The land of northeastern New Mexico, outside of the recognized title rights of the former Mexican citizens, became the public domain of the United States by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. This immediately allowed for US control over 10,000 square miles of land within the area east of the 105° meridian and north of a line roughly defined by Interstate 40 in Quay County and the boundary between San Miguel and Guadalupe counties. Portions of the northeast which were excluded from this public domain by the action of the Court of Private Land Claims between 1891 and 1904 were the few large area Mexican land grants mentioned previously in a separate section of this report. These grant lands straddled the perennial surface water systems of the Canadian, the Gallinas, the Mora, and the Vermejo-Cimarron rivers. The survey of New Mexico, initiated in 1854, was designed to establish areas of the territory which could be occupied by settlers, to reserve land as a revenue source for public institutions, and to evaluate the land granted to communities, families and to individuals prior to 1848.

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Working Paper