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When and why did we start staking out property?

When did it all start and why? Who was the first owner of land and what was the criteria for a person to do so?


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  • Oct 25 2012: IMO, we will never know. It was not recorded.

    But we can speculate.

    It might have been a bad crop year and a person of exceptional foresight realized that staking off a piece of property was the only way to ensure the family's survival.

    Someone was ostracized, found a good plot of fertile land in the next valley and refused to share it with anyone else.

    Two brothers were naturally competitive. They each claimed to be the better farmer. To settle the dispute, they staked off individual plots. They were very intent on winning and carefully picked out the best land. As a result, both of them had much better yields than the other members of the tribe, and the brothers ate well all winter. Next year, the tribe followed their example.

    An exceptional person was born into the tribe. This person had many good qualities such as strength, endurance, intelligence and good judgment, exceptional self discipline. This person was an amazing farmer and contributed much more to the tribe than any other member, but was receiving only an equal share. He perceived this as an injustice. Some members of the tribe resented this exceptional fellow. Some members realized that the tribe was producing a surplus and became lazy. The result was much resentment and strife. So this exceptional farmer staked out a huge plot that only he would farm. He was successful and attracted many pretty wives. The next best farmer followed his example.
    • Oct 25 2012: I don't know if it was possible to just claim land for yourself and refuse to share, after all, the rest of the tribe could just take the land from you, or force you to share. There were no property rights, something changed that and it only happened because many people agreed with it for some reason. My guess is some powerful group within a village (maybe the 10 strongest men) decided to stage a coup and communally own the land, then the 5 strongest among them staged a coup against the other 5 and so on, until there were only two left, who in the meantime had gathered armies of villagers to fight for them (they would fight because they did not own land and thus depended on the two men at the top), one of these men won and now controlled a lot of land all by himself and named himself king and decreed that private ownership should be protected by law (to protect both his own assets and to allow him to gift land to his best soldiers/servants as rewards).
      • Oct 27 2012: Greetings...

        Early property rights were quite likely communal, as in , "this land belongs to the tribe". it's products were stillowned, as it was forbidden to other tribes or interlopers.

        it is quite possible that the development of trade specialization, ( which occurs in tandem with the sedentary agricultural revolution), led to the development of persoanl property in the form of trade specific tools or locations, and then to the social stratification allowing property to extend to land ownership. We would not have to define who has what share of the tribes property if there was no disparity in status. rather every idividual would have an equal share.


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