Group Title: sociological study of the relations of man to the land in Nicaragua
Title: A Sociological study of the relations of man to the land in Nicaragua
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 Material Information
Title: A Sociological study of the relations of man to the land in Nicaragua
Physical Description: xiii, 233 . : illus., maps. ; 28cm.
Language: English
Creator: Nesman, Edgar Glenn, 1926-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: 1969
Copyright Date: 1969
Subject: Land tenure -- Nicaragua   ( lcsh )
Farms, Size of -- Nicaragua   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Nicaragua   ( lcsh )
Sociology thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Sociology -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: . 209-219.
Additional Physical Form: Also available on World Wide Web
General Note: Manuscript copy.
General Note: Vita.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00097769
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000134538
oclc - 01719820
notis - AAQ0586


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This dissertation represents the results of many

years of reading, listening, observing and thinking as

well as a full year of concentrated effort in research

and writing.

I would like to acknowledge the early help given

by my father, Glen W. Nesman, who served for more than

a quarter of a century as a teacher and friend of rural

people in Michigan. In more recent times I have received

much counsel from professional colleagues throughout

Latin America, many of whom are working for the promotion

of agrarian reform. I am also indebted to thousands of

farmers in various parts of Latin America and especially

to hundreds of those in Nicaragua, who have shared with

me their problems and preoccupations, as well as their

joys and aspirations. Both the wealthy and the poor have

been kind enough to tell me of the intricate web of rela-

tionships that they have with the land that they love and

on which they live.

During my period of study at the University of

Florida, Professor T. Lynn Smith has been both an in-

spiring teacher and a constant guide in this study. With-

out his help this dissertation would not have been possible.

Many others have been instrumental in aiding me

see the importance of particular aspects of this study.

I would like especially to mention the following: Dr.

Joseph S. Vandiver and Dr. Wilbur Bock of the department

of sociology; Dr. Raymond Crist of the department of

geography; and Dr. E. Shaw Grigsby of the Cooperative

Agricultural Extension Service. All five of those

mentioned have served as members of my supervisory


I also desire to mention those who have helped

with the production of the written manuscript, namely,

Mr. Parke Renshaw, Mrs. Eileen Brand, and Mrs. Shirley


Most of all I am indebted to my wife, Marjorie,

who has been typist, reader, sounding board, and helper

in a thousand ways during the years that this work has

been underway.




LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . .

LIST OF FIGURES . . . . . . .

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . .

I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . .

Scope of the Study . . . .
Sources of the Data and Methods
Importance of the Study ...
Order of Presentation . . .


General Works . . . . .
Works in Man-Land Relations in Latin
America . . .. .
The Study of the Relations of Man and
Land in Nicaragua . . . .

III. SIZE OF FARMS . . . . . . .

Classification of Farms . . . .
Size of Farms in Nicaragua . . .
Regional Comparisons . . . .
Size of Explotaciones and Land Use

. 17

. 25

S. 29

. 34
. 37

* .8
. k8

Factors Responsible for Present Pattern
of Landholding . . .. . .
Results of the Concentration of Land
Ownership and Control . . . .
Trends in Landholding . . . . .
Summary and Conclusions . . . .







* .

. .

. . .

* *



IV. LAND TENURE . . . . . . ... 71

Property Rights and Their Development . 73
The Tenure Status of Nicaragua Farm
Personnel . . . . . . 80
Regional Variations in Tenure Status . 94
Variations in Tenure Status in Nicaragua
According to Size of Farm and Land
Use . . ... . . . . 101
Other Aspects of Land Tenure in
Nicaragua . . . . . . 104
Summary and Conclusions . . . ... 106

TITLES . . . . . . .. . 109

Types of Land Surveys . . . . . 111
Contemporary Land Division, Land Surveys,
and Land Titles in Nicaragua . . 114
Causes of the Contemporary Situation . 126
Results of the Contemporary Situation . 128
Development and Trends . . . ... 129
Summary and Conclusions . . . .. 132


Principal Types of Settlement . . . 135
Contemporary Settlement Patterns in
Nicaragua . . . . . . . 140
Variations in Settlement Patterns . . 145
Factors Responsible for Present-Day
Settlement Patterns ......... 148
Results of Present-Day Settlement
Patterns ............... 149
Evolution and Trends ......... 150
Summary and Conclusions . . . . 153


Contemporary Systems of Agriculture in
Nicaragua . . . . . . . 158
Reasons for Present Systems . . . 175
The Effect of Contemporary Systems of
Agriculture . . . .. . 178




The Evolution of Agricultural Systems
in Nicaragua . . . . . ... .179
Summary and Conclusions . . . . 192


GLOSSARY . . . . . . . . ... . . 204

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . ... .. 209

APPENDIX . . . . . . . ... . . 220

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . 232


Table Page

1. Size of the Explotaciones Agropecuarios
in Nicaragua, 1963 . . . . .. 39

2. Relative Importance of Various Sizes of
Explotaciones Agropecuarios by
Geographical Regions in Nicaragua,
1963 . . . . . . . . . 45

3. Proportion of Crop Land, Pasture Land
and Forest Land by Geographical Regions
in Nicaragua, 1963 . . . . . 51

4. Relative Importance of Cropland, Pasture-
land, and Forestland in Nicaragua by
Size of Explotaciones Agropecuario,
1963 . . . . . . . .. 52

5. Size of Explotaciones Agropecuarios in
Nicaragua, 1952 . . . . . . 65

6. Comparative Size of Explotaciones
Agropecuarios in Nicaragua, 1952
and 1963 . . . . . . ... 67

7. Explotaciones Agropecuarios According
to Size in Nicaragua, 1963 . . . 84

8. Population Economically Active in
Agriculture and Stock Raising
According to Occupational Level in
Nicaragua, 1963 . . ... . . 85

9. Number of Explotaciones Agropecuarios
According to Size and Tenure Status
in Nicaragua, 1963 . . . . ... .90

10. Number of Explotaciones Agropecuarios
According to Tenure Status by Geo-
graphical Regions in Nicaragua, 1963 .. 95



Table Page

11. Amount of Agricultural Land in Different
Tenure Classifications by Geographical
Regions in Nicaragua, 1963 . . .. 96

12. Number and Area of Explotaciones Agro-
pecuarios Under Rental Arrangements
by Geographical Region in Nicaragua,
1963 . . . . . . . ... 98

13. Number of Economically Active Persons
in the Rural Population According to
Occupational Level and Geographical
Region in Nicaragua, 1963 .. . . 99

14. Amount of Agricultural Land in Different
Tenure Categories According to Size of
Explotaciones Agropecuarios in
Nicaragua, 1963 . . . . . 102

15. Selected Aspects of Technification of
Agriculture in Nicaragua, 1967 . .. 173

16. -"uber of Oxen, Mules, Asses and Horses
in Nicaragua, 1952 and 1963 . . .. .190



Figure Page

1. Republic of Nicaragua, Departamentos
and National Boundaries ... .. . 1

2. Index of Available Topographical Maps
of Nicaragua . . .. . . . . 117

3. Index of Available Planimeter Maps of
Nicaragua . . . . . .. . . 118

4. Survey of Proposed Agricultural Colony
"El Guanacaston." . . . . .. 120

5. Settlement Patterns in the Pacific
Region of Nicaragua, 1961 . .. . 142

6. Settlement Patterns in North-Central
Region of Nicaragua, 1961 . . .. 144

7. Settlement Patterns in the Atlantic
Region, Nicaragua, 1961 . . . .. 147

8. Agricultural equipment used in Nicaragua 166

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy



Edgar G. Nesman

March, 1969

Chairman: Dr. T. Lynn Smith

Major Department: Sociology

This dissertation is an analysis of the institu-

tionalized relations of man to the land in Nicaragua.

Five aspects of the subject are dealt with in the study:

the size of farms; land tenure; land division, surveys,

and titles; settlement patterns; and systems of agri-


An investigation of this nature is important for

Nicaragua where a large proportion of the population is

directly dependent upon agriculture. No other socio-

logical study of this kind has been attempted in

Nicaragua. The frame of reference developed by Professor

T. Lynn Smith served as the principal guideline for this


Most of the data used came from direct observation

and personal interviews with hundreds of Nicaraguans in

30 rural communities. These materials were gathered in

the course of seven visits to Nicaragua in the years

1961 to 1968. The 1963 censuses of population, agri-

culture, and housing also furnished large amounts of

highly pertinent data. Of course, much time had to be

expended in assembling pertinent materials and making

thousands of computations in order to bring the census

data to bear directly upon the ideas involved in this

dissertation. After the tentative findings had been set

forth in a systematic manner, the seventh trip to

Nicaragua was for the purpose of checking and verifying

the provisional conclusions.

The findings of the study are summarized under

four major headings: the present situation, the causes,

the effects, and the development and trends. Presently

there are approximately 1,500,000 inhabitants in

Nicaragua; and about 140,000, or 60 per cent, of the

families, are economically dependent on agriculture and

stock raising. One half of these families are headed by

farm operators and an equal proportion by farm laborers.

A mere 4.0 per cent of the farm operators control 59.8

per cent of the land in farms. The majority of the

farms are dependent on methods of cultivation that were

in use 5,000 years ago. In contrast, on a few large farms

the latest machines and techniques are employed in the

production of crops for export.

Of all the factors responsible for the present

relations of man and land in Nicaragua, the cultural

heritage, which guarantees the privileged position of

the landed aristocracy, is probably the most important.

Other things that have helped perpetuate these relations

are: an abundance of agricultural land, a geographical

position which has fostered foreign intervention, in-

cessant factional strife and frequent civil wars, and a

highly centralized control of military, political,

economic, and governmental power.

Some of the effects of the present institutionalized

relationships of man to the land in Nicaragua are: low

crop yields, inefficient use of natural and human resources,

small incomes, and generally low levels of living. All of

these are characteristic of the majority of the families

dependent on agriculture and stock raising for a livelihood.

In tracing the developments and trends, it is found

that an agricultural society was in existence in Nicaragua

before the coming of the Spaniards. The conquerors

divided the possession of the land among themselves

according to their rank, and each used the products of

the land to maintain his social position. The close

association of power and prestige with ownership and

control of the land has persisted to this day. Since


1950 there have been many demands for a more equitable

distribution of the ownership and control of the land and

its products among the farm personnel. Some changes have

been made as a result of the Agrarian Reform Law, passed

in 1963. However, much still remains to be done before

the needs and the demands of the largest sector of the

rural population can be met.




7 ,

'I. ^





CO 14


Figure 1.

Republic of Nicaragua, Departamentos and National
Boundaries.- Source: Republic of Nicaragua,
Census of 1963.

1. Boaco
2. Carazo
3. Chinandega
4. Chontales
5. Esteli
6. Granada
7. Jinotega
8. Leon


Nueva Segovia
Rio San Juan

a. Managua
b. Lake
c. Lake



C ~t


" 1 *^p



This study is a sociological analysis of the

relationships between man and the land in Nicaragua.

The specific objectives of this investigation are:

(1) to determine and portray the present relationships

of man to the land; (2) to trace the development of these

relationships from the pre-Columbian era up to the pre-

sent time; (3) to identify and to measure to some extent

the factors that are responsible for the present rela-

tionship; and (4) to examine briefly how these relation-

ships have affected other aspects of Nicaragua's society.

Up to this time, there have been no broad and

general empirical sociological studies of rural social

organization in Nicaragua. The present work is an

attempt to help fill this gap. It is hoped that this

analysis and description of certain features of rural

society in Nicaragua will lay a foundation for future

meaningful investigations.

A number of questions were posed initially to

serve as guides as the work proceeded. They are as

follows: What are the geographical, historical and

demographic backgrounds of present man-land relations

in Nicaragua? To what degree are the ownership and

control of the land concentrated in the hands of a few

people? What legal property rights to the land does a

private individual enjoy and how are these rights dis-

tributed among those who depend on farming for their

livelihood? How is the land surveyed and divided, and

what system or lack of it is used in recording the titles

to the separate tracts? What settlement patterns prevail,

i.e., how are the dwellings arranged with respect to the

land and to one another? And finally, what are the ways

and means or the systems used in extracting products

from the soil?

Scope of the Study

The entire Republic of Nicaragua is the area

included in this study, but our particular concern is

with the rural people and the rural areas of the country.

Moreover, our primary concern is with the present situa-

tion, or that prevailing during the 1960's, although the

changes under way are considered as much as feasible.

