Throughout history the control of land has been the basis of power. Cadastral maps, records of property ownership, played an important role in the rise of modern Europe as tools for the consolidation and extension of land-based national power.
The Cadastral Map in the Service of the State, illustrated with 126 maps, traces the development and application of rural property mapping in Europe from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century. Beginning with a review of the roots of cadastral mapping in the Roman Empire, the authors concentrate on the use of cadastral maps in the Netherlands, France, England, the Nordic countries, the German lands, the territories of the Austrian Habsburgs, and the European colonies. During the sixteenth century government institutions began to use maps to secure economic and political bases; by the nineteenth century these maps had become tools for aggressive governmental control of land as tax bases, natural resources, and national territories. This work demonstrates how the seemingly neutral science of cartography became a political instrument for national
The manuscript of Cadastral Maps in the Service ofthe State was awarded the Kenneth Nebenzahl Prize in 1991.
Many property lines drawn in early America still survive today and continue to shape the landscape and character of the United States. Surprisingly, though, no one until now has thoroughly examined the process by which land was divided into private property and distributed to settlers from the beginning of colonization to early nationhood.
In this unprecedented study, Edward T. Price covers most areas of the United States in which the initial division of land was controlled by colonial governments—the original thirteen colonies, and Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas. By examining different land policies and the irregular pattern of property that resulted from them, Price chronicles the many ways colonies managed land to promote settlement, develop agriculture, defend frontiers, and attract investment. His analysis reveals as much about land planning techiniques carried to America from Europe as innovations spurred by the unique circumstances of the new world.
Price’s analysis draws on his thorough survey of property records from the first land plans in Virginia in 1607 to empresario grants in Texas in the 1820s. This breadth of data allows him to identify regional differences in allocating land, assess the impact of land planning by historical figures like William Penn of Pennsylvania and Lord Baltimore of Maryland, and trace changes in patterns of land division and ownership through transfers of power among Britain, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas.
The expansion of married women’s property rights was a main achievement of the first wave of feminism in Latin America. As Carmen Diana Deeere and Magdalena Leon reveal, however, the disjuncture between rights and actual ownership remains vast. This is particularly true in rural areas, where the distribution of land between men and women is highly unequal. In their pioneering, twelve-country comparative study, the authors argue that property ownership is directly related to women’s bargaining power within the household and community, point out changes resulting from recent gender-progressive legislation, and identify additional areas for future reform, including inheritance rights of wives.
Insane Sisters is the extraordinary tale of two sisters, Mary Alice Heinbach and Euphemia B. Koller, and their seventeen- year property dispute against the nation's leading cement corporation—the Atlas Portland Cement Company.
In 1903, Atlas built a plant on the border of the small community of Ilasco, located just outside Hannibal—home of the infamous cave popularized in Mark Twain's most acclaimed novels. The rich and powerful Atlas quickly appointed itself as caretaker of Twain's heritage and sought to take control of Ilasco. However, its authority was challenged in 1910 when Heinbach inherited her husband's tract of land that formed much of the unincorporated town site. On grounds that Heinbach's husband had been in the advanced stages of alcoholism when she married him the year before, some of Ilasco's political leaders and others who had ties to Atlas challenged the will, charging Heinbach with undue influence.
To help fight against the local lawyers and politicians who wanted Atlas to own the land, Heinbach enlisted the help of her shrewd and combative sister, Euphemia Koller, by making her co-owner of the tract. In a complex case that went to the Missouri Supreme Court four times, the sisters fiercely sought to hang on to the tract. However, in 1921 the county probate court imposed a guardianship over Heinbach and a circuit judge ordered a sheriff's sale of the property. After Atlas purchased the tract, Koller waged a lonely battle to overturn the sale and expose the political conspiracies that had led to Ilasco's conversion into a company town. Her efforts ultimately resulted in her court- ordered confinement in 1927 to Missouri's State Hospital Number One for the Insane, where she remained until her death at age sixty-eight.
Insane Sisters traces the dire consequences the sisters suffered and provides a fascinating look at how the intersection of gender, class, and law shaped the history and politics of Ilasco. The book also sheds valuable new light on the wider consolidation of corporate capitalism and the use of guardianships and insanity to punish unconventional women in the early twentieth century.
Over the past few decades, India has experienced a sudden and spectacular urban transformation. Gleaming business complexes encroach on fields and villages. Giant condominium communities offer gated security, indoor gyms, and pristine pools. Spacious, air-conditioned malls have sprung up alongside open-air markets.
