A land grant is a gift of real estate—land or its use privileges—made by a government or other authority as an incentive, means of enabling works, or as a reward for services to an individual, especially in return for military service. Grants of land are also awarded to individuals and companies as incentives to develop unused land in relatively unpopulated countries; the process of awarding land grants are not limited to the countries named below. The United States historically gave out numerous land grants as Homesteads to individuals desiring to prove a farm. The American Industrial Revolution was guided by many supportive acts of legislatures (for example, the Main Line of Public Works legislation of 1863) promoting commerce or transportation infrastructure development by private companies, such as the Cumberland Road turnpike, the Lehigh Canal, the Schuylkill Canal and the many railroads that tied the young United States together.
Roman soldiers were given pensions ( praemia ) at the end of their service including cash or land. Augustus fixed the amount in 5 AD at 3,000 denarii and by the time of Caracalla it had risen to 5,000 denarii.One denarius was roughly equivalent to a day's wages for an unskilled laborer.
In 1788 the British claimed all of eastern Australia as its own, and formed the colony of New South Wales in Australia. The land was claimed as crown land. Over time, it granted land to officers and released convicts. 30 acres (12 ha), plus 20 acres (8.1 ha) if they were married, and 10 acres (4 ha) additional per child. Instructions were issued on 20 August 1789 that non-commissioned marine officers were to be entitled to 100 acres (40 ha) additional and privates to 50 acres (20 ha) additional.Males were allowed
Governor Macquarie canceled land grants issued during the Rum Rebellion of 1808–09, although some were later restored.
Land grants started to be phased out when private tendering was introduced, and stricter limits were placed on grants without purchase. The instructions to Governor Brisbane were issued on 17 July 1825. From 9 January 1831, all land was to be sold at public auction.
There were also significant land grants in the Swan River Colony (Western Australia), and in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) from 1803.
The Hudson's Bay Company was incorporated in 1670 with the grant of Rupert's Land by King Charles II of England; this vast territory was greater than one third the area of Canada today. Following the Rupert's Land Act in the British Parliament, Rupert's Land was sold in 1869 to the newly formed Canadian Government for the nominal sum of £300,000.
Land grants were an incentive for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The Plantations of Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries involved the confiscation of some or all the land of Irish lords and its grant to settlers ("planters") from England or Scotland. The English Parliament's Adventurers' Act 1640 and Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652 specifically entitled "Adventurers" who funded the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland to lands seized from the leaders of the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and the ensuing Confederacy.[ citation needed ]
In New Zealand two private railway companies were offered land grants to build a railway, though both were eventually taken over by the government and incorporated into the government-owned New Zealand Railways Department.
During England's colonization of the Americas, the English Crown gave land grants to encourage the foundation of overseas possessions in North America. King James I of England granted a royal charter to the Virginia Company of London, an English joint-stock company founded to colonize Virginia. Similar schemes were later used when royal charters were granted by the Crown to English proprietary colonies in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Some settlers were given land grants known as headrights, encouraging them to migrate to North America. Similar systems were used during the Dutch colonization of the Americas.
As English colonial law developed,[ when? ] headrights became patents and a patentee had to improve the land. Under this doctrine of planting and seeding, the patentee was required to cultivate one acre (4,000 m2) of land and build a small house on the property, otherwise the patent would revert to the government.
Between 1783 and 1821, Spain offered land grants to anyone who settled in their colonies of Florida and Louisiana.[ citation needed ] When the United States acquired that land by treaties, it agreed to honor all valid land grants. As a result, years of litigation ensued over the validity of many of the Spanish land grants.[ citation needed ]
Spain and Mexico used the same system of offering land grants along the Rio Grande River near the Texas/Mexico border. These grants were given to help colonization of the area, initially by the Spanish crown, and later by Mexican authorities [ clarification needed ] nationals, and strengthen frontier towns along the Texas border. During the Mexican period of California (and other portions of Mexican territories inherited from New Spain), the Mexican government granted individuals hundreds of ranchos or large tracts of land. The ranchos established land-use patterns that remain recognizable in the California of today. Controversy[ clarification needed ] over community land grant claims in New Mexico persist to this day.
