independence on 21 March 1990...

    ; legislation passed in September 1994, with a compulsory, compensated approach.
  • South Africa:The Native Lands Act of 1913 “prohibited the establishment of new farming operations, sharecropping or cash rentals by blacks outside of the reserves” where they were forced to live. "Land restitution" was one of the promises made by the African National Congress
    African National Congress
    The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

     when it came to power in South Africa in 1994.

These property rights are extremely important as, not only do they empower farmer workers (who now have the opportunity to become farmers) and reduce inequality but they also increase production due to inverse farm size productivity. Farmers with smaller plots who live on the farm, often use family members for labor, making these farms efficient. Their transaction costs are less than larger plots with hired labor. Since many of these family members were unemployed it allows previously unemployed people to now participate in the economy and better the country’s economic growth.

The Land Reform Process focused on three areas: restitution, land tenure reform and land redistribution. Restitution, where the government compensates (monetary) individuals who had been forcefully removed, has been very unsuccessful and the policy has now shifted to redistribution with secure land tenure. Land tenure reform is a system of recognizing people’s right to own land and therefore control of the land.

Redistribution is the most important component of land reform in South Africa. Initially, land was bought from its owners (willing seller) by the government (willing buyer) and redistributed, in order to maintain public confidence in the land market.
Although this system has worked in various countries in the world, in South Africa is has proved to be very difficult to implement. This is because many owners do not actually see the land they are purchasing and are not involved in the important decisions made at the beginning of the purchase and negotiation.

In 2000 the South African Government decided to review and change the redistribution and tenure process to a more decentralized and area based planning process. The idea is to have local integrated development plans in 47 districts. This will hopefully mean more community participation and more redistribution taking place, but there are also various concerns and challenges with this system too.

These include the use of third parties, agents accredited by the state, and who are held accountable to the government. The result has been local land holding elites dominating the system in many of these areas. The government still hopes that with “improved identification and selection of beneficiaries, better planning of land and ultimately greater productivity of the land acquired...” the land reform process will begin moving faster.
As of early 2006, the ANC
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 government announced that it will start expropriating
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 the land, although according to the country's chief land-claims commissioner, Tozi Gwanya, unlike Zimbabwe there will be compensation to those whose land is expropriated, "but it must be a just amount, not inflated sums."

Despite these moves towards decentralization, these improved practices and government promises are not very evident. South Africa still remains hugely unequal, with black South Africans still dispossessed of land and many still homeless. The challenge for the incumbent politicians is to improve the various bureaucratic processes, and find solutions to giving more South Africans secure land tenure.
  • Zimbabwe: Efforts at land reform in Zimbabwe
    Land reform in Zimbabwe
    Land reform in Zimbabwe officially began in 1979 with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, an effort to more equitably distribute land between the historically disenfranchised blacks and the minority-whites who ruled Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1979...

     under Robert Mugabe
    Robert Mugabe
    Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980...

     moved, after 15 years, in the 1990s, from a "willing seller, willing buyer" approach to the "fast track" land reform program. This was accelerated by "popular seizure" led by machete gangs of "war veterans" associated with the ruling party. Many parcels of land came under the control of people close to the government, as is the case throughout Africa. The several forms of forcible change in management caused a severe drop in production and other economic disruptions. In addition, the human rights violations and bad press led Britain, the European Union, the United States, and other Western allies to impose sanctions on the Zimbabwean government. All this has caused the collapse of the economy. The results have been disastrous and have resulted in widespread food shortages and large scale refugee flight.

North America

  • Canada: A land reform was carried out as part of Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

    's agreement to join the Canadian Confederation
    Canadian Confederation
    Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

     in 1873. Most of the land was owned by absentee landlords in England, and as part of the deal Canada was to buy all the land and give it to the farmers.
  • United States:
    • Following the American Civil War
      American Civil War
      The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

      , the Radical Republicans attempted to put a land reform through Congress, promising "forty acres and a mule" to newly-freed blacks in the South, which was ultimately rejected by moderate elements as "socialistic."
    • The Dawes Act
      Dawes Act
      The Dawes Act, adopted by Congress in 1887, authorized the President of the United States to survey Indian tribal land and divide the land into allotments for individual Indians. The Act was named for its sponsor, Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts. The Dawes Act was amended in 1891 and again...

       of 1887 split the Indian
      Native Americans in the United States
      Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

       tribal lands into allotments held by individual Indians. Most tribal land still owned by ethnic Indians was recollectivized in 1934.


