hacienda(redirected from Hacienda system)
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haciendain Spain or Spanish-speaking countries
haciendaa large landed estate in Latin America worked by various forms of unfree labour, generally with mixed farming production for subsistence, a local or regional market, and for the consumption of the owner, the hacendado. This was one of the main ways in which agricultural production was organized in colonial Latin America until the 19th century, and in some cases into the 20th. For example, from the early 17th century in New Spain, now Mexico, the hacienda was ‘a permanently inhabited territorial area, with both fallow and cultivated lands, granaries in which the products of the harvest were kept, houses for the owners and their managers, shacks for the workers, small craft workshops, and toolsheds’ (Florescano, 1987). There livestock was raised and crops grown for mines and provincial towns. A variety of means of ensuring a labour supply were used, one of the most common being DEBT PEONAGE. Important for the organization and economic decisions within the hacienda were the political and status aspirations and consumption requirements of the hacendado. Haciendas were distinguished from PLANTATIONS in as much as the latter produced one crop, generally for export and often with corporate, rather than personal, forms of ownership.
FRANK (1969) has argued that haciendas were capitalist because they produced for the market. However, the absence of free wage labour and the low levels of capital accumulation have led most observers to argue against this. Production for the market is not a sufficient criterion for being called capitalist. Some observers use the term ‘semi-feudal’ as a general description. The hacienda began to change in the 19th-century, after independence, through political interventions to establish free labour and with growing capitalist developments in agriculture. Duncan and Rutledge (1977) provide one useful summary of the variety of changes which took place: some haciendas were broken up by land reform, others became capitalist estates or plantations, but in some areas the hacienda persisted up until the mid-20th century.
a large estate in a number of Latin American countries (called estancia in Argentina, Chile, and several other countries). Haciendas arose with the seizure of the lands of the native population by Spanish colonizers. By the late 16th and early 17th centuries, haciendas had in reality turned into hereditary estates of a feudal type to which the Indians were bound. Although nominally considered personally free, the Indians were obliged to work for the landowners and, in effect, were wholly dependent upon them. Even at the present time the hacienda is the predominant type of large-scale ownership of land in most Latin American countries.