Future President Thomas Jefferson crafted the Ordinance of 1784, which carved out ten prospective states west of the Appalachian Mountains and established the basis for the Public Land Survey System. The Land Ordinance of 1785 provided a method for settling that land and establishing government institutions, which became federal land policy until 1862. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established the Northwest Territory, pursuant to which homesteading settlers could buy land, and certain land was set aside for public schools and other purposes. The federal government acquired additional lands by treaties with various Native American tribes, such as the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, by which many eastern tribes agreed to settle across the Mississippi River. Revenues from public land purchases were a major source of funding for the federal government through the 19th century, along with tariff revenues, since the federal income tax was not established until the 20th century.
Starting with the American Revolutionary War, veterans often received land grants instead of backpay or other remuneration.Bounty-land warrants, often for 160 acres, were issued to veterans from 1775 to 1855, thus including veterans of the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican–American War, as well as various Indian wars. The land grants helped settle the Northwest Territory (and later smaller areas, such as the Indiana Territory, the Illinois Territory and the Wisconsin Territory) and as well as the Platte Purchase in Missouri. Eligibility for the warrants expanded over the years through new Congressional acts of 1842, 1850, 1852 and 1855 to the point where they could be sold or given to descendants. The warrant program was discontinued before the American Civil War.
During the 19th century, various states (or even smaller units), as well as the federal government, made extensive land grants to encourage internal improvements, usually to improve transportation, such as construction of bridges and canals. The Land Grant Act of 1850 provided for 3.75 million acres of land to the states to support railroad projects; by 1857 21 million acres of public lands were used for railroads in the Mississippi River valley, and the stage was set for more substantial Congressional subsidies to future railroads.Universities were also beneficiaries of land grants. All five of the transcontinental railroads in the United States were built using land grants.
The Morrill Land-Grant Acts of 1862 and 1890 provided for the establishment of land-grant colleges.
There is general agreement that the United States' federal policy of offering land grants had a positive impact on economic development in the 19th century.
America's first transcontinental railroad was a 1,911-mile (3,075 km) continuous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 that connected the existing eastern U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the Pacific coast at the Oakland Long Wharf on San Francisco Bay. The rail line was built by three private companies over public lands provided by extensive US land grants. Building was financed by both state and US government subsidy bonds as well as by company-issued mortgage bonds. The Western Pacific Railroad Company built 132 miles (212 km) of track from the road's western terminus at Alameda/Oakland to Sacramento, California. The Central Pacific Railroad Company of California (CPRR) constructed 690 miles (1,110 km) east from Sacramento to Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. The Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) built 1,085 miles (1,746 km) from the road's eastern terminus at the Missouri River settlements of Council Bluffs and Omaha, Nebraska, westward to Promontory Summit.
A transcontinental railroad or transcontinental railway is contiguous railroad trackage, that crosses a continental land mass and has terminals at different oceans or continental borders. Such networks can be via the tracks of either a single railroad or over those owned or controlled by multiple railway companies along a continuous route. Although Europe is crisscrossed by railways, the railroads within Europe are usually not considered transcontinental, with the possible exception of the historic Orient Express. Transcontinental railroads helped open up unpopulated interior regions of continents to exploration and settlement that would not otherwise have been feasible. In many cases they also formed the backbones of cross-country passenger and freight transportation networks. Many of them continue to have an important role in freight transportation and some like the Trans-Siberian Railway even have passenger trains going from one end to the other.
The Gadsden Purchase is a 29,640-square-mile (76,800 km2) region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that the United States acquired from Mexico by the Treaty of Mesilla, which took effect on June 8, 1854. The purchase included lands south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande where the U.S. wanted to build a transcontinental railroad along a deep southern route, which the Southern Pacific Railroad later completed in 1881–1883. The purchase also aimed to resolve other border issues.
The Panama Canal Railway is a railway line linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in Central America. The route stretches 47.6 miles (76.6 km) across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón (Atlantic) to Balboa. Because of the difficult physical conditions of the route and state of technology, the construction was renowned as an international engineering achievement, one that cost US$8 million and the lives of an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 workers. Opened in 1855, the railway preceded the Panama Canal by half a century; the railway was vital in assisting the construction of the canal in the early 1900s. With the opening of the canal, the railroad's route was changed as a result of the creation of Gatun Lake, which flooded part of the original route. Following World War II, the railroad's importance declined and much of it fell into a state of neglect until 1998, when a project to rebuild the railroad to haul intermodal traffic began; the new railroad opened in 2001.
The Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 were a series of acts of Congress that promoted the construction of a "transcontinental railroad" in the United States through authorizing the issuance of government bonds and the grants of land to railroad companies. In 1853, the War Department under then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis was authorized by the Congress to conduct surveys of five different potential transcontinental routes from the Mississippi ranging from north to south. It submitted a massive twelve volume report to Congress with the results in early 1855. However, no route or bill could be agreed upon and passed authorizing the Government's financial support and land grants until the secession of the southern states in 1861 removed their opposition to a central route. The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 was the original act. Some of its provisions were subsequently modified, expanded, or repealed by four additional amending Acts: The Pacific Railroad Act of 1863, Pacific Railroad Act of 1864, Pacific Railroad Act of 1865, and Pacific Railroad Act of 1866.
The Grand Trunk Railway was a railway system that operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario and in the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, with corporate headquarters in London, United Kingdom. It cost an estimated $160 million to build. The Grand Trunk, its subsidiaries, and the Canadian Government Railways were precursors of today's Canadian National Railway.
Wooden railroads, called wagonways, were built in the United States starting from the 1720s. A railroad was reportedly used in the construction of the French fortress at Louisburg, Nova Scotia, in New France in 1720. Between 1762 and 1764, at the close of the French and Indian War (1756–1763), a gravity railroad called Montresor's Tramway was built by British military engineers up the steep riverside terrain near the Niagara River waterfall's escarpment at the Niagara Portage in Lewiston, New York.
The Kansas Pacific Railway (KP) was a historic railroad company that operated in the western United States in the late 19th century. It was a federally chartered railroad, backed with government land grants. At a time when the first transcontinental railroad was being constructed by the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific, it tried and failed to join the transcontinental ranks. It was originally the "Union Pacific, Eastern Division", although it was completely independent. The Pennsylvania Railroad, working with Missouri financiers, designed it as a feeder line to the transcontinental system. The owners lobbied heavily in Washington for money to build a railroad from Kansas City to Colorado, and then to California. It failed to get funding to go west of Colorado. It operated many of the first long-distance lines in the state of Kansas in the 1870s, extending the national railway network westward across that state and into Colorado. Its main line furnished a principal transportation route that opened up settlement of the central Great Plains, and its link from Kansas City to Denver provided the last link in the coast-to-coast railway network in 1870. The railroad was consolidated with the Union Pacific in 1880, and its mainline continues to be an integral part of the Union Pacific network today.
A land patent is a form of letters patent assigning official ownership of a particular tract of land that has gone through various legally-prescribed processes like surveying and documentation, followed by the letter's signing, sealing, and publishing in public records, made by a sovereign entity.
Federal lands are lands in the United States owned by the federal government. Pursuant to the Property Clause of the United States Constitution, Congress has the power to retain, buy, sell, and regulate federal lands, such as by limiting cattle grazing on them. These powers have been recognized in a long line of United States Supreme Court decisions.
The Texas and Pacific Railway Company was created by federal charter in 1871 with the purpose of building a southern transcontinental railroad between Marshall, Texas, and San Diego, California.
Gualala is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County in the U.S. state of California. It is located north of The Sea Ranch and south of Point Arena, California. Gualala shares its southern border with the southern border of Mendocino County. It is located on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Gualala River, on State Route 1. It serves as a commercial center for the surrounding area. Gualala was once a logging town, but tourism is now its central economic activity.
A headright refers to a legal grant of land given to settlers during the period of European colonization in the Americas. A "headright" includes both the grant of land and the owner that claims the land. The person who has a right to the land is the one who paid to transport people to a colony. Headrights are most notable for their role in the expansion of the Thirteen Colonies; the Virginia Company gave headrights to settlers, and the Plymouth Company followed suit. The headright system was used in several colonies, including Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Most headrights were for 1 to 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land, and were granted to those who were willing to cross the Atlantic and help populate the colonies. Headrights were granted to anyone who would pay for the transportation costs of an indentured laborer. These land grants consisted of 50 acres (0.20 km2) for someone newly moving to the area and 100 acres (0.40 km2) for people previously living in the area. By ensuring the landowning masters had legal ownership of all land acquired, the indentured laborers after their indenture period had passed had little opportunity to procure their own land. This kept a large portion of the citizens of the Thirteen Colonies poor and led to tensions between the laborers and the landowners.
