Land Grants and Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico

Malcolm Ebright


Land Grants and Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico by Malcolm Ebright. Republished by the Center for Land Grant Studies, Guadalupita, NM 2008. Original published by UNM Press, 1994, first edition out of print. New introduction by Malcolm Ebright and stunning new cover art by Glen Strock including an embossed cloth cover design by Glen Strock. Contains eight case studies of specific land grants, together with background material on the making of Spanish and Mexican land grants and their adjudication by the U.S. Malcolm Ebright draws on his wide experience as a historian and attorney to examine the history of New Mexico’s land grants from their antecedents in Spain and Mexico down to present-day land and water lawsuits. Ebright narrates specific cases involving fraud, forgery, and injustice, as well as courageous acts by land grant communities. Land Grants & Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico presents a comprehensive and clear account of clashing legal systems. Considered the definitive book on New Mexico land grants; used as a text in South Western studies courses. 401 pp.

Excerpts from “Land Grants & Lawsuits” Complete text online. Introduction, Conclusion, Index, Bibliography and Glossary.

From the unkept promises of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to the legal machinations of Santa Fe Ring attorneys, Ebright documents a pattern of land loss and inequities that remain major issues in current lawsuits. Through his examination of the role of custom in Hispanic law, the unique history of Northern New Mexico, and the failure of the United States courts to recognize common land ownership, Ebright helps general readers understand the complex problems facing northern New Mexico’s traditional communities. He discusses the San Joaquin, Embudo, Las Trampas, Las Vegas, Ramon Vigil, and Jacona grants, among others, and relates them to the background of New Mexico history.

“Essential for anyone wishing to understand the historical and legal strata underlying land and water disputes still raging today across the landscape of northern New Mexico. This book is scholarship at its best, which is to say that justice is served at last.” — Stanley Crawford, author of Mayordomo.

Original published by UNM Press, 1994, first edition out of print.

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