  • Afghanistan has had a couple of attempts at land reform
    • The government of Mohammad Daoud Khan responded to the inequities of the existing land tenure conditions by issuing a Land Reform Law in 1975.
      • The government limited individual holdings to a maximum of 20 hectares of irrigated, double-cropped land.
      • Larger holdings were allowed for less productive land.
      • The government was to expropriate all surplus land and pay compensation.
      • To prevent the proliferation of small, uneconomic holdings, priority for redistributed lands was to be given to neighboring farmers with two hectares or less.
      • Landless sharecroppers, laborers, tenants, and nomads had next priority.
    • Despite the government's rhetorical commitment to land reform, the program was quickly postponed. Because the government's landholding limits applied to families, not individuals, wealthy families avoided expropriation by dividing their lands nominally between family members. The high ceilings for landholdings restricted the amount of land actually subject to redistribution. Finally, the government lacked the technical data and organizational bodies to pursue the program after it was announced.
    • Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA)
      • The first step was Decree No. 6, which canceled gerau and other mortgage debts of agricultural laborers, tenants, and small landowners with less than two hectares of land. The cancellation applied only to debts contracted before 1973.
      • Decree No. 8 November 1978: New landholdings from the 20 hectares of prime irrigated land in the 1975 law to just six hectares. It divided all land into seven classes and again allowed for larger holdings of less productive land.
        • no compensation for government-expropriated surplus land
        • established categories of farmers who had priority for redistributed land; sharecroppers already working on the land had highest priority.

  • China has been through a series of land reforms:
    • In the 1940s, the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction
      Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction
      Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction Established in 1948.After intensive lobbying by Y.C. James Yen, the American Congress included a provision in the China Aid Act of 1948 to fund an independent entity which would take advantage of Yen's experience in the Rural Reconstruction...

      , funded with American money, with the support of the national government, carried out land reform and community action programs in several provinces.
    • The thorough land reform launched by the Communist Party of China
      Communist Party of China
      The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

       in 1946, three years before the foundation of the People's Republic of China (PRC), won the party millions of supporters among the poor and middle peasantry. The land and other property of landlords were expropriated and redistributed so that each household in a rural village would have a comparable holding. This agrarian revolution was made famous in the West by William Hinton
      William H. Hinton
      William Howard Hinton was an American farmer and prolific writer. A Marxist, he is best known for his book Fanshen, published in 1966, a "documentary of revolution" which chronicled the land reform conducted by the Chinese Communist Party in the 1940s in Zhangzhuangcun , sometimes translated as...

      's book Fanshen. In 1948, Mao Zedong
      Mao Zedong
      Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

       envisaged that "one-tenth of the peasants" (or about 50,000,000) "would have to be destroyed" to facilitate agrarian reform. Jen Pi-shih, a member of the party's Central Committee, likewise stated in a 1948 speech that "30,000,000 landlords and rich peasants would have to be destroyed." Shortly after the founding of the PRC, land reform, according to Mao biographer Philip Short
      Philip Short
      Philip Short is a journalist and author.He was born in Bristol on 17 April 1945. He studied at Queens' College, Cambridge. After graduation, he spent from 1967 to 1973 as a freelance journalist, first in Malawi, then in Uganda. He then joined the BBC as a foreign correspondent. He worked there for...

      , "lurched violently to the left" with Mao laying down new guidelines for "not correcting excesses prematurely." Mao insisted that the people themselves, not the security organs
      Secret police
      Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

      , should become involved in the killing of landlords who had oppressed them. This was quite different from Soviet practice, in which the NKVD
      The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

       would arrest counterrevolutionaries and then have them secretly executed and often buried before sunrise. Mao felt that peasants who killed landlords with their bare hands would become permanently linked to the revolutionary process in a way that passive spectators could not be. Actual numbers killed in land reform are believed to have been lower, but did rank in the millions, as there was a policy to select "at least one landlord, and usually several, in virtually every village for public execution." R.J. Rummel, an analyst of government killings, or "democide
      Democide is a term revived and redefined by the political scientist R. J. Rummel as "the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder." Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder that are not covered by the...

