Spanish Land Grant Fight Puts Thousands of Properties in Limbo


for sale

Photo of land for sale in Arroyo Hondo, land that cannot be sold

For the last three years, landowners in a 31-square-mile of land called the Arroyo Hondo Land Grant, are now being sued to return land to the descendants of the Founding Fathers. The grant goes back 200 years – 200 years – when Spain parceled out the property to encourage settlement by Mexicans in the early 1800’s.

The Board claims that the land was stolen from original Hispanic settlers by white speculators who roamed free after the US-Mexican War. [not sure how you prove that now]

Homeowners say this could be true but this claim does not have the permission of all the heirs. The Board is controlled by one family with two brothers who have made themselves unavailable to reporters. Many of the original heirs own the property now and are being hurt by this claim.

People who now live on the land can’t sell their land and no one can buy land. The owners whose families have owned the property for hundreds of years are all in limbo.

The case began in 2010 after the Arroyo Hondo Land Grant Board filed a deed to reclaim 20,000 acres of private land for the original owners. The Board claimed that they are entitled to the land because it was taken by conquest and the US government promised to honor private land ownership prior to the treaty.

The lawsuit affects about 3,000 properties.

There were also Native Americans who originally settled in the area and who were hostile to the Mexican and European settlers. If we really want to go back, should we go back to their ownership?

All land grant claims, no matter how ridiculous are given a hearing in new Mexico. Most such grant claims lose in court but they can drag on for years and destroy an area.

Read the story at yahoo news

hat tip to Gary Spina for the story