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ejido(āhē`thō) [Span.,=common land], in Mexico, agricultural land expropriated from large private holdings and redistributed to communal farms. Communal ownership of land had been widely practiced by the Aztecs, but the institution was in decline before the Spanish arrived. The conquistadors instituted the encomiendaencomienda
[Span. encomendar=to entrust], system of tributory labor established in Spanish America. Developed as a means of securing an adequate and cheap labor supply, the encomienda was first used over the conquered Moors of Spain.
..... Click the link for more information. , which was superseded by the repartimientorepartimiento
, in Spanish colonial practice, usually, the distribution of indigenous people for forced labor. In a broader sense it referred to any official distribution of goods, property, services, and the like.
..... Click the link for more information. and finally, after independence (1821), by debt peonage. Although legally abolished by the constitution of 1917, which provided for the restoration of the ejido, peonage remained a general practice until the presidency of Lázaro CárdenasCárdenas, Lázaro
, 1895–1970, president of Mexico (1934–40). He joined the revolutionary forces in 1913 and rose to become a general. He was governor (1928–32) of his native state, Michoacán, and held other political posts before he was,
..... Click the link for more information. . In the Laguna DistrictLaguna District
[Span.,=lake], irrigated area in E Durango and W Coahuila states, N central Mexico. Originally a 900,000-acre (364,200-hectare) tract, consisting of large estates, the land was reapportioned (1936) under President Lázaro Cárdenas and distributed to
..... Click the link for more information. in 1936, the ejido became fact on a large scale. The intent of the ejido system is to remedy the social injustice of the past and to increase production of subsistence foods. The land is owned by the government, and the ejido is financed by a special national bank which supplies the necessary capital for reclamation, improvement, initial seeding, and so forth. In effect, the bank has replaced the colonial encomendero, with this difference—the laborer is paid on the basis of unit work accomplished.
See D. Ronfeldt, Atencingo; The Politics of Agrarian Struggle in a Mexican Ejido (1973).