      ", gives a "reasonably conservative figure" of about 4,500,000 landlords and better-off peasants killed. Philip Short estimates that at least one to three million landlords and members of their families were killed, either beaten to death on the spot by enraged peasants at mass meetings
      Struggle Session
      A struggle session was a form of public humiliation used by the Communist Party of China to enforce a reign of terror in the Mao Zedong era to shape public opinion and to humiliate, persecute, and/or execute political rivals, so-called class enemies...

       organized by local communist party work teams or reserved for public execution later on. Estimates abroad ranged as high as 28,000,000 deaths. In 1976 the U.S. State department
      United States Department of State
      The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

       estimated that there may have been a million killed in the land reform; Mao estimated that only 800,000 landlords were killed.
    • In the mid-1950s, a second land reform during the Great Leap Forward
      Great Leap Forward
      The Great Leap Forward of the People's Republic of China was an economic and social campaign of the Communist Party of China , reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern...

       compelled individual farmers to join collectives, which, in turn, were grouped into People's communes with centrally controlled property rights and an egalitarian principle of distribution. This policy was generally a failure in terms of production. The PRC reversed this policy in 1962 through the proclamation of the Sixty Articles. As a result, the ownership of the basic means of production was divided into three levels with collective land ownership vested in the production team (see also Ho [2001]).
    • A third land reform beginning in the late 1970s re-introduced the family-based contract system known as the Household Responsibility System, which had enormous initial success, followed by a period of relative stagnation
      Economic stagnation
      Economic stagnation or economic immobilism, often called simply stagnation or immobilism, is a prolonged period of slow economic growth , usually accompanied by high unemployment. Under some definitions, "slow" means significantly slower than potential growth as estimated by experts in macroeconomics...

      . Chen, Wang, and Davis [1998] suggest that the later stagnation was due, in part, to a system of periodic redistribution that encouraged over-exploitation rather than capital investment in future productivity
      Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of production. Productivity is a ratio of what is produced to what is required to produce it. Usually this ratio is in the form of an average, expressing the total output divided by the total input...

      . However, although land use rights were returned to individual farmers, collective land ownership was left undefined after the disbandment of the People's Communes.
    • Since 1998 China is in the midst of drafting the new Property Law
      Property law
      Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property and in personal property, within the common law legal system. In the civil law system, there is a division between movable and immovable property...

       which is the first piece of national legislation that will define the land ownership structure in China for years to come. The Property Law forms the basis for China's future land policy of establishing a system of freehold
      Fee simple
      In English law, a fee simple is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership. It is the most common way that real estate is owned in common law countries, and is ordinarily the most complete ownership interest that can be had in real property short of allodial title, which is often reserved...

      , rather than of private ownership (see also Ho, [2005]).

  • India: Due to the taxation and regulation under the British Raj
    British Raj
    British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

    , at the time of independence, India inherited a semi-feudal agrarian system, with ownership of land concentrated in the hands of a few individual landlords (Zamindar
    A Zamindar or zemindar , was an aristocrat, typically hereditary, who held enormous tracts of land and ruled over and taxed the bhikaaris who lived on batavaslam. Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as Maharaja , Raja , Nawab , and Mirza , Chowdhury , among others...

    s, Zamindari System). Since independence, there has been voluntary and state initiated/mediated land reforms in several states. The most notable and successful example of land reforms are in the states of West Bengal
    West Bengal
    West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

     and Kerala
    or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

    . After promising land reforms and elected to power in West Bengal in 1977, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
    Communist Party of India (Marxist)
    The Communist Party of India is a political party in India. It has a strong presence in the states of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. As of 2011, CPI is leading the state government in Tripura. It leads the Left Front coalition of leftist parties in various states and the national parliament of...

     (CPI(M)) kept their word and initiated gradual land reforms, such as Operation Barga
    Operation Barga
    Operation Barga was a land reform movement throughout rural West Bengal for recording the names of sharecroppers while avoiding the time-consuming method of recording through the settlement machinery. It bestowed on the bargadars, the legal protection against eviction by the landlords, and...

    . The result was a more equitable distribution of land among the landless farmers, and enumeration of landless farmers. This has ensured an almost life long loyalty from the farmers and the communists were in power till 2011 assembly election. In Kerala, the only other large state where the CPI(M) came to power, state administrations have actually carried out the most extensive land, tenancy and agrarian labor wage reforms in the non-socialist late-industrializing world. Another successful land reform program was launched in Jammu and Kashmir
    Jammu and Kashmir
    Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

     after 1947. However, this success was not replicated in other areas like the states of Andhra
    Andhra Pradesh
    Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

     and Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

    , where the more radical Communist Party of India (Maoist)
    Communist Party of India (Maoist)
    The Communist Party of India is a Maoist political party in India which aims to overthrow the government of India through violent means. It was founded on 21 September 2004, through the merger of the People's War, and the Maoist Communist Centre . The merger was announced to the public on October...

     or Naxalite
    The word Naxal, Naxalite or Naksalvadi is a generic term used to refer to various militant Communist groups operating in different parts of India under different organizational envelopes...

    s resorted to violence as it failed to secure power. In the state of Bihar
    Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

    , tensions between land owners militia, villagers and Maoists have resulted in numerous massacres. All in all, land reforms have been successful only in pockets of the country, as people have often found loopholes in the laws setting limits on the maximum area of land held by any one person.