The specific man-land relationships upon which

attention is focused are: (1) the size of the farms;

(2) land tenure; (3) land surveys, land division and

titles; (4) settlement patterns; and (5) systems of

agriculture. One chapter is devoted to each of these


Sources of the Data and Methods

The pioneer nature of this present study has

necessarily had great bearing on the ways in which the

data were obtained. The descriptions and analysis here-

in presented are based largely upon extensive personal

observation in all parts of Nicaragua, informal inter-

views with hundreds of Nicaraguans in all levels of

society, and extensive statistical data in the censuses

and other official sources.

The personal observations and interviews were

made during a period of four years while I was super-

vising field work in adult education and community

development programs. This gave me intimate contact with

the inhabitants of 30 rural localities in western

Nicaragua. On two occasions I traveled extensively in

the other parts of the country as well. Because I

lodged in the homes of the people, I was able to talk

with them in an unhurried manner. As mutual confidence

was established, it was possible for me to learn about

their values and aspirations as well as to become

acquainted with the intricate web of social relation-

ships that serve as the framework for their lives. More

than 1,000 people have supplied some information and the

number includes people at every level, from the humblest

field laborers to high governmental officials.

The use of a daily journal served as an aid to

observation and also as the means of recording informa-

tion obtained during the interviews. Each evening, or

at the beginning of a new day, the main events of the

previous day were recorded. Portions of this record

are included in the Appendix under the title, "Rural

Life in Nicaragua."

Observations made by the members of the teams

working under my supervision were also of value to this

study. In each community studied the teams attempted

to determine the total number of inhabitants, the

occupations of the workers, and the level of living

of the various families. They also recorded many general

observations on the relationships of man to the land.

Most of the data used were originally gathered

and recorded by use of the Spanish language. All trans-

lations have been made with common usage in mind and are

based on my experience of 16 years in working with techni-

cians and rural people in Latin America. Any errors of

interpretation are my own, and for them I accept full

responsibility. A glossary of Spanish words is included

on pages 204-208.

The methods used in the tabulation and analysis

of the data are the conventional statistical devices.

No new scales or indexes were developed. Tabular cross-

tabulation and comparisons are used extensively.

Importance of the Study

Land has always been of importance to man. In

primitive societies the relationship had a mystical

quality. It is more than just the relation of soil,

food and life; it is the soil of a locality that is

important to man. This can be seen today in the high-

lands of Bolivia where the land of one's birth is con-

sidered almost a part of one's personality. The social

interaction and expectations that develop from this

relationship are deep and enduring. A study of any

society would be incomplete without an understanding

of this bond.

In addition to the fact that no such study has

been made previously, there are several reasons for

the crucial nature of this understanding of present

relationships of the Nicaraguans to their soil. The

growth of the population, the social significance of

land ownership, the interrelation of agriculture and

the total life of the farmer, the change from subsistence

farming to commercial agriculture, the political agitation

in favor of agrarian reform, social and behavioral changes

among rural people, and the inescapable influence of social

factors make imperative new understanding of basic man-land

relationships. This study attempts to help fill this gap

as well as add to the growing body of knowledge of man-

land relations in general.

Order of Presentation

The findings of this study are presented in

three main parts, an Introduction, a major consider-

ation of Man-Land Relationships, and, finally, the

Conclusions. The introductory section is composed of

two chapters, including the present one which presents

the nature and significance of the study. The second

chapter is dedicated to a review of the literature on

man-land relations in Nicaragua.

In the second part, the body of the dissertation,

one chapter is devoted to each of the five basic aspects

of man-land relations in Nicaragua. These are as follows:

Chapter III, Size of Farms; Chapter IV, Land Tenure;

Chapter V, Land Division, Land Surveys and Land Titles;

Chapter VI, Settlement Patterns; and Chapter VII, Systems

of Agriculture.

The final part, composed of a single chapter,

number VIII, is a Summary and Conclusions. This is

followed by a glossary of Spanish terms. The Appendix

contains portions of my daily journal entitled "Rural

Life in Nicaragua."



To be useful as a tool of analysis, a frame of

reference must be systematic, must provide categories that

can be measured, and must apply to a wide number of situa-

tions. In reviewing the literature on the institutional

relationship of man to the land, it is important to trace

the gradual development and refinement of just such a

frame of reference.

This review is divided into three principal parts:

general works on man-land relations; titles dealing with

man-land relations in Latin America; and studies of man-

land relations in Nicaragua.

General Works

The development of the systematic study of the

institutional relationships between man and the land

follows the development of sociology in general and rural

sociology in particular as independent disciplines. In

1894, Albion W. Small and George E. Vincent published

An Introduction to the Study of Society in answer to a

growing need for a textbook to be used in college courses

in sociology. In their description of the gradual

development of society, they mention such rural features

as settlement patterns, land tenure, and land division,

land surveys, and land titles in the two chapters entitled

"The Family on the Farm" and "The Rural Group." These

items were not treated in detail but were mentioned as

important considerations in the analysis of rural society.

Thus, even in the earliest publications of sociological

literature in the United States, the relationships of man

and land were given attention.

As sociology developed, the concern for rural society

became one of the foremost areas of interest. In 1913

John M. Gillette published the first textbook on rural

sociology, Constructive Rural Sociology.2 No section of

the book is specifically dedicated to man-land relations

but the chapter entitled "Types of Communities" makes

brief mention of types of settlement. Another chapter,

"Social Isolation and Socialisation" goes into considerable

detail as to the social effects of isolated farmsteads. In

the chapter, "Improvement of Agricultural Production" a

number of aspects related to systems of agriculture

Albion W. Small and George E. Vincent, An Intro-
duction to the Study of Society (New York: American Book
Company, 1T894.

2John M. Gillette, Constructive Rural Sociology
(New York: Sturgis and Walton, 1913).

are considered. Still another chapter entitled "Social

Aspects of Land and Labor in the United States" discusses

at length some aspects of size of farms and land tenure.

Gillette makes frequent reference to individuals and

groups that have had interest in rural problems, both

at home and abroad. The Report of the Country Life

Commission is mentioned often as well as publications that

describe rural life in England and Europe.

Bennett's book, Problems of Village Life, published

in 1914 is an example of the work that was being done in

England.3 This book is largely descriptive of rural life

in general but it does deal specifically with size of

holdings and land tenure. For one interested in going

back further in history, his book has included an excellent

bibliography of prior works on rural society including a

number that are more closely related to man-land relations.

In 1915, a milestone in the systematic studies of

rural life was written by Galpin. His work, The Social

Anatomy of an Agricultural Community gave some insight

into settlement patterns and land tenure but its major

contribution was that of applying the scientific method

to the study of rural society.4

3Ernest M. Bennett, Problems of Village Life
(London: Williams and Norgate, 19147.

4Charles J. Galpin, The Social Anatomy of an Agri-
cultural Community (Wisconsin Agricultural ExperimenF
Station Bulletin 34, Madison, 1915).

In 1917, another text on rural society was written,

Vogt's Introduction to Rural Sociology. In it considerable

space and detail were dedicated to size of farms and land

tenure in the chapter, "The Land Question and Rural Wel-

fare."'5 Available data are used in tabular form to show

how these two items are related to levels of living.

Settlement patterns are mentioned in a section of the

chapter, "Rural Social Organization."

In the 1920's a number of works were added to those

previously mentioned, each making a contribution to the

development of an adequate frame of reference for the

study of man's institutional relationship to the land.

Gillette's Rural Sociology suggested a classification for

different types of rural communities as well as categories

useful for the study of agricultural labor. Taylor's

book, Rural Sociology called for more systematic studies

of rural society and made suggestions as to how they

should be done.7 He makes ample use of census data in

his chapter "The Problem of Tenancy and Ownership" in

which he treats the problem of the concentration of owner-

ship and control of the land in detail. About this same

5Evon A. Vogt, Introduction to Rural Sociology
(New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1917).

6John M. Gillette, Rural Sociology (New York: The
Macmillan Company, 1922).

7Carl C. Taylor, Rural Sociology (New York: Harper
and Brothers, 1926).

time (1927) two books appeared as a result of the studies

of Edmund de S. Brunner and his associates in the Institute

of Social Religious Research. These books reported the

findings of studies made of 140 rural communities in the

United States. In these books as well as that of Taylor,

reference is made to the effect of the institutional re-

lationships of man and land on standards and levels of


In 1930-1932, the outstanding three volume work,

A Systematic Source Book in Rural Sociology by Sorokin,

Zimmerman and Galpin, added a number of refinements to

the developing frame of reference.9 The chapter "Social

Stratification of the Agricultural Population" treats

two of the fundamental aspects of man-land relations,

size of holdings and land tenure. Up to this time the

two had been largely combined and treated as "land

tenure." In this chapter six categories of farming enter-

prises are suggested with size as the major consideration.

Also the agricultural population is divided into 13 tenure

categories that range from the owners of large estates at

8cf. Edmund de S. Brunner, Gwendolyn S. Hughs, and
Marjorie Patten, American Agricultural Villages (New York:
George H. Doran Company, 1927); and Edmund de S. Brunner,
Village Communities (New York: George H. Doran Company,

9Pitirim A. Sorokin, Carle C. Zimmerman, and Charles
J. Galpin, A Systematic Source Book in Rural Sociology,
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 3 Vols. 1930-

one extreme to hired laborers at the other. Another

important contribution of this work is the chapter "The

Ecology of the Rural Habitat" which includes the paper

written by Dr. A. Demangeon that has since become a

classic description of rural settlement patterns. In

this article the principal types of settlement, agricul-

tural village and isolated farmsteads, as well as inter-

mediate types, are outlined and examples are presented.

In this same year a monograph entitled The Mormon

Village: A Study in Social Origins by Lowry Nelson

appeared.10 This also was a great step in the refine-

ment of the study of settlement patterns. This same

topic was carried even further by Terpenning in his ex-

tensive work Village and Open Country Neighborhoods.11

In the chapter, "The American Neighborhood," a vivid

description of the isolated farmstead is presented. By

comparing settlement patterns throughout the world, the

developing frame of reference became broader in its


In 1933, Rural Social Trends by Brunner and Kolb

appeared.12 This was a portion of the report of the

10Lowry Nelson, The Mormon Village: A Study in
Social Origins, Brigham Young University Studies, Number
3 (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1930).
11Walter A. Terpenning, Village and Open Country
Neighborhoods (New York: The Century Company, 1931).

12Edmund de S. Brunner and John H. Kolb, Rural
Social Trends (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1933).

President's Research Committee on Social Trends which

had resurveyed the 140 communities and 21 of the 26

agricultural counties studied earlier by the Institute

of Social and Religious Research. The book deals with

the same general aspects of man-land relations studied

previously. The significance of this study here is that

the people doing the field surveys were the ones who

were later responsible for the refinement of the frame

of reference for the systematic study of man and land.

The survey was systematic, comparative and used measurable

categories, all of which are to be found in the later

studies of man and land.

In 1940 Smith published the first edition of his

book, The Sociology of Rural Life.13 Here the tools for

the study of the institutional relation of man to the

land were first presented in the form that they are used

in the present study in all aspects except "Systems of

Agriculture." In the section, "Rural Social Organization,"

specific chapters are found entitled: "Forms of Settle-

ment"; "Land Division"; "Land Tenure"; and "Size of

Holdings." In each chapter the categories are presented

in a systematic way, justified as to their utility and

applied to the then current situation in the United States.

13T. Lynn Smith, The Sociology of Rural Life (New
York: Harper and Brothers, 1940).

This is the first major work in which the topics, size of

holdings and land tenure, are separated into distinct

chapters. This separation adds greater precision to the

frame of reference.

At this same time, and in the years that followed,

there were a large number of books on rural sociology.

In them the subject of man-land relations was one of the

main considerations. In such books as: Rural Life in

Process by Landis;14 Rural Sociology and Rural Social

Organization by Sanderson;15 Rural Life in the United

States by Taylor and associates (this book has a large

section, "Rural Regions," in which man-land relations

are compared from region to region and the effect they

have on levels of living);16 Rural Social Systems by
Loomis and Beegle;1 and The Study of Rural Society by

Kolb and Brunner, all give attention to the subject.8

14Paul H. Landis, Rural Life in Process (New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1940).

15Dwight Sanderson, Rural Sociology and Rural
Social Organization (New York: John Wiley and Sons,

6Carl C. Taylor, et al., Rural Life in the United
States (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 19-9. -

17Charles P. Loomis and J. Allan Beegle, Rural
Social Systems (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1950).