In Landscapes of Accumulation, Llerena Guiu Searle examines India’s booming developments and offers a nuanced ethnographic treatment of late capitalism. India’s land, she shows, is rapidly transforming from a site of agricultural and industrial production to an international financial resource. Drawing on intensive fieldwork with investors, developers, real estate agents, and others, Searle documents the new private sector partnerships and practices that are transforming India’s built environment, as well as widely shared stories of growth and development that themselves create self-fulfilling prophecies of success. As a result, India’s cities are becoming ever more inaccessible to the country’s poor. Landscapes of Accumulation will be a welcome contribution to the international study of neoliberalism, finance, and urban development and will be of particular interest to those studying rapid—and perhaps unsustainable—development across the Global South.
The idea that land should be—or even could be—treated like any other commodity has not always been a given. For much of British history, land was bought and sold in ways that emphasized its role in complex networks of social obligation and political power, and that resisted comparisons with more easily transacted and abstract markets. Fast-forward to today, when house-flipping is ubiquitous and references to the fluctuating property market fill the news. How did we get here?
In Marketable Values, Desmond Fitz-Gibbon seeks to answer that question. He tells the story of how Britons imagined, organized, and debated the buying and selling of land from the mid-eighteenth to the early twentieth century. In a society organized around the prestige of property, the desire to commodify land required making it newly visible through such spectacles as public auctions, novel professions like auctioneering, and real estate journalism. As Fitz-Gibbon shows, these innovations sparked impassioned debates on where, when, and how to demarcate the limits of a market society. As a result of these collective efforts, the real estate business became legible to an increasingly attentive public and a lynchpin of modern economic life.
Drawing on an eclectic range of sources—from personal archives and estate correspondence to building designs, auction handbills, and newspapers—Marketable Values explores the development of the British property market and the seminal role it played in shaping the relationship we have to property around the world today.
Just when private property materialized as an important social institution, a new kind of map appeared—the estate map. Prepared for private owners rather than national powers, these maps have been a little-studied strain of cadastral mapping until now. Here a group of leading historians—Sarah Bendall, David Buisseret, P. D. A. Harvey, and B. W. Higman—follow the spread of estate maps from their origin in England around 1570 to colonial America, the British Caribbean, and early modern Europe.
Generously illustrated with reproductions of rare manuscripts, including 8 color plates, these accounts reveal how estate maps performed vital economic and cultural functions for property owners until the end of the nineteenth century. From plans of plantations in Jamaica and South Carolina to a map of Queens College, Cambridge, handsome examples show that estate maps formed an important part of the historical record of property ownership for both individuals and corporations, and helped owners manage their land and appraise its value. Exhibited in public places for pleasure and as symbols of wealth, they often displayed elaborate cartouches and elegant coats-of-arms.
Alexia M. Yates Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress HD650.P3Y37 2015 | Dewey Decimal 333.33094436109
Besieged during the Franco-Prussian War, its buildings damaged, its finances mired in debt, Paris was a city in crisis. Alexia Yates chronicles the private actors and networks, practices and politics, that spurred the largest building boom of the nineteenth century, turning city-making into big business in the French capital.
Many people characterize urban renewal projects and the power of eminent domain as two of the most widely despised and often racist tools for reshaping American cities in the postwar period. In A World More Concrete, N. D. B. Connolly uses the history of South Florida to unearth an older and far more complex story. Connolly captures nearly eighty years of political and land transactions to reveal how real estate and redevelopment created and preserved metropolitan growth and racial peace under white supremacy. Using a materialist approach, he offers a long view of capitalism and the color line, following much of the money that made land taking and Jim Crow segregation profitable and preferred approaches to governing cities throughout the twentieth century.
A World More Concrete argues that black and white landlords, entrepreneurs, and even liberal community leaders used tenements and repeated land dispossession to take advantage of the poor and generate remarkable wealth. Through a political culture built on real estate, South Florida’s landlords and homeowners advanced property rights and white property rights, especially, at the expense of more inclusive visions of equality. For black people and many of their white allies, uses of eminent domain helped to harden class and color lines. Yet, for many reformers, confiscating certain kinds of real estate through eminent domain also promised to help improve housing conditions, to undermine the neighborhood influence of powerful slumlords, and to open new opportunities for suburban life for black Floridians.
Concerned more with winners and losers than with heroes and villains, A World More Concrete offers a sober assessment of money and power in Jim Crow America. It shows how negotiations between powerful real estate interests on both sides of the color line gave racial segregation a remarkable capacity to evolve, revealing property owners’ power to reshape American cities in ways that can still be seen and felt today.