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Ever since regional historians began taking New Mexico land history seriously, they have focused on changes in Spanish and Mexican land tenure brought on by the advent of American sovereignty in 1846. The confusing land claim adjudications by the United States' Office of the Surveyor General for New Mexico and Congress, and by the subsequent Court of Private Land Claims yield interesting stories. Manipulations of those confirmed rights in the 1870s, 80s and 90s by organized private interests tell an even more spectacular tale. But the pyrotechnics of territorial land speculation mask the fact that sharp dealing in New Mexico land already enjoyed a long history when the United States took over. That earliest speculation started and then fueled the small fire that later spread so quickly and disastrously under American rule.

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New Mexico Historical Review



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