18John H. Kolb and Edmund de S. Brunner, The Study
of Rural Society (Cambridge: The Riverside Press of
Houghton-Mifflin, 1952).

In 1952 Nelson published the book, The Mormon Village

based on the monograph first written in 1930.19 The

chapter, "Basic Patterns of Land Settlement" represents

a much improved presentation over the earlier writings.

This is but one example of how additional experience and

the work of others have contributed to the refinement of

the tools now available for the study of this topic.

One of the aspects of refinement of the frame of

reference has been that of overseas application. During

the 1940's an excellent opportunity was afforded by the

assignments of those most interested in man-land relations

in the United States, to Latin America and other countries.

More details of this are given in the next section, "Works

in Man-Land Relations in Latin America," but it is also of

interest here. Comparative studies give further insights

into a phenomenon and also serve to broaden the theoretical

framework in which the phenomenonis viewed. As a result

of overseas application, a new and important aspect of man-

land relations was added in the 1953 edition of Smith's

The Sociology of Rural Life, that of "Systems of Agri-

culture."20 At this point, the basic frame of reference

used in this dissertation became essentially complete;

19Lowry Nelson, The Mormon Village (Salt Lake City:
University of Utah Press, 1952).

20T. Lynn Smith, The Sociology of Rural Life, 3rd
edition (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953).

it covered all five areas, specifying measurable cate-

gories in a systematic way; and it was applied to both

regional and cross-cultural situations.

Works in Man-Land Relations in Latin America

The studies of the institutional relationship of

man to the land in Latin America did not follow the same

steps as in the United States. Sociology as a discipline

in Latin America was not empirically oriented in the

early years and did not concern itself with the problems

of a changing society. A number of scholars wrote about

rural problems but they were largely novelists, journalists

and historians. None the less, the works of men like

Freyre and especially his Casa Grande e Senzala (The

Masters and the Slaves), first published in 1933 in

Portuguese, is a great addition to the study of man and
land in Latin America.2

North American sociologists had long been interested

in Latin American societies. In 1915, Ross published

South of Panama which was a vivid description of life in

South America.22 Both this book and a later one, The

Social Revolution in Mexico were based on systematic

Gilberto Freyre, The Masters and the Slaves (New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 19 ).
2Edward A. Ross, South of Panama (London: George
Allen and Unwin,Ltd., 1915. -

observation during his travels.23 In chapters entitled

"Labor," "Class and Caste," "Land Feudalism," and "Land

Reform" he emphasizes the close association of man-land

relations and the resulting societies of Latin America.

Geographers added much to the systematic study of

this same subject also. The works of McBride on Bolivia,

Mexico, and especially, his Chile: Land and Society

included both vivid descriptions as well as statistical

information on the subject.24 Later, Simpson's The Ejido:

Mexico's Way Out added to the prior work of McBride.25

A great step forward in the study of man-land

relations in Latin America came when the same men who were

most concerned with this aspect of rural society in the

United States were invited to different countries of

Latin America on official assignments. In 1935, Problems

of the New Cuba: Report of the Commission on Cuban Affairs,

was published.6 Zimmerman was the person commissioned to

study rural life and he was able to apply the developing

frame of reference for the study of man-land relations to

2Edward A. Ross, The Social Revolution in Mexico
(New York: The Century Company, 1923).
24George M. McBride, Chile: Land and Society (New
York: American Geographical Society, 1936).

25Eyler N. Simpson, The Ejido: Mexico's Way Out
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1937).

2CarleC. Zimmerman, et al., Problems of the New
Cuba: Report of the Commission on Cuban Affairs (New York:
Foreign Policy Association, 19355.

the task. This was but the beginning. In 1942 and 1943

three rural sociologists (Smith, Taylor, and Whetten) were

sent by the U. S. Department of State to make sociological

studies of rural life in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico,

respectively. Shortly after they returned, Nelson was

sent to Cuba on a similar assignment. And soon thereafter,

Leonard went to Bolivia as director of a cooperative agri-

cultural experiment station, and in that capacity he made

two studies of Bolivian rural communities, and eventually

published a book-length analysis of rural society in

Bolivia. By this time the frame of reference had been

sufficiently developed that all five sociologists (Lowry

Nelson, T. Lynn Smith, Carl C. Taylor, Nathan L. Whetten,

and Olen E. Leonard) agreed on the general observational

categories to be used in the studies. This gave an oppor-

tunity to make comparative analysis of the relations of

man to the land in the different countries and also served

to test the theoretical frame of reference. From these

assignments a number of publications were forthcoming:
Smith's Brazil: People and Institutions;27 Taylor's Rural
28 29
Life in Argentina; Whetten's Rural Mexico; Nelson's

2T. Lynn Smith, Brazil: People and Institutions
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1946).
2Carl C. Taylor, Rural Life in Argentina (Baton
Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1948).

29Nathan L. Whetten, Rural Mexico (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1948).

Rural Cuba; and Leonard's Bolivia: Land, People and
Institutions. As a result of these and other investi-

gations by these men a number of monographs were also

published: in 1945, Tabio: A Study in Rural Social

Organization (Colombia) by Smith, Diaz, and Garcia;3 in

1947, Pichilingue: A Study of Rural Life in Coastal

Ecuador by Leonard;33 and in 1948, Canton Chullpas:

A Socioeconomic Study in the Cochabamba Valley of Bolivia

and, Santa Cruz: A Socioeconomic Study of an Area in

Bolivia, both by Leonard. Particular aspects of man-

land relations in these and other Latin American countries

were also considered in articles published in the journal

Rural Sociology in the years that followed.35

Lowry Nelson, Rural Cuba (Minneapolis: The
University of Minnesota Press, 1950).

3101en E. Leonard, Bolivia: Land, People and
Institutions (Washington: The Scarecrow Press, 1952).

2T. Lynn Smith, Justo Diaz Rodriguez and Luis
Roberto Garcia, Tabio: A Study in Rural Social Organiza-
tion (Washington: Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations,

30len E. Leonard Pichilingue: A Study of Rural
Life in Coastal Ecuador (Washington: Office of Foreign
Agricultural Relations, 1947).

34Olen E. Leonard, Canton Chullpas: A Socioeconomic
Study in the Cochabamba Valley of Bolivia (Washington:
Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, 1948).

35cf. John V. D. Saunders, "Man-Land Relations in
Ecuador" Rural Sociology (March, 1961).

The significance of this investigation for the

understanding of Latin American societies was considerable

but its importance in the development of a frame of

reference for the sociological study of the relation of

man and land was even greater. The comparative nature of

these studies required refinements in the concepts that

resulted in even broader applicability than had been

attained by the regional studies of Taylor and associates

in the United States in 1949.36

Special attention should be given here to the

development of the study of systems of agriculture. In

the systematic frame of reference presented by Smith in

1940, this was not one of the parts.37 Due to his work

in Brazil, some of it is first presented in the chapter

entitled, "Fire Agriculture" in the first edition of

Brazil: People and Institutions.8 In the monograph he

wrote on Tabio it was included as a major concept in the
study of man-land relations. Later it was included as

such in the third edition of The Sociology of Rural Life
as well.4

36Taylor, et al., Rural Life in the United States.

3Smith, The Sociology of Rural Life, 1st edition.
Smith, Brazil: People and Institutions, 1st edition.

Smith, Diaz, and Garcia, Tabio.
T. Lynn Smith, The Sociology of Rural Life,3rd
edition (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953).

With this refined instrument available, further

studies have been made in Latin America and publications

have resulted. In 1953, Turrialba: Social Systems and

the Introduction of Change by Loomis and associates

appeared;41 in 1955, Man and Land in Peru by Ford;42 in

1958, Land Reform and Democracy by Senior; and in 1961,
Guatemala: The Land and People by Whetten.4 This frame

of reference has also been used in dissertations written

under Professor Smith's direction. In 1954, Schulman

finished his work entitled, A Sociological Analysis of

Land Tenure Patterns in Latin America.45 In 1955, A

Sociological Study of the Relations of Man to the Land

4lCharles P. Loomis, et. al. Turrialba: Social
Systems and the Introduction of Change (Glencoe: The
Free Press, 1-~3).

42Thomas R. Ford, Man and Land in Peru (Gainesville:
University of Florida Press, 19557.

43Clarence 0. Senior, Land Reform and Democracy
(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 195t).

"Nathan L. Whetten, Guatemala: The Land and the
People (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961).

45Sam Schulman, A Sociological Analysis of Land
Tenure Patterns in Latin America. Doctoral Dissertation.
Gainesville: University of Florida, 1954.

in Boyaca (Colombia) was completed by Fals Borda.6 The

same study was later published in book form in Spanish

as, El Hombre y La Tierra en Boyaca. From previous

research Fals Borda has also written Peasant Society in

the Colombian Andes.47 In 1967, a dissertation by Clements

considered the specific aspect of systems of agriculture

in Brazil.48 A number of recent works by Latin American

sociologists have included man-land relations in their

writings. Besides those of Fals Borda are: Sociologia

Rural by Solari;49 Sociologia y Desarrollo Rural by Arce;50

Sociologia: Introducion a su uso en Programas Agricolas

4 Orlando Fals Borda, A Sociological Study of the
Relations of Man to the Land in Boyaca. Unpublished
dissertation. (Gainesville: University of Florida, 1955).

O4rlando Fals Borda, Peasant Society in the Colombian
Andes (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1962).

48Harold M. Clements, A Sociological Study of the
Mechanization of Agriculture in Minas Gerais, Brazil,
unpublished dissertation (Gainesville: University of
Florida, 1966).

49Aldo E. Solari, Sociologia Rural Latino-Americano
(Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires,

M. Antonio Arce, Sociologia y Desarrollo Rural
(San Jose: Lehmann, 1961).


Rurales by Alers Montalvo;5 and Sociologia de Vida Rural

by Hernani de Carvalho.52

With the growing concern for agricultural develop-

ment in Latin America there is need for tools to analyze

rural society. In recent years the Committee for Agri-

culturalDevelopment (CIDA) has incorporated this general

frame of reference in their studies and found it to be


The latest refinements of this frame of reference,

interestingly enough, have come about in a Latin American

setting. In 1967, the monograph, The Process of Rural

Development in Latin America and the book, Colombia:

Social Structure and the Process of Development, both by

Smith, represent this refinement.5h

M1anuel Alers Montalvo, Sociologia: Introducion
a su uso en Programas Agricolas Rurales (Turrialba:
Editorial SIC, 1960).

52Hernani de Carvalho, Sociologia de Vida Rural
Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Civilizac o Brasileira,

5Pan American Union, Central America (Washington:
Inter-American Committee for Agricultural Development, no

4T. Lynn Smith, Rural Development in Latin America
(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1967) and
T. Lynn Smith, Colombia: Social Structure and the Process
of Development (Gainesville: University of Florida Press,

The Study of the Relations
of Man and Land in Nicaragua

There have been no prior sociological studies of

the institutional relationship of man to the land in

Nicaragua. None the less, some or parts of man-land

relationships have been considered by geographers,

historians, journalists, and land economists in their

writings. Descriptive accounts of rural life in general

are found in the early works: Travels in Nicaragua (1857)
by Scherzer; The States of Central America (1858) by
56 57
Squier; Historia de Nicaragua by Gamez; Nicaragua by
Levy; and Documentos para la Historia de Nicaragua
r 9
edited by Vega Bolanos.9

A closer approximation to the systematic study of

man-land relations can be found in more recent studies

made principally by economists. In Plan Nacional de

5Carl Scherzer, Travels in Nicaragua, Vol. I
(London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longman and Roberts,

56E. G. Scuier, The States of Central America
(New York: Harper and Brothers, 1858).

5Jose D. Gamez, Historia de Nicaragua (Managua:
El Pais, 1889).

58Pablo Levy, Nicaragua (Paris: Libreria Espanola
de E. Denne Schmidt, 1873).

Andres Vega Bolanos, Documentos ara a Historia
de Nicaragua,Tomo Primero. (Madrid: Ministerio de
Educacidn de la Republica de Nicaragua, 1954).


