Forging the Southwest
Anita Huizar-Hernández, Assistant Professor of Border Studies, Department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of Arizona gives a presentation on the Peralta Land Grant, exploring the creation and collapse of Reavis’s Peralta Grant plot as well as its subsequent fictionalization and eventual disappearance from the national imaginary.
In the late-nineteenth century, an ex-Confederate soldier from Missouri named James Addison Reavis planned what was going to be the largest swindle in U.S. history: he was going to steal the greater portion of the Arizona and New Mexico territories. His plan hinged on the treaty that ended the U.S.-Mexico War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and its promise to honor Spanish and Mexican land grants in the newly acquired territories so long as their title could be validated in a U.S. court. With these provisions in mind, Reavis decided to fabricate and then present to the U.S. Court of Land Claims a fake land grant that stretched 18,750 square miles and included the southern route of the transcontinental railroad, the growing metropolis of Phoenix, and valuable mining and agricultural land.
Huizar-Hernández, Anita. "Forging the Southwest." (2018). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/crs_presentations/3