Allan Greer examines the processes by which forms of land tenure emerged and natives were dispossessed from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries in New France (Canada), New Spain (Mexico), and New England. By focusing on land, territory, and property, he deploys the concept of 'property formation' to consider the ways in which Europeans and their Euro-American descendants remade New World space as they laid claim to the continent's resources, extended the reach of empire, and established states and jurisdictions for themselves. Challenging long-held, binary assumptions of property as a single entity, which various groups did or did not possess, Greer highlights the diversity of indigenous and Euro-American property systems in the early modern period. The book's geographic scope, comparative dimension, and placement of indigenous people on an equal plane with Europeans makes it unlike any previous study of early colonization and contact in the Americas.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: property and colonization; Part I. Three Zones Of Colonization: 2. Indigenous forms of property; 3. Early contacts; 4. New Spain; 5. New France; 6. New England; Part II. Aspects of Property Formation: 7. The colonial commons; 8. Spaces of property; 9. A survey of surveying; 10. Empires and colonies; Part III. Conclusion and Epilogue: 11. Property and dispossession in an age of revolution.