Desarrollo Econ6mico y Social de Nicaragua (1965-69)

published by the Nicaraguan government, a systematic

study was made of the economic aspects of rural life in

Nicaragua and the resulting levels of living.6 Mainly

considered here were land holding and occupational

categories of the rural population. Even prior to this,

the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

published a report entitled Economic Development of

Nicaragua in which categories and classification were

used to study farm size, land tenure, and levels of

living.61 Because of a preoccupation with agrarian

reform, a comparative study was made by the United States

Operations Mission in which some standardized criteria

were used to compare Nicaragua's agrarian structure with

those of other Latin American countries.62 In another

comparative study done by the Proyecto Interamericano de

Desarrollo Rural, different categories of land tenure as

generally considered by land economists were used to

Republican de Nicaragua, Plan Nacional de Desarrollo
Econ6mico y Social de Nicaragua 196--1969, Parte I (Managua:
Oficina de Planificaci6n, 1965).

61International Bank for Reconstruction and Develop-
ment, The Economic Development of Nicaragua (Baltimore:
The Johns Hopkins Press, 1953).

62United States Government, Latin American USOM
Seminar on Agrarian Reform (Washington: International
Cooperation Administration, 1961).


compare Nicaragua to other countries.3 These same

categories were used by Maturana in his investigation

"Land Tenure."64 He used three basic categories for

analyzing farm size and separated the tenure groups into

farm owners and farm laborers. This study was of compara-

tive nature, including all five countries of Central

America. A more detailed study was done by Blandon in

his master's thesis in agricultural economics entitled

"Land Tenure in Nicaragua."65

Finally, the two closest approximations to the

frame of reference used in the present study that have

been done in Nicaragua are to be found in the works

entitled, Central America prepared by the Inter-American

Committee for Agricultural Development6 and, Nicaragua:

Caracteristicas Generales de la Utilizaci6n y Distribucion

de la Tierra, a preliminary paper by the Food and Agricul-
tural Organization.7 In both of these studies specific

categories have been used for the analysis of the size of

6Louis E. Heaton, Rural Development in Latin
America (New York: American International Association for
Economic and Social Development, 1963).

61Egbert de Vries, Social Research and Rural Life
in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Region TParis:
United Nations Educational and Sc-entific Organization, 1966).

65Alfonso Blandon, Land Tenure in Nicaragua, unpub-
lished master's thesis (Gainesville: University of Florida,

66Pan American Union, Central America.

67United Nations, Nicaragua: Caracteristicas Generales
de la Utilizaci6n y Distribuci6n de la Tierra (Mexico City:
Food and Agriculture Organization, 19-7).


farms and tenure groups. The latest census data have

been used and cross tabulations have been made. Very

little, if any, reference is made to the other institu-

tional aspects of the relations of man to the land, such

as settlement patterns, systems of agriculture and land

division systems. Some reference is made to resulting

crop yields and levels of living in the rural areas.



In sn investigation of th

seek to discover e inner in

ize of farms one must

ich the owner > and

control of nd r distributed on those o depend

upon icuture for a livelihood. accomplish this, a

clear distinction as to at constitutes a farm is neces-

sar, a an e nit of easuremet Iust be 1- "ed.

or the se of this st a frm is a tract of

and that is n or rated as a p: tive unit by one

rson or corporate entity; it is also as ed that one

or o persons involved in the enterprise and that

t production is of sufficient value to provide the

major prt of the livelihood for at least one family. The

unit of measurement most common in "icar is the man-
zan is ud instead of the acre or hectare.

ze of fears is the most _ortant factor in the

relationships of man a Power and rest' a

wit the mount of and that an individual controls, so

that xentof land ownership has social as well a

economic consequences. This subject is not merel of

0.7 hectar 1


1,7 acre

recent concern but has been important throughout history.

The extent to which the ownership and control of the land

has been vested in a few hands has been a major problem in

many parts of the world since the days of Hammurabi. Lati-

fundium is a word that has been used to describe the con-

centration of landholding, and it generally has undesirable

connotations. This term was first used in connection with

the "broad estates" (latus funds) observed in the Roman

Empire in about 80 B.C. As a result of military conquests

and slavery, large tracts of land were taken over by

officials of the empire. In the historical writings, there

are many vivid descriptions of the contrasting conditions

of life for the favored few who controlled the land and for

those who performed the labor.2

With the breakdown of the Roman Empire and central-

ized power, a new type of large landholding -- the feudal

manor -- emerged. The peasants gradually lost all rights

to the land when they attached themselves to a strong lord

for protection. The contrasting conditions of lord and

serf, or colonus, were not unlike those of master and slave

in the Roman Empire.3

2Cf. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1949 ed., Vol. 11,
p. 493.

3J. Ackerman and Marshal Harris (eds.), Family Farm
Policy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947),
p. 213.

As commerce began to bri-- light to the Dark .^Pes,

a new t- -e of 1 :-,. c landhold,-:. emer _'- as a result of the

conquest and colonization of the .ew; '.orld. This was the

plantation, characterized by largeness, reliance upon

clave labor, forei, capital ement, and production

for e: ort .oses. The sharpness of contract between the

'.le of life of the plantation owners and r ers and that

of the la rs even surpassed tat prevaili. on the

San latifundiu nd the fe- manor.

The pl nt tions of the southern United -ttes ave

hd of t hr eristics of the landed estate of

at history. I er contrie th: out the world,

t c oncetration of nd in of a rivil ed few

has een t1 foc.a point of -ars d revolutions, incl-

f e r in progress. In Latin erica na-

of t cil problems of today can be ttru' o

icenration in te owner. n control f the land.

rct cotrts in the size of m ard the

reul n- rural societies h.'e been o red in the t-.enti-

ouhern itd tats,the situation is in sharp contrast

1-; I .ne On 1, o,.-Th in

Ida C. re-es, ions in world icy,
i'in .^.erican Unio, l taion S et, -,he ,e rld.
Social cinces i -ah I (.'s: aniation
of f- nc rtican Stat ), pp. 1-
'^ ..w.Aw~.- wU. K^ XU 59 ) ^^ ^/f ^ 1 ^ ^

farming community in the ':idwest. In the latter, all of

the members of the community simultaneously were owners,

managers, and laborers on their farms. As I have traveled

about in Latin America, I have observed the same separa-

tion between landowner and laborer that I had known in the

South. The following paragraphs from my journal illustrate

this matter:

(Oriente, Cuba, January, 1952) As far as the
eye can see, the land belongs to one si-r
company. There are approximately 500,000 acres
here that stretch from beyond the bay to the
mountain range behind. The workers live in
small villages dotted about the plantation and
often in barracks, one door per family. Some
say that they can barely earn enough during
the harvest season to pay for the food they
have received on credit from the company store
during the dead season.

(The Dominican Republic, October, 1962) The
road from Santiago to Koca started out as an
excellent highway but all at once became a
rough country road. The only explanation that
I can find is that the good part goes only as
far as the entrance to the coffee plantation
of Sr. T.

(Southern Chile, April, 1962) The visit with
Don J. at the Fundo I. was most interesting.
The fundo has about 2,500 acres in all and over
a hundred inquilinos (agricultural laborers).
The house is an English-type mansion and the
grounds are well landscaped. It is a great con-
trast to the workers' houses that I visited yes-
terday. Don J. was a gracious host. Both he
and his brother-in-law discussed freely their
fear of losing their land if the wrong party
should be elected in the coming elections.

They admit that somehow the lot of the
inquilinos has to be improved but don't
feel that .-ian reform is the answer.

In an analysis of the similarities and differences

between two at over-all rural systems, T. Lynn Smith

has attempted to systematize the ow7_ '-e available on

the size of farms. He has focused attention upon the

effects of large farms in comparison with those of family-

sized farms. Acco: 'i- to him, the following are associ-

ated with the dominant position of large farms: (1) a

hi ree of social stratification 'ith a clear class

sepration between the landowners and the laborers; (2)

little vertical social mobility so that the "agricultural

ladder" cannot function; (3) caste as an important factor

which can be an inherited social position passi.. front one

enertion to the ne:t; (4) low ave ;e intelligence, and

particularly lo levels of literacy and school attendance;

)restricted development of rsonali -, with only a

selected few equip ith the social ces considered

a minimum necessity for the twentieth century; (6)

order-oh _,rsonal relations tht are more akin to a

m e-lave relationship than between ., Is; (7) the

all- .tance of routine, with little elication of new

s:ill to the job; (8) a belief that 1al labor is de-

rdi nd soethin to do only if necessary and to

oipe if possible; (9) Io: levels and stadrds o i

ta can Se observed i both he .h and education; and

(10) little incentive to work and save, coupled with a

fatalistic attitude toward life and the future.5

In contrast, a rural society based on family-sized

farms is characterized by the opposite situation in each

of the ten points mentioned above. It is basically equali-

tarian and progressive, making for efficient use of both

human and natural resources. It permeates not only rural

society but all aspects of national life and gives a firm

foundation to build the future on.

Classifications of Farms

For some purposes it is useful to divide farms into

three categories: small, medium, and large. The distinc-

tion is based on the area involved in the farm. Generally,

small farms are those under five hectares, medium are from

five to 49 hectares, and those of 50 hectares or more are

considered as large farms.

This distinction based on physical size alone is

inadequate from many points of view. In some instances,

the excellent natural environment of a small plot will

allow production surpassing that of a much larger tract.

Also, if large amounts of capital are used for materials

and equipment, a highly intensive operation can be carried


5T. Lynn Smith, Colombia: Social Structure and
Process of Development (Gainesville: University of Florida
Press, 197), pp. 8-24.

Whether a farm should be considered large or small

also depends on the type of farming that is employed. For

example, the production of fresh vegetables for the market

is highly intensive, and the economic product per unit of

land area is high. Cattle raising on unimproved pasture

is an example of an extensive type of enterprise, and

both the inputs and outputs are lower per unit of land

area. A more adequate classification of size of farms,

then, should make some allowances for the natural capabili-

ties of the land to produce and the type of farming employed.

There is one further factor that must be considered

in the selection of categories for use in the classification

of farms. This might be called the entrepreneur factor, and

probably it is the most important of all considerations. An

optimum size of farm would be that which could make efficient

use of the capital, the managerial ability, and the physical

labor of a farmer and his family. This can be further

illustrated by looking at the three specific categories.

Small farms are sometimes called minifundia, or

subsistence plots. Usually the quantity produced on this

type of farm is far below that necessary to sustain a

family. Therefore, unless the family income is supple-

mented from other sources of employment, the level of

living is extremely low. In Latin America these small

plots (minifundia) are found commonly to adjoin the ex-

tremely large farms, where periodic work is available.

These small farms are likely to be found on the hilly

lands that are left over and not suitable for large-scale

plantings or grazing. This land is often occupied without

clear title or under an arrangement with the lal- land-

owner, so that permanent improvements are not considered

a good investment. Small farms in Ticaragua can best be

described as those under five manzanas. In spite of the

inadequacies of a classification based on area alone, this

gives a starting point from which adjustments can be made.

Iedium-sized farms are also referred to as family-

sized farms. In their ideal type, these are found in

northwestern :urope and in midwestern United States. They

are not common in Latin America. In this size of farm,

the entrepreneur factor operates most effectively. It

is here that the capital, the management skills, and the

physical labor of the farm family combine to give maximum

output per unit of input. The actual physical size is

difficult to determine, for constant innovation is a

characteristic of the family-sized farm. As mechanization

and other applications of technology are made, the size

may increase from 50 to 00 acres, while the farm still

uses only family labor with an occasional hired hand to

help. There are few instances in Nicaragua of this ideal

type. The closest category (and that which will be used

in this classification) pertains to those units from 5 to

49 manzanas in size.

Large farm are sometimes c-lled latifundia,

'lthoujh "' two terms are not corpletel U:- us.

Latifundia is the terry usually 1, to describe the ex-

tremely lar- farms on which little, if any, attempt is

trade to nk an intensive use of the 1 It is the

count 1rary lar^e farrs which ivolv e concentration

of land ownership described in te introductory p

of this ch pter. .these lar e tracts of land that re

o:" o rated b7 few indivi 1 or corporate entities,

here is a division of .tionG, with owners nd operators

hiring cultural laborers to reform the -sic work.
cion i often limited to one specialty, such as

cotton,, or cattle. These large hol('- s are

e;oepified by the options, the -, ciendas, the fu-rdos,

the frendas .t are found thro '-out Latin irmerica. For

urposes of classification of farms in 'ic ua, all
o s 0 to 2,4" r:anz are considered as lar e

a, 1s. ecial attention is given to the farms of 2,5r

n .sns and over, for these most nearly possess the

racteristics of latifundia.

oize of in ic

In ic :ua's 1963 ensos acionales: 1.ropecuario,

the vi cultural units are called Unidades de 7Dlotci6n

These include: all land used total-l or

parti al1 for ir ctle pod action, hat

owned by the producer, that rented by him or that he is

enabled to use by any other tenure arrangement, and that

which is under his administration though it is in more

than one tract as long as it is in adjoining comarcas

(the smallest political units). It does not include any

land that has been given by the owner to others through

a rental or any other tenure arrangement for the agricul-

tural year 1962-63.