  • Japan: The first land reform, called the Land Tax Reform
    Land Tax Reform (Japan 1873)
    The Japanese Land Tax Reform of 1873, or was started by the Meiji Government in 1873, or the 6th year of the Meiji era. It was a major restructuring of the previous land taxation system, and established the right of private land ownership in Japan for the first time.-Previous land taxation...

     or was passed in 1873 as a part of the Meiji Restoration
    Meiji Restoration
    The , also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform or Renewal, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868...

    . Another land reform of Japan was carried out in 1947 (at the occupied era
    Occupied Japan
    At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States with contributions also from Australia, India, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power...

     after World War II) by the instructions of SCAP
    Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
    Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World War II...

     by the proposal from the Japanese government. It was prepared before the defeat of the Greater Japanese Empire
    Empire of Japan
    The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

    . It is also called Nōchi-kaihō .

  • Sri Lanka: In 1972, the Government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike
    Sirimavo Bandaranaike
    Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike was a Sri Lankan politician and the world's first female head of government...

    , through the Land Reform Law, imposed a ceiling of twenty hectares on privately owned land and sought to distribute lands in excess of the ceiling for the benefit of landless peasants. Both land owned by public companies and paddy lands under ten hectares in extent were exempted from this ceiling. Between 1972 and 1974, the Land Reform Commission took over nearly 228,000 hectares. In 1975 the Land Reform (Amendment) Law brought over 169,000 hectares of plantations owned by companies (including British-owned companies) under state control.

  • Taiwan: In the 1950s, after the Nationalist government came to Taiwan, land reform and community development was carried out by the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction
    Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction
    Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction Established in 1948.After intensive lobbying by Y.C. James Yen, the American Congress included a provision in the China Aid Act of 1948 to fund an independent entity which would take advantage of Yen's experience in the Rural Reconstruction...

    . This course of action was made attractive, in part, by the fact that many of the large landowners were Japanese who had fled, and the other large landowners were compensated with Japanese commercial and industrial properties seized after Taiwan reverted from Japanese rule in 1945. The land program succeeded also because the Kuomintang
    The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

     were mostly from the mainland and had few ties to the remaining indigenous landowners. See also: Taiwan Land Reform Museum
    Taiwan Land Reform Museum
    The Taiwan Land Reform Museum is a museum located in Taipei, Taiwan. It was established on March 11, 1967. The purpose of the museum is to commemorate Taiwan's land reform.-Land reform in Taiwan:...

  • Vietnam: In the years after World War II, even before the formal division of Vietnam, land reform was initiated in North Vietnam
    North Vietnam
    The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

    . This land reform (1953–1956) redistributed land to more than 2 million poor peasants, but at a cost of from tens to hundreds of thousands of lives and was one of the main reason for the mass exodus of 1 million people from the North to the South in 1954. The probable democide for this four year period then totals 283,000 North Vietnamese. South Vietnam made several further attempts in the post-Diem years, the most ambitious being the Land to the Tiller
    Land to the Tiller (South Vietnam)
    Land to the Tiller was a land reform program attempted in South Vietnam in 1970 at the height of the Vietnam War.-References:*Mark Moyar, . Presented at 1996 Vietnam Symposium , 18-20 April 1996....

     program instituted in 1970 by President Nguyen Van Thieu
    Nguyen Van Thieu
    Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was president of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975. He was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam , became head of a military junta, and then president after winning a fraudulent election...

    . This limited individuals to 15 hectares, compensated the owners of expropriated tracts, and extended legal title to peasants who in areas under control of the South Vietnamese government to whom had land had previously been distributed by the Viet Cong.

  • South Korea: In 1945–1950, United States and South Korean authorities carried out a land reform that retained the institution of private property. They confiscated and redistributed all land held by the Japanese colonial government, Japanese companies, and individual Japanese colonists. The Korean government carried out a reform whereby Koreans with large landholdings were obliged to divest most of their land. A new class of independent, family proprietors was created.