Checkerboarding refers to a situation where land ownership is intermingled between two or more owners, resulting in a checkerboard pattern. Checkerboarding is prevalent in the Western United States and Western Canada because of extensive use in railroad grants for western expansion, although it had its beginnings in the canal land grant era.
Rail transport in Central America consists of several isolated railroad lines with freight or passenger service. The most famous one is the Panama Canal Railway, the oldest transcontinental railroad in the world, connecting Panama City with Colón since 1855. Other railroads in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama were built by private and public investors mainly to facilitate the transport of local agricultural produce to export markets and harbors. Their market share and profitability went into decline in the second half of the twentieth century and most lines have been decommissioned by the end of the 1990s. As of 2018, railroads operate locally in Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama only; all rail transport has been suspended in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The railways still operating do not cross national borders.
The Spanish and Mexican governments made many concessions and land grants in Alta California and Baja California from 1775 to 1846. The Spanish Concessions of land were made to retired soldiers as an inducement for them to settle in the frontier. These Concessions reverted to the Spanish crown upon the death of the recipient.
The California Land Act of 1851, enacted following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the admission of California as a state in 1850, established a three-member Public Land Commission to determine the validity of prior Spanish and Mexican land grants. It required landowners who claimed title under the Mexican government to file their claim with a commission within two years. Contrary to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which guaranteed full protection of all property rights for Mexican citizens, it placed the burden on landholders to prove their title.
The Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company was a private railway company that built, owned and operated the Wellington-Manawatu railway line between Thorndon in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, and Longburn, near Palmerston North in the Manawatu, between 1881 and 1908, when it was acquired by the New Zealand Government Railways. Its successful operation in private ownership was unusual for early railways in New Zealand.
The New Mexican Railway Company was incorporated in the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico on Feb 2, 1860, prior to the beginning of the American Civil War. Corporate members were Henry Connelly, Antonio J. Otero, who served as a justice of the New Mexico Territorial Supreme Court; Ambrosio Armijo ; José Felipe Chavez, Francisco Chavez; Spruce M. Baird, a judge sent by Texas during the U.S. provisional government of New Mexico to organize their claimed land east of the Rio Grande as the Santa Fe county of Texas; Francisco Perea, José Leandro Perea, who was the uncle of Francisco, Charles B. Clark, José Guadalupe Gallegos, Stephen Boice, William H. Moore, Ceran St. Vrain, Thomas C. de Baca, Merrill Ashurst, Duff Green, John Titus, David R. Porter, Oliver W. Barney, and Philip L. Fox. The Memorial of the New Mexican Railway Company, in Relation to the Pacific Railroad was introduced by Miguel Antonio Otero in the United States Congress on May 21, 1860. It was an argument in favor of the southern route for a transcontinental railroad. Arguments over the central vs. southern route were a part of the complex of insoluble relations between states, dating back to James Gadsden's involvement in 1845. These arguments contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War. The New Mexican Railway Company was formed in conjunction with the attempt to retain rights of in-state railroad construction oversight within the Territorial government. The act of incorporation stated that company rights and privileges would be forfeited if construction had not begun within a period of five years. Beginning in 1862, after the outbreak of Civil War, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad of California were granted lands and construction privileges for the First transcontinental railroad project under the Pacific Railway Acts. Construction of this Overland Route was begun in 1863 and completed in 1869. The southern route did not become a reality until 1883, when the Southern Pacific Railroad linked New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico with Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.
Port Ballona is an archaic place name for an area near the center of Santa Monica Bay in coastal Los Angeles County, where Playa Del Rey and Del Rey Lagoon are located today. Port Ballona was a planned harbor and town site from circa 1859 to 1903. The name comes from the Rancho La Ballona Mexican land grant.