As it is defined above, not every e:plotacion agro-

pecuario can be classified as a farm. For this reason,

the term "farm" will be used only when the explotaci6n

in question conforms to what is commonly understood to be

a farm.

There was a total of 102,201 such explotaciones in

nicaragua in 1963. Altogether 5,461,162 manzanas are repre-

sented in these units, and this accounts for approximately

one-fourth of the total land area of the Republic.7 If

all establishments were equal in size, there would be

slightly over 53 manzanas in each of them. Such is far

from the case, as can be noted in Table 1. Of particular

interest are the number of establishments and amount of

6Republica de 'icaragua, Censos ''acionales 1963:
Agropecuario (Managua: Direccion General de EstadlfsEca
y Censos, 1966), p. xi.

7Egbert de Vries, Social Research and Rural Life in
Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Region (Paris:
:'22CO, 1966), p. 71.



Size of Explotaciones Area
(manzanas) Number Per Cent Manzanas Per Cent

Under 1 2,258 2.2 1,328

1-4.9 33,948 33.2 83,042 1.5

Under 5 36,206 35.4 84,370 1.5

5-9.9 15,730 15.4 105,728 1.9
10-19.9 13,273 13.0 173,976 3.2

20-49.9 14,703 14.4 440,159 8.1

5-49.9 43,706 42.8 719,863 13.2

50-99.9 10,949 10.7 678,970 12.4
100-199.9 6,291 6.1 768,633 14.1

200-499.9 3,554 3.5 961,015 17.6

500-999.9 920 0.9 583,736 10.7

1000-2499.9 405 0.4 563,303 10.3

50-2499.9 22,119 21.2 3,555,657 65.1

Over 2500 170 0.2 1,101,272 20.2

Total 102,201 100.0 5,461,162 100.0

Source: Compiled and computed from data in Repiblica de
Nicaragua. Censos Nacionales 1963: Agropecuario.
(Managua: Direcci6n General de Estadistica y Censos,

land in each category of the same: small (under five

manzanas), medium (from 5 to 49.9 manzanas), large (from

50 to 2,499.9), and the latifundia (2,500 and over).

(See Table 1.)

More than one-third of all units in Nicaragua con-

tain less than five manzanas apiece. The mean size of

these small establishments is 2.L. manzanas. Some of these

are small quintas (country homes for those working in the

cities), but most of them are subsistence plots used by

the agricultural laborers. 1-any of these snall units are

true minifundia. The following extract from travel

notes gives some of the facts about a few of then.

(Iarch 22, 1966, Los Altos) Los Altos is a
village of workers in the middle of the cotton
fields. One of the large cotton processing
plants is nearby, and some work at them as
well as in the fields. 'ost of the people
live here permanently but are entirely depen-
dent on cotton. Each house has a small plot
with some corn, some yucca (casava), and other
plantings for household use. A number of pigs
are to be seen wandering about.

'ore than two-fifths of the farms are of medium

size, yet the amount of land represented is comparatively

small (only 13. per cent). The mean size of these estab-

lishments is only 16.5 manzanis.

It would be hard to determine just how many of these

units should be considered as family-sized farms. "ore-

over, this will vary to some extent with the area of the

country involved and the capabilities of the land. The

fci-'iy-sized .rm does e::it, however, as n "e seen

fro oe of my field notes t-o en it the L".un area:

('rch 21 1L/, L, un) The culture l
Extension his worked closely :with this com-
unity for a nuber of years. people
ave ,was so:n more response re
eager to learn. n lea' ;the hi.hwny
I noticed a new owe line be' erec
o: of the yo en were elp: in the
e of the trees rush. This was
one of the first cor-unities to or ganize
an electric cooperative and raise t neces-
sary ~ ount of roney to start the project.
Se ile of La T una do not live in close
vill e clusters but live on their small
f rms on arrival in the center of the
community, I found the Extension Agent hel
the Public Yuealth workers in a school
vaccination project. They were also in the
process of install! a number of toilets.
e cormuniD organization was e er to
start adult liter cy classes and had area'
inVested in boos for 10 is. '. ;, ents
were proud of the progress be'. made.

fc i_ attention 1 n the 1. e establishments

one observes that two-thirds of the :ricultural land of

Aicar us is embraced within the limits of only one-fifth

of the eplotaciones. The number of proprietors of these

large estates, th--:h, i 'oub- is considerably less

than the fi-ure of 22,119, given in Table 1, because

r of the most 'fluent prc_ letors own not one but

several separate and distinct 1, e landed estates. This

represents a consi able concentration of landholc'O

on e: e of life on oe of these are establishents

is comment n in the following extract from my field


(March 8, 19
nent houses

, ta Cruz) Therb
re and no real vill

Lre no pe a -


scattered houses are no more than temporary
shelters because the land rental arrangements
do not allow any permanent buildings. In the
first school survey it was found that only
two people in this area could read and write.
Slightly over 2,000 people live here.

I talked at length with Don F. about the cotton
crop and how he became involved . . He had
started as an agricultural laborer and certainly
looks or lives no differently from the field
hands that work with him in the crop. He said
that most of the land in the area was worked under
the same rental arrangement that he has. He did
not say who the landowner was.

Special attention must be directed to the explota-

ciones containing more than 2,500 manzanas. These are

not included in the large-establishment class for they

seem to represent a special case. On these immense

landed estates,little attempt is made at intensive culti-

vation of the land, if it is cultivated at all. The term

latifundia best applies to this cat:eory. There is a

greater concentration of ownership and control of the land

here than in the category of large establishments. :Much

of this land is devoted to cattle grazing, as in the case

of the areas around El Salto. Again, my field notes are


(El Salto, December 14, 1964) This eve-i.h
I talked with Don A. for over two hours. He
and his associates are large landowners in
the area. He has 900 head of cattle at this
time. '!e discussed cattle problems and new
ways of treating diseases . .. He has a
government post and enjoys working with cattle
as a sideline.

'-hen all of the e::plotacloies

over are added together, it is found

t4e land is controlled b- 21.1 per ce

Considerir- those units of 200 anzan:

.0 oer cent of the operator; control

te lnd. Tese figures do not rere

cnr. it is li'kel that many who were o

S ti2e of the census h-d no nore

arr ee itl the

-'le- to indicate !and oner

belie'e ta the-,' would sho'

of 50 nnzanas and

that 8f.3 per cent of

nt of the holders.

as -.nd o-er, o-nlj

59.8 pe- cent of

sent land onershi

perati the land

than a seasonal

wner. If fi gurre re ~vail-

:hip, there is ever reason, to

San eve higher c oneentrtion

I 1-D t2- 1--d than.. indicted the h ta

.n e 1

The i:ini-terio de :conori ministry y of cononics)

ti ,^ '-o oC? cio in 4} 3 on i v C I

.-i{ n, ....e of ^ i le e f f te-c -nolo-r nd

' 2 y- -

in c



;the results of it

e 1 2 t

.C. 17, ,31 iJ

L f l

of c



I e L I W c

1957 were used as a basis for calculations.8 This re-

classification indicates that the concentration in owner-

ship and control of the land in Nicaragua is even higher

than is indicated by the data as they are usually pre-


Regional Comparisons

There are three natural regions in Nicaragua, and

the 1963 census data can be combined so as to provide

information for each of these divisions. There are

5,461,162 manzanas of agricultural land in the Republic

as a whole, distributed as follows: 1,823,904 manzanas

in the seven distritos (provinces) comprising the Pacific

region; 2,880,725 manzanas in the seven distritos which

make up the North-Central region; and 756,533 manzanas

in the two distritos which form the Atlantic region.9

See Table 2, which gives the per cent of the explotaciones

and the per cent of land in each of the size categories

for each of the regions.

The Pacific region has a higher proportion of

minifundia and also of latifundia than either of the

Alfonso Blandon, Land Tenure in Nicaragua. Un-
published master's thesis. Gainesville: University of
Florida, 1962.

Republica de Nicaragua, op. cit., pp. xiv-xvi.



Size North
(manzanas) Republic Pacific Central Atlantic

Under 5
Per cent of
holdings 35.4 44.3 30.0 32.2
Per cent of
area 1.5 2.0 1.4 1.0

Per cent of
holdings 42.8 43.5 43.7 35.2
Per cent of
area 13.2 13.2 14.6 7.7

Per cent of
holdings 21.2 11.9 26.2 32.4
Per cent of
area 65.1 54.2 73.1 60.8

Over 2500
Per cent of
holdings 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.2
Per cent of
area 20.2 30.5 10.9 30.5

Per cent of
holdings 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Per cent of
area 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Compiled and computed from data in Republica de
Nicaragua. Censos Nacionales 1963: Agropecuario.
(Managua: Direcci6n General de Estadfstica y Censos,

other regions. Some of the small plots are those

belonging to people who work in the urban centers but

use the land to supplement their incomes; in other cases,

they are used by upper-class families as small country

estates. The Pacific region also has fewer large units

than the other regions, but they account nonetheless for

over 54 per cent of the land area. 'When all of the estab-

lishments over 50 manzanas are grouped, 84.7 per cent of

the land area and only 12.2 per cent of the tracts are

accounted for. The Pacific region has the most intensive

agriculture and highest density of population in :icarrj1 ,

but there still is considerable concentration in the owner-

ship and control of the land. Blandon found that "the

existence of latifundias in close proximity to a larje

number of minifundias is typical" in this western region

of Ticaragua.0

The outstanding characteristic of the :Torth-Central

region is the relatively high percentage of medium and

large units. This is true only relative to the situation

in the other zones, for only 14.6 per cent of the agricul-

tural land is in establishments of medium size. If all

units over 50 manzanas are considered together, 84.0 per

cent of the agricultural land of the Torth-Central zone

1Blandon, op. cit., p. 61.


is accounted for. It is hard to determine just how mn.

of the nedivn-sized establishments can be considered as

f .iil--sized farn but, because of te type of -ricul-

tune, the top ', and the lack of a complete road

retior:, it is ble at this zone h a iSher pro-

ortion of such farm thn the other re ons.

further observation can be made in relation to

redim-sized units. If the cut-off point irere noved

to 5^- nanz:nas, then the mediu-sized establishrents

would d account for 67.0 per cent of the agricultural ld

e in the -reion, In sone cases, O-a CO-r anza estab-

lisrent could till be considered c fcrily or-ration.

In coffee plnttion, ho. .:eer, which also is conon in

sh es, ee nould b too l rSe for one

.. ,jo th 4- e xIes u! of se1c Ir.l

r ricultur_ l laborers. To determine tle cta number

of -siecd fdrs, it -ould be necsar- to e the

f.ct or estd 7 te hiniterio de _conorii cs :.el.C

to er,-.e in considerable careful ober on int re, on

h-- 1 -t th ir

-i c r- *i p ,- 1

.:-,a e_ o b1'___t d of tthen .C T"otn an
.....' 7 17 1| ccyp c.1 b -la l I n* S thi

^*1 -

the categories of snall and medium units. At the other

extreme, 91.3 per cent of the land is found in explota-

ciones of more than 50 manzanas.

Size of Explotaciones and Land Use

The land area of Iicar -ua has never been used at

a level approaching its agricultural capabilities. In a

study made by the International 2ank in 1952, it was

estimated that only 25 per cent of the potentially arable
land was being used. Dlandon surmarized the data from

the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

and the 1Ticaraguan Agricultural Survey of 1958 and found

that only approximately 13 per cent of the land area could

be considered as cultivated agricultural land. This was

an increase from 7 per cent in 1949. He also calculated

that an additional 18 per cent was suitable for farming

but was not being cultivated; 45 per cent was in forest;

9 per cent was in cities, roads, and so on; and 15 per
cent was not susceptible to use. A report on agricul-

tural development in Latin America by the American

international Bank for Reconstruction and Develop-
ment, The Economic Development of Nicaragua (Baltimore:
The Johns Hopkins Press, 1953), p. xxiii.

12landon, op. cit., p. 33.