  • Philippines: During the Macapagal Administration in the early 1960s, a limited land reform program was initiated in Central Luzon covering rice fields. During the martial law era of the Marcos Administration, Presidential Decree 27 instituted a land reform program covering rice and corn farms. Rice and corn production under this land reform program was heavily supported by the Marcos Administration with land distribution and financing program known as the Masagana 99 and other production loans that led to increased rice and corn production. The country produced enough rice for local consumption and became a rice exporter during that period. The Aquino Administration in the mid 1980s instituted a very controversial land reform known as CARP which covered all agricultural lands. The program led to rice shortages in the succeeding years and lasted for 20 years without accomplishing the goal of land distribution. The program caused entrepreneurs to stay away from agriculture and a number of productive farmers left the farming sector. The CARP was a monumental failure in terms of cost to the government and the landowners whose lands were subjective legal landgrabbing by the government. CARP expired at the end of December 2008.


  • Australia: See Aboriginal Land Rights Acts
    Aboriginal Land Rights Acts
    Commonwealth, State, and Territory Parliaments of Australia have passed legislation codifying and modifying native title under the common law. These include the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 and the Native Title Act 1993.-1966 Aboriginal Lands Trust Act:...

  • Fiji: In a reverse that proves the rule of land reform to benefit the native and indigenous
    Indigenous peoples
    Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

     people, the land in Fiji has always been owned by native Fijians, but much of it has been leased long-term to immigrant Indians
    Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin
    A Non-Resident Indian is an Indian citizen who has migrated to another country, a person of Indian origin who is born outside India, or a person of Indian origin who resides permanently outside India. Other terms with the same meaning are overseas Indian and expatriate Indian...

    . As these leases have reached their end-of-term native Fijians increasingly have refused to renew leases and have expelled the Indians.

See also

  • Agrarian reform
    Agrarian reform
    Agrarian reform can refer either, narrowly, to government-initiated or government-backed redistribution of agricultural land or, broadly, to an overall redirection of the agrarian system of the country, which often includes land reform measures. Agrarian reform can include credit measures,...

  • Anti-globalization movement
    Anti-globalization movement
    The anti-globalization movement, or counter-globalisation movement, is critical of the globalization of corporate capitalism. The movement is also commonly referred to as the global justice movement, alter-globalization movement, anti-globalist movement, anti-corporate globalization movement, or...

  • Communism
    Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

  • Eminent domain
    Eminent domain
    Eminent domain , compulsory purchase , resumption/compulsory acquisition , or expropriation is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent...

  • Georgism
    Georgism is an economic philosophy and ideology that holds that people own what they create, but that things found in nature, most importantly land, belong equally to all...

  • Homestead principle
    Homestead principle
    The homestead principle in law is the concept that one can gain ownership of a natural thing that currently has no owner by using it or building something out of it...

  • Land Banking
    Land banking
    Land banking is the practice of purchasing raw land with the intent to hold on to it until such a time as it is profitable to sell it on to others for more than was initially paid...

  • Land claim
  • Land rights
    Land rights
    Land law is the form of law that deals with the rights to use, alienate, or exclude others from land. In many jurisdictions, these species of property are referred to as real estate or real property, as distinct from personal property. Land use agreements, including renting, are an important...

  • 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...

  • Restitution
    The law of restitution is the law of gains-based recovery. It is to be contrasted with the law of compensation, which is the law of loss-based recovery. Obligations to make restitution and obligations to pay compensation are each a type of legal response to events in the real world. When a court...

  • Squatter

  • Inclosure
  • Land reform in Vietnam
    Land reform in Vietnam
    Land reform in Vietnam was a program of land reform in North Vietnam from 1953 to 1956. It followed the program of land reform in China from 1946 to 1953....

  • Land reform in Zimbabwe
    Land reform in Zimbabwe
    Land reform in Zimbabwe officially began in 1979 with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, an effort to more equitably distribute land between the historically disenfranchised blacks and the minority-whites who ruled Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1979...

Further reading

External links

Category:Economic history
Category:Land management
Category:Marxist theory

bn:ভূমি সংস্কার
bs:Agrarna reforma
ca:Reforma agrària
cy:Diwygio tir
es:Reforma agraria
eo:Agrara reformo
fr:Réforme agraire
hi:भूमि सुधार
hr:Agrarna reforma
it:Riforma agraria
he:רפורמה אגררית
lt:Žemės reformos Lietuvoje
pl:Reforma rolna
pt:Reforma agrária
qu:Chakra kamay allinchay
sl:Agrarna reforma
sr:Аграрна реформа
sh:Agrarna reforma
tr:Toprak reformu
ur:اصلاحات اراضی
vi:Cải cách ruộng đất
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