Intern onl sotional ion sGave a ,lihtl- hi- -'--" figure

of 16.2 per cent for the portion of a ricult ur 1

ortunael the Census of 1"'3 Zives

out J


mount of land that is consider

-1 's corehensi

i--ve ntor- place

r, '1,12 nan

poro-inatel :

san.s in this cateS, -, a fig

25 -er cent of the total 1 -

ure equl to

area of th


This censt

1oo contrain-

1 ssification of tl

ue of criclvtural land into the following set-


1. '.nnual crops (cultivos anuales):
land1 in season-ble crops and sue
cro s of ess thn one year.

ssi, e

~nent crops (c6ltivos permanertes):
of lo er duration th-at do not need
tiing after each harvest, not includ-
orest stures.

3. allo lad (tierras er o descnso): ar
7land rt pla77nted durni the 19?2-63 e
but thtt hs seen ued during; th 1 lst

*1 ^r.t

"' turJL n1 2,
.'O U-3 .
-re ^-,, -c
1. ^ C>i ^

ires (tierras con pastes
land pla noted to pasture.

res (ierras con p-,s-.o
! nd in t h oturc t-

(ed.), ^"-y~ r eloFore- Ir I -"ir
4a '1 -) 1- T'' c1 T -.o
0~ c~vpio 1n^ m -| -TTT

* -1

31, Zcr?



6. Forest lands (tierras con bosque 7 nontes):
including all virgin forest land and
second growth which is potentially agri-
cultural land but has not been planted in
the last five years.

7. Other lands (otras tierras de la e::plota-
cion): land occupied by buildings, roads,
swamps, etc., not actually usable for culti-
vation but part of the actual holding.1

For the purposes of this study, three main cate-

gories are used: crop land (combining 1, 2, and 3), pas-

tures (combining 4 and 5), and forest (combining 6 and 7).

Table 3 shows how the proportion of the agricultural land

belonging in each of these varies from one region to

another. As can be observed, even in the region of highest

agricultural intensification (the Pacific), crop land

accounts for less than 25 per cent of the total. Almost

half of the agricultural land in the Pacific and 'Torth-

Central regions is pasture land. As can be expected,

forest lands account for over half of the relatively

undeveloped Atlantic region.

Of particular interest is the land use according to

size of the establishments. (See Table 4.) In the smaller

tracts, crop land is most important. In the largest estab-

lishments, pasture land predominates.

Several relationships between the size of the explo-

taciones and land use stand out. Specifically, as the size

15Ibid., p. xviii.

t -




E- '-




0 o




* C)


c i
C *

:0 -


r4 r-
'I 0

0 r
C ) C-

.0 cl

o C
4R 0 '0


oo c

i-l C^-

*H T
&- C
S 4
0 .
0 ; r



Size of
Explotaciones Area Cropland Pastureland Forestland Total
(manzanas) (manzanas) (per cent) (per cent) (per cent) (per cent)

Under 5 84,370 75 15 10 100

5-49.9 719,863 42 38 20 100

50-2499.9 3,555,657 23 46 31 100

2500 and over 1,101,272 6 57 37 100

Republic Total 5,461,162 23+ 46+ 30+ 100

Source: Compiled and computed from data in Republica de Nicaragua, Censos
Nacionales 1963: Agropecuario, (Managua: Direccion General de
Estadistica y Censos, 1966), pp. 107-112.

of the establishment increases: (1) the pro-ortion of

crop lnd decrses; (2) the proportion of pasture in-

creses; and (3) the aunt of used land (forest land,

and so on) increases.

is to

es ac






of tj
of t co

nore tan



50 n



be e ec' land dedicated t

co 'o the size of e far

)0 r cent of the corn, 6- per

er cent of the rice are produce

ess than 50 anzas in size.

)ut per cent of the cotton,

Super cent of the cattle,

ire produce on establishments

:nzanas piece.17 Corn, rice,

1;y for internal consumption, 0o

cattle ere export crops.

Responsible for
;ern of Lan~ddol'


fct or

I i :

bIck in history,

The ori n inal a

ible for the

The effect

o r

tu, h-

nts of 1


1 -.''


n. Thu ,

cent of t

ed on ex-
On the



92 r

c pe



-s of ;
te to f:

1 -7



King of Spain to a favored few established a custom that

has not changed greatly in more than 400 years. It is

unlikely that aiy of the original large grants have re-

mained completely intact, or that any large grants are

made as such today by the government; yet the same feeli-

that land is a symbol of importance to the individual and

that it is a prize worth seeking persists today.

Political and military relationships are two impor-

tant factors that have given a preferential position to

some who today are large landowners. There is every indi-

cation that the National Guard is a vehicle of mobility in

IKicaragua, operating much as the church or education does

in other countries. In a study made by the International

Bank,it was found that some of those who might have been

able to invest in development projects were more likely

to invest their money outside of T'icaragua because they

felt that only those favored politically could succeed


The years of internal strife have also affected

land ownership and control. It would be difficult to

document outright confiscation of land by the victors of

the factional disputes, but there are some indications

that such did occur. A few Nicaraguan exiles living in

18International .r:, op. cit., p. 75.

the Costa Ricar. lowlando hae told rme personally of

their own loses due to just uch circunst .ces.

taxation -licies arc another factor in the

concentration of landhol" The Internationrl ank

stud found that oly a snail mount of soverrment income

core from rope axes, a little cae from taxes on

arictural land.19 In the bu' et of 1966, aroximately

12 per cent of Goernent income did co:e from -o

te, t there is no 'cation that any of this e

from direct takes on the land 20 If the portion of the

rrin efo islation nd t tion is

enforced, it Iill un te1 r' .e inhe lad-

hol"' pr-actices of 0 Tica ua.

Still another factor t held bc develop-

en f red-sized is the lack of cr U t. e

International 4 2k re rt of 1952 made ecial mention of

the "inefetive credit sten, especially for the provi-

ion of eiu long e ricultural a indtrial

credits." cmon practice is for a buer to dance

ore an take a lien on the future crop. He nch s

' interest on the loan he has nade, and he also pays

PIid., .

2 "
2cpublice de "ie- :u, pr _
S( ;ueio aciend? Cr1dito P2blico,
T^ i.

less than market price for the products at harvest time.

This credit system is so firmly entrenched that even

international cooperative credit organizations have a

hard time breaking it.21 Mostof the crop buyers are also


The concentration of land ownership is even greater

than the figures indicate in Tables 1 and 2 because many

operators are renting land for the cropping season. The

abundance of public lands, the low population density of

the eastern half of the Republic, and the ease of renting

have all worked together so that there is not the great

demand for land that is found in many other parts of the

world today. As a result, the concentration of landhold-

ings in the hands of a few owners has not been contested.

As population pressure increases, the demand is likely to

be sufficient to make some of the larger farms available

for more intensive cultivation.

Education is related to size of farms both as

cause and effect. A law was passed in 1917 that permitted

the acquisition of public lands. The procedure :as simple,

and it was directed at cro:_i-. up new: opportunities for

agricultural laborers to acquire farm land of their owrn.

The 1 .: was suspended in 1952 because there were many

Statements made during informal discussions with
CTUAJ/USAID officials in Nicaragua, arch, 1966.


-'.bu.c, .rd i i n icre r of lt if1ndi

"'c of edic.ior cited cs the re:. so- th' he _,--ri-

14~i~-il 1 ,1

Iit-tion. 22

:orn0 1


I -t in

t*, 1tpl

7. 1" o- l cre7e a r ari
a se i-suton u ous -enc, re
ide thhro ni
tre I ithro. d re onsi' ili

2.. ....d scttlc e:t '.Ocai\d invo7 1

S r ecesar for t'he

Se lenient ro ect, e ro;
rit: coor ensation deterrirnec
of :?' itrai on. In cases of
tio, the o- titto.. of "i

1 i, edi

,p ort I

'e p-ublic 1

I r

c Ir
b-- a-

cash ind

Son .1cultur land is introduce
revenue fror w:. ich. ouod 0 e u:ilisze
r, s of land ettolemern4. "ThiI
i' ficcnt opo l:, as prevlousl r
d hs not been Gpecificoll; taed in

Ir" or nore
: would be
ereby sccar
h e s,

d it adequa
ir.ined : b

lunt arj settlenen
aror who ha occ
iated it for a
prior to the enac
p:ermitted to p0
inr up to 50 hect
the balance, if h
tely, at a price
o of e:rperts.

e cf directed settlement, and
old to the settlers, to be repaid

i.t 1 ...te s overn ent, L tin America.n r C:
,erzin"r on "--'rarian Reforn (' asin-ton: International
;ooe ration _-"initrtion, 19 ) .,

1 )' ;: -t


71 -l

th directed ad vo
* -a n n;d
hlie lund and cult

of ofe
of the


y for
e has

Kn tk


over a period of 15 to 20 years, with
interest at a rate that is not to exceed
5 per cent. The amount to be repaid would
be reduced by 5 per cent for each son born
after the purchase contract is signed.
Supervised agricultural credit would be
introduced and adequate housing provided
for each settler in a government-directed

The agrarian reform measures were included in Decree

797, which was finally passed in April, 1963, with the pro-

viso that it be administered by the newly formed Agrarian

Institute.24 The main emphasis of the decree is on coloni-

zation of public lands, but it is too early to evaluate the

results as yet.

Results of the Concentration of
Land Ownership and Control

The low standards and levels of living, found among

a large proportion of the rural people are direct results

of the concentration of landholdings. The International

Bank found "generally low standards of health and education."

A summary statement was made, which includes the following

items: (1) A few people in Ticaragua enjoy a 1-.1 h income

and a high level of livi-, comparable to the best in Europe

or the United States; (2) the large majority of the pe le

2Ibid., p. 14P.

24Heaton, op. cit., Table I.

- -e mlo inccre, crd 'o0, level. of li-ing; (3) the V ic

., and -ice, but

i nck of _fe d-i-k-

.e li-tcr~ 7 r-te is

id' e" e c '


de sine t-V2,

i in

A.hi .. .V**

r te th4- lees th'n 1


c popul ti

c-qe lwhic

G 9o

Sn one rur' -l ille I c

1 < p 1 1* 4 -
.1 jLou A .; L uj ^w U i



is 1ss th

1 city

to im-ro0


"iviend olderr II (IrcG
Sad*l ticn 7 Cen sos, laC"

,Ccnsos 7'scion les r'3:

. 11.x:
Direction Kenernl de

iet 1- con

it is 1

:d of corn,

, plunt

-i-, (~

1idera :

t 7it-:

oC .,, a.
0 cJ;- sJLf.' . i




-.+- nf +-.!

le of Vt

In the International Bank report of 1952, it was

recommended that, because of the low levels that were

encountered, both health and education be included in the

plan for economic development. Some outstanding improve-

ments can be noted in education in the subsequent period.

Illiteracy decreased from 62.6 per cent in 1950 to 49.2

per cent in 1963. Yet, the rate of illiteracy in the

rural areas was still at a high of 70.2 per cent, and

only 18.0 per cent of the rural children were attending


Another result of concentration in the ownership

and control of the land has been an exodus of rural labor-

ers to the urban centers. Durand and Pelaez have calcu-

lated that the urban population is incre- i'* at an annual

rate of 5.9 per cent, while the rural population is in-

creasing at an annual rate of only 1.9 per cent (even

though the rural birth rate is higher than that of the
urban centers).8 The rural population accounted for

65.1 of the total in 1950 and was estimated at only 57.1

27Republica de "icaragua, Censos Tacionales, 1963:
Educaci6n Volumen I (Managua: Direcci6n generall de
Estadlstica y Censos, 1965), p. xiii.

2John D. Durand and Cesar A. Pelaez, "Patterns of
Urbanization in Latin America," Milbank Memorial Fund
Quarterly, Vol. 43, :o. 4, (1965), P. 179.


per cent in 960. 2 t the cm_ e time eh t difficult

conditions exist in tLe rural re .j, there ~ re mrjy thin"j

.. kir it c-ie to c to the cities. These n. alter-

_c-ties incre se te li'helihood of niL tion.

e relation i: t tween lare lai odirs, economic

rosltior,. ,.rd olitC.' O : hL: to ,deerr-ini
... t o, 1 o1ep CO


If offii *

.a a el s ,

, dt -i-

rt 1 ri**


4- 1


Srn 03 Y) -" ** '^
r-, "l7 "0,, 1- l ---*
-n >q ^.,,^ i -t n l

eres It is

oi0U i t 1 on .

e i of -

o tt

the eco oic

frop: ooliti

.l. Lut ser

this -o)itior.

j e e e 1 1 4--e L "*ri

h.: A "1-h "iccrno ijidi;.pi-

^ ^ -f ^ < ^ -t- .. ^.--i.' ,o 3 i

tkese ....i.... "' dcerrmre

:1' en of1 T


St re ~r


notable property. It was found that each area had a crude

mapping system that was used to help define the limits of

the lands pert-i-ir- to each village. There was no

scarcity of land, but the maps were used by the elders

in the event of a dispute over boundaries.3

Cold was not abundant in "Ticaragua, so the aniards

were forced to use the land as the major source of wealth.

Cultivation was begun almost immediately. The Spaniards

established plantations of indigo and cacao for export,

and they undertook the production of cotton, citrus, .

cane, food crops, and cattle for internal consumption. The

area of most intense cultivation was near what is now Rivas

and .r In the Leon area to the north, some attempts

at f_- i:" also were made, but the soil and cliLate were

not as favorable there. The central and eastern portions

of the country were not colonized during the early period.31

Landholdin- in 'icaragua followed the general

pattern of all of the NTew 'Jorld that was under anish

domination. Upon its discovery, the whole territory was

proclaimed as property of the King. By persuasion or

force much of the most desirable lands were taken over by

0Jose D. Ganez, Historia de jTicaragua (1Managua:
El Pals, 1889), p. 38.

3Ibid., pp. 51-56.

the conquest adorez. The 3opni':rds of .,11 rarks were

c ;er to e ossession of l1r e tracts of 1an r. For

-hose of ' er rnk, direct r, ts wree r.cdp i-h the

Fi ; for those of lower rank, smaller tC were

out b- tV

for this

neor the

inS horne;

able on


were de

they wern


cipien i
C pic
1 --h S I

ie lead


rs from I1- s

SSZrall tract

design i a v-

.antirn ens

is f:
1fP -



t t

s of 1

ill .e

; 1lso

4- h '1



to ext

al possessions.

ter factor also irfli

11 portion of the tot

o lac: of precise

.... there

e- 6 1 '- 1 Q-

Ki n- h,--d

were si

re I

e i U

Se'" specific

ommrunal holdings but

1r nts of lnd w-ere rn

general actice fo

-ies far b nd the

ened the siz

1 nd d be

ription of ir

s to hoi ruc ch


en i








n1 -r

each :


of hol:'


ertyi boun-

elors t

ioj ed that




f -..dl


k. i

T wT


.f i

adequate systems of recording the titles of ownership,

the understanding that possession and use were important

aspects of legal ownership, and the basic fact that land

was abundant, all tended to make the large landed estate

an ideal worth striving for.32

The concentration of land in the hands of a few

continued after the establishment of the Republic. The

Constitution of 1838 respected private property and indi-

cated no great concern over the tendency toward large

holdings that had developed when Nicaragua was a Spanish

colony. The Constitution of 1939 showed for the first

time a concern for landholding. It stated that "property

has a social function, and the obligations of the owner

to society shall be determined by the State"; land taxation

was first mentioned; and the government was charged with

encouraging the preservation of medium-sized and small

holdings and the division of latifundia.33

Since 1939 the pressure for change in landholding

has been increasing in Nicaragua. It was not until the

Agricultural Survey of 1952 that an accurate appraisal of

the size of holdings could be made. The data from this

survey are summarized in Table 5. For comparative purposes,

3Smith, op. cit., pp. 51-67 and 90-97.

33Blandon, op. cit., p. 19.



Size of

Per cent of

Per cent of
total area

Under 5 19.9 0.8

5-9.9 15.0 1.5

10-19.9 16.7 3.3

20-49.9 20.7 9.4

5-49.9 52.4 14.2

50-99.9 15.2 14.5

100-199.9 7.3 13.5

200-499.9 3.6 15.0

500-999.9 0.9 9.2

1000-2499.9 0.5 10.5

50-2499.9 27.5 62.7

2500 and over 0.2 22.3

Total 100.00 100.00

Source: Compiled and computed from data in Alfonso Blandon,
Land Tenure in Nicaragua (Unpublished Master's Thesis,
University of Florida, 1962).

Table 6 is also presented to show the changes from 1952

to 1963. In this period of time, the number of holdings

in :icaragua increased from 51,581 to 102,201, and the

area involved increased from 3,388,789 to 5,461,162

manzanas. Of particular interest to this study is the

fact that the trend shows a decrease in the relative number

of medium-sized holdings as well as the relative area in-

volved. It is in this category that the family-sized farm

is most likely to be found.

Summary and Conclusions

The degree to which the ownership and control of

the productive land is concentrated in the hands of a few

individuals is the most important aspect of man-land rela-

tionships. This chapter on size of farms has described

and analyzed the distribution of different sizes of agri-

cultural and stock raising establishments in ::icaragua

to discover to what degree this concentration exists.

Three main categories are used: small farms,

those under 5 manzanas in size; medium-sized farms, from

5 to 49.9 manzanas; large farms, from 50 to 2,499.9 man-

zanas; and latifundias, places of 2,500 manzanas and over.

Size as measured by area alone is not enough to determine

ownership and control of the land but, when it is combined

with land use, one obtains a good indication of how the

capital, management, and labor are applied in the enterprises.



Size of 1952 1963
Explotaciones Per cent of Per cent of
(manzanas) Explotaciones Area Explotaciones Area

Under 5 19.9 0.8 35.4 1.5

5-49.9 52.4 14.2 42.8 13.2

50-2499.9 27.5 62.7 21.2 65.1

Over 2500 0.2 23.3 0.2 20.2

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0


Compiled and computed from data in Alfonso Blandon,
Land Tenure in Nicaragua (Unpublished Master's Thesis,
University of Florida, 1962), and Republica de
Nicaragua, Censos Nacionales 1963: Agropecuario.
(Managua: Direcci6n General de Estadistica y Censos,

The ideal social situation results when the farmer and

his family can provide all three elements.

In Iicaragua the Agricultural Census of 1963 pre-

sents adequate data on size of the agricultural establish-

nents. The small-sized units account for 35.4 per cent

of all establishments, but they include only 1.5 per cent

of the agricultural land area of the Republic. The con-

parable data for the other categories are as follows:

medium-sized establishments, ".2.8 per cent of the units

and 13.2 per cent of the area; I.- e establishments, 21.2

per cent of units and 65.1 per cent of the area; latifundia,

0.2 per cent of units and 20.2 per cent of the area. T'! so

figures indicate that there is a high degree of concentra-

tion in the ownership and control of the agricultural land

of :icaragua. They also indicate that a large number of

extremely small plots are present. This latifundia-

rinifundia combination likewise iz characteristic of r

other parts of the world.

The size of the agricultural-pastoral units a!so

varies considerably from one to the other of the three

natural geographic regions in 7icar The highly

developed Pacific region has a relatively more pronounced

latifundi--ninifundia combination; the 'Torth-Central region

has a relatively high proportion of medium-sized establish-

nents; and the Atlantic region has a sibnificantly I

proportion of lar units.

When land-use is related to size of farms, a

clearer picture of some of these man-land relationships

emerges. Three main categories are used here to describe

the use of Nicaragua's agricultural land. As the size

of the establishments increases: the proportion of crop

land decreases; that of pasture land increases; and that

of forest land increases rapidly. As a specific example

of this relationship of land use, forest and pasture land

combined account for only 25 per cent of the area of small

establishments, and 94 per cent of that in places of over

2,500 manzanas.

The concentration of landholding in Nicaragua is

not due to any one factor. Certainly the Spanish heritage

as a cultural pattern is an important starting point.

Other factors are: the political upheavals since inde-

pendence; the preferential position of a few individuals

because of political and military association; the absence

of an effective tax on land; the lack of agricultural cre-

dit for small farmers; misuse of public land grants; and

the low levels of education among rural people. In recent

times the growing concern over the inequalities in land

ownership and control has brought about changes in the law.

It is too early as yet to measure any significant changes

in the size of farms as a result of these laws.

It is not possible to relate completely present

social problems and the concentration in landholdings.

Undoubtedly the low levels and standards of living in the

rural areas do have a close relationship. Health and

sanitation problems have been mentioned by many authors

as an inde:: to this situation. In spite of great efforts

of the government, illiteracy remains at a high of 70 per

cent of those ten years of age and over in the rural areas.

Because conditions have not improved in proportion to

expectations, many rural people are migrating to the cities,

thus compounding the problems already found in providing

adequate urban facilities. An obvious result of the con-

centration of ownership and control of the land is the

contrasting style of life for those in different social

and economic positions.

The pattern of land ownership and control has

changed little since the days when Licaragua was a Spanish

colony. There was slight opportunity for the pre-Columbian

customs to prevail over the all-pervasive Spanish desire

for land and the social power and prestige: that went with

it. Independence did not greatly change this cultural

pattern, partly because land was abundant. Only in recent

times have pressure for change been great enough and social

contact with other areas of the world open enough to cause

the rural population to realize that something should and

could be done to bring about a more equitable distribution

of ownership and control of the land in rTicaragua.

JrxP'1 T'er~r

'-, in their rel

^r-~. rights th7t 'r

r, t 4- h y^ r frorer

different de es of sa

the So'^errj"en,' h, ut-h

nights, Cr the rlcltior

1 dd c'e certctin

b- society. Te e

ch -re b-c',ed ir. '


.- 13 "; 1-,

,, to

Co en


nf '-oi

n.riteer la 1

"crce wv'ith r
--L~e~c 'I;~-To1

, I1hic

>-e sev

1 1 1..

, 4-lo7'-

(1) 4t-e c ner41

i I -.^r,
^ 1 ; y, | ^ /. .^ ^ ^^ "
':"7r T"..A ; :..:'*^y-t

r tr re c

(o) the r

he "i c rr

-: cti-viti

I 4)--'

rich rh


fo rr of 1:

;S , n -

1 La d


:s co b-.

tc b e

to su-stiin

it -I,, la -, S Sorioloy of ur life (I
ro e r 2 7


- i
* i "

T -J
G'O'*- : '" r -'5 1p

if .r

o .,,

possession of scarce and valuable resources and, for

this reason, the individual who possesses rights of

ownership and control of land can influence the actions

of others. As was pointed out in Chapter III, when the

ownership and control of the land in a society are con-

contrated in the hands of a few people, equality in social

relations is difficult if not impossible to achieve.

Land as a form of wealth differs from other mater-

ial objects in another important aspect: main i

physical possession of land as personal property repre-

sents a special problem because of its size. It is almost

impossible to put land behind walls high enough or str

enough to prevent occupation b; others. Squatter inva-

sions have plagued land owners throughout recent history

and are a major problem in some countries today. 7or

thiL reason, legal rights to the land as defined in

tenure relationships become extremely important. In the

case of land, .---sical possession does not alw. count

for the proverbial "nine points of the law." legal

document is necessary to prove ownership. Thus, an accu-

rate description of the extent of 1-:al ri_'ts to the

land becomes of -ital significance in a study of ar 's

relationship to the land.

rr .-ert; 7i-jits nd Thwir Tevelo cenr-

In priniti-e

th-.t the ri t- no-

o nerchi of 1

thi is, ch ri

whco c1'ti' a

his occ .qion a-

i -e~l in delin

transfer of clains

r e si oni i i t" e

ourse 0of tirne, te

oceieties t


3ent with phrC

s essentiall

.rticulr tr-

e of it,

land was in

w Hith probi

to partic'la

often e e er ne

re assembled

enphcsis ha

nf the land

here is

sic1 oc

ct ere h
ct i-'pl

greater c

of a,

r tracts

ts as to

nd codi

s chifted

to the DC

-eryT likelihood

e ith 1 -Al

tion end use

old h nar

S:7 re son of

!oc ioe .ore

of iand. Cradu

land r ts and

fied. In the

I front nere

4.4 ^r



.e n o.. S..

.s not reat,


if7 W "


At-e 0r

1 oni

ensure of
since nti

define the limits of property rights as to area, but no

further codification of custom was observed.2

The present-day tenure arrangements in Nicaragua

can be traced to the Spanish colonizers, but they were

not necessarily found in Spain. Land tenure provisions

in Spain had many recognized deficiencies, and these were

wisely corrected in the laws that were used in the colo-

nies. From the beginning, the land was claimed for the

Crown. This was one of the first "rituals" performed by

the conquistadores. The King began to dispose of the

land in liberal quantities, but not without reason or an

idea of its value. Rather specific stipulations were

made as to how the amount should vary in accordance with

the rank and position of the recipient.3

During the first part of the colonial period, there

were three ways in which an individual could acquire pro-

perty rights to the land: (1) by grants given directly

by the King; (2) by assignment from the leaders of expe-

ditions whom the King had commissioned to distribute

rights to tracts of land to their followers; and (3) by

allotments also made by the leader of an expedition or

the council of a new settlement, of building lots. It

2Jose D. Gamez, Historia de Nicaragua (Managua:
El Pals, 1889), pp. 37-38.

3T. Lynn Smith, Colombia: Social Structure and Pro-
cess of Development (Gainesville: University of Florida
Press, 1967), pp. 90-91.

uJ 1 ter decreed that full rights to the land, equivalent

to fee si* le er o be ven after f-r y,-rs of resi-

Ir addition,

lands ve:

to the r

0ornunl property, mely id: adjacent

,s for use as co n pasture ard ri

ted an ith the proceed to be used

s bu.. rrt nd the nts re "iber!, yet

s deire for more lr.nd, y 191 th dis-

d o~sseosion were so nu.e.o. s th-t : review

was decreed.

Iporc-nt deo-el -rent. -- e riou s reI -:

r n a. p.0t c1 -oloni" ;oli.y h-d bee-r

4-1 -

S- -;

fi4. itle,






for co0runit urpo

f 1 clai

r corfri


r ix')

In spite of thi., abuses were common, and the

King was forced to take corrective measures. However,

because of local pressures as well as the distance from

Spain, miny of the decree- were never carried out. Some

of the problems that developed duri'-_ this period remain

today in tenure relationships, and include: (1) the lack

of a clear definition of the grants made by the King to

individuals; (2) a general tendency for the recipient to

extend the boundaries of the t by-r' : reasonable

limits, and (3) the lack of an adequate method of register-

ing land transactions and preserving the records.6

Today, property rights to the land in "icar are

defined in the Constitution. As was true during the long

colonial period, these rights also have been essentially

equivalent to fee simple since the adoption of the

Constitution of 1838. In essence, the state retains only

the right of eminent domain, those to the subsoil, and

that of taxation. In addition to the rights of ownership,

the social obli -'ions of property ownership are also pre-

scribed. The articles of the Constitution of 1950 (which

is now in force) pertaining to property rights are as


Article 63. Property is inviolable. "o one
nay be deprived of his property except '

6Alfonso Blandon, Land Tenure in Nicaragua. Master's
thesis (Gainesville: University of Florida, 1962), p. 14.


judicial j ;geent, r Jener'l tax, or "or
public use ad social interest according to
a::e and u n prior ~:ert in ca h of just
compensation. In the eent of national war,
or internal listurbance, or public c 1 aity,
the caopetent authorities my pse pri ate
propertJ to the extent r i: by public
-ood, leCa-ins intact the ri ts to subsequent

-rticle 6 Pro
function, ose
eter~ine tleir

.rticle 6". The
SIts exercise

the linitatlcns


ob 1 4 i or
L,., I T.3-- 4

hn C|- 01 1sT y, "p
ri7 1 AQ,

CZd -9-J' 0 "
.tV *it ^i1 ^
1 t,, e .-

n 0,-
int6rEs floe

or p iitio

1^^ ntre c'

* 4rr 1 ...

-4' t 1 ?. e 7
-r d rru^

7"^ .*- -

^^ 1 ,-, Ylil 4-^

t Vir

of its social
The lw shall
and t extent.

i. t. of ropert-, as
concerned, is .uje
o d t e it- r
i ~

ement, of
s of rent.

o eet-. /^cysi^f *s ^f TT f -

rtic, ;rd i suj e ct l u'-I1:


1 ,

' ._ -

:s .s ,- 1 L 41
.,,4-. ^,^. ^ -
> ^ ,^ -^1

-0 0

hoC r

str ctl

Article 75. The family estate (patrimonio
faniliar7 is established on the basis that it
shall be inalienable, unattachable, and exempt
from every public charge. This principle shall
be regulated by law.

Article 241. Lands, woods, waters, ard in gen-
eral all property of public use bel to the
State, e::cept for legally acquired rights. The
Law shall prescribe the conditions for their
use by the State, or for granting them to indi-
viduals, in fee or by another title.

Article 2L2. The riches of the subsoil bel.
to the Stcte. Their exploitation by individuals
nay be authorized only on the basis of participa-
tion by the Stats in the profits. Excepted from
this provision are stones for builiL o o orna-
mental purposes, pozzuolana, send, slate, clay,
line, and other substances generally used in

Although the essential elements of p:- rty rights

to the land in :icaragua have not changed from those speci-

fied in the early constitutions, there have been some

development and clarification. The right of disposition

(presently in Article 74) was first stated in the Consti-

tution of 1893, as was the protection against entailme t.

Statements much like those in Articles 65, 66, and 7. were

fir-t included in the Constitution of 1939, and it i

the-e which provide the legal basis for agrarian reform.

Article 63 w-s amended by the :Ttional Congress in

1966 to read "for reasons of Agrarian Reform, when

7Pan Aserican Union, Constitution of the Republic
of .icaragu- -- 1950 ('.--s.irtton: Organizttion of American
Sates, 1966), pp. 7, 9, and 38.

Blandon, op. cit., pp. 18-19'.

'cvi4ti- tfurdi, xTr considered, the A ,-ent c .r

c n- in ov-erxet bond, rion, i-ltere t -rd

tl-r ccndi ions o c w:ill ofvI fied :- a.--

-" t4- .. 1 1 r t ert ri t"

41 * 1 n "r

t ,St- f f ----

of .--c ,-iti-

+-V-Q 7 i-^4 i-



, C-' I-I 1

L.. -'

, these

4- r-

1 0 .

J :'I I -


i ;

LC~Ch V)~

Thc Tenure Status of
"icara-uan "rnm Personnel

The record fundamental part of the study of land

tenure invl--cs a determination of the distribution of

the bundle of property ri-hts to the land air_ the -

cultural personnel. In this analysis one nust deal

specifically with the two lar e categories, nearly farn

operators -nd farm laborers into which that personnel is


he first tec necessarily is the determination of

the pprorinate nu-mber of families dependent on icul-

ture and stock raising. After this has beer accomplished,

the cocnd step is to estimate the absolute and relati-e

inm ortance of f-rm operators and farm laborers respectiv-

ly. A a final step, the absolute and relative importance

of some of the specific categories of frm operators and

farm laborers should be calculated.

It must be emphasized ascin that an eoplotaci6n

aLropecuario is not synonymous with what is generally

understood as a farm. The major difference is that the

category of explotaciones includes not only all of the

tracts of land that properly nay be classified as farms,

but also very large numbers of small subsistence tracts

used by farm laborers.

S1 ith, Colombia, p. 108.


Tl e'Zi. of r)-lieJ Deprendrt on .^ricul'~t.r nd .toc'-

2en e oets of cc- ilations lead uv to the con-

in :Tic;

deo cndent o:

ua approximately 12,C0 frilles

ricu u-

c-' raisin, for

stinater is set

fo th in ti e follo:in,

irst, 12 ,560 1

.3 n ally
_ .l,.. economicTLL:

aisir- Thi. incl

e tJ- do

tive in i ric ltur

d stock

ore f -ilies thrt live i

ose residin-: in rural -.r

include ;,i fa ili


reason ^, an

1 '~lliI


does not incld a th

i p cenrters.

*r irclud

d i f b it

1 eutiir1~ ir~n r.ho i1 1

e two crou

e is clo

f filies of f
-Cr, - ^/ .
A j.^J. X -^. ~ t^ x

-e-u ip e ::
Po ?l^ci "olunen r (,In
tic esc, Ti 7,

-- -l T ,

, .. l r- 193
DIrecci-n 'enerl.I de "iat-

> sos cioWe ion-,e ':; e
a C C. 1 I d t- 3Jt

c7 uionr

1 classed

AL t
bJ L.^

-PI j O'-: at 1 I

" nal f i

'ds of famili

nU]e e

Third, a sli-htly different -,pproach Sivs-t 12,'32

farm aznilies. This result i- obtained by divi"'.-- the

total r-ral population (908,296) by the nean size of rural

families (-.).-' Again, the rural families not engas

in a-riculture and the urban finilies who liv-e by f:--i

are not tl:en into -ccount, but they are approirinate-l

equ.l in number.

rour, 279,637 people Lre reported as being econo -

ic-ll -cti-vc in fariin-. If thi number is divided by

the -ean nrbcr of persons per .hily who are econonicall

active (1.8), the computation lives an estimated 14 0, 97

farm fa -ilies.'4 These figures include both rural and

urb.n persons.

Thus, although the figures by no neans should be

considered exact, there i, very good reason for t '

2,C0, as a "fair appro:ination of the actual number of

agricultural families in Ticaragua.

Par- Ccerators.

The determination of the numbers and proportions

of :icara "' 's families who belong in the cat ories of

13e, 1i ca de ica- ,ua, Cenros acionalcs l3:
Foblacion Volu-en (' .. 5ua: Direcci6n Ceneral de Lsta-
distica y Consos, 196 p. .:ii.

reepublica de Iicaragua, Censos eacionales 1963:
?obl~acion V'olumen III (I'anagua: Direcci'on Ceeral de
astadlstica y Censos, 1967), P. 8.


.rr' o, ertor, cnd f..r. l. order, 2 ecti J, iS noP-

ttr -
Z. it i3 to be acuncf tlhAt tcre i3 cne 0= .r- r-

4. ^ n 1r. ,

1- K "1 t a: I y t r Or ::> ,nn

a ir the city)

or tis res

4- - _:

-fron 1

to W


~n1 t

" -0 "r r

_c.r' otherA -re trctc,

rtial ,.rirert for their

A.ll of the elota-

o14c-hf ofthose

.d on-third of tho.c

re ade, 7,923 eL. .o-
1 c -

a i iii ,


i e"s

- ? f i

T"'le 8.)

en,- Yn4*n .

on id eri

r- -P

rie I AP 1

ti-.e, it fol


:ir- te1

is .i:el

e -

70 ? 2)



Size of Explotaciones
(in Manzanas)
Number Per Cent

Total 102,201 100.0

Less than 1 2,258 2.2

1-4.9 33,948 33.2

5-9.9 15,730 15.4
10-19.9 13,273 13.0

20-49.9 14,703 14.4

50-99.9 10,949 10.7
100-199.9 6,291 6.1

200-499.9 3,551 3.5

500-999.9 920 0.9

1000-2499.9 405 0.4

2500 and over 170 0.2

Source: Compiled and computed from data in Republica de
Nicaragua, Censos Nacionales, 1963: Agropecuario
(Managua: Direccion General de EstadTstica y
Censos, 1966), p. xiv.


IN TIC. 1963

Occupational Categories

Number of Persons
Economically Active

Cultivators, stock raisers and
administrators of e -lota-
ciones agropecuarios

1'ltivators and stock raisers


Farm laborers


d gardeners

U- id fanmilT workers

Operators of



Gardeners and caretakers

r laborers

Stal population economically
in culturee and stock










Source: Compiled and computed from data in Republica de
'icar -;ua, Censos Tacionales, 1963: Poblacion
Volumen (Ianagua: Direccion Ceneral de
Estadaltica y tensos, 1067), P. 131.

were previously excluded. Their exclusion would lower

the first calculation. It is also likely that not all

of the unpaid family labor should be considered as part

of the family of farm operators. If so, this would lower

the second figure. For these reasons, the number of farm

operator families in Nicaragua is calculated to be approxi-

mately 72,000, or 49 per cent of all agricultural families

in Nicaragua.

In Nicaragua, there are a number of common terms

used to denote the various types of farm operators. The

meanings vary slightly from place to place and from common

to legal usage, but they are generally understood by all.

These terms are used here to describe the specific cate-

gories of operators.

A propietario is one who has legal title to land

and is operating it as a farm. He enjoys all of the

rights provided by the Constitution; in fact many of its

restrictive aspects are not generally enforced.

An arrendatario is a farm operator who secures the

use of land for a stated time and usually for a set pur-

pose, through payment of a fee to the owner, usually in

cash and in advance. At the present time a large amount

of land is being rented in the Pacific region for use in

cotton production; and the annual rent is around 300

c6rdovas (approximately $42) per manzana. The duration

of the rights to the land is restricted to the cropping

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