MEXICAN COLONIZATION LAWS (Extract from the Handbook of Texas Online article Mexican Colonization Laws.)

The State Colonization Law. The state law specifically accepted the limitations imposed by the federal act; gave heads of families who immigrated a league of land with the provision that they should pay the state a nominal fee in installments at the end of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth years after settlement; and authorized the executive to enter into contracts with empresarios for the introduction of specified numbers of families, for which service they should receive five leagues of land per hundred families after their settlement. For ten years following settlement the colonists were to be tax-free, except for contributions to repel invasion. Colonists acquired citizenship by settlement. Land commissioners who issued titles and surveyors were to be paid by the colonists. Thirty or more empresario contracts were made, contemplating introduction of some 9,000 families. Some of the contracts were concluded under this law by surrender, annulment, or consolidation of previous contracts. All grants were defined by more or less definite geographical boundaries, all empresarios had six years in which to carry out contracts, and in effect this provision deprived the state of control of vast areas during the pendency of the contracts.

On April 6, 1830, the federal government made use of a reservation of the law of August 18, 1824, and forbade settlement of emigrants from the United States in Texas and suspended contracts in conflict with this prohibition (see LAW OF APRIL 6, 1830). By interpretation, Austin obtained exemption from suspension for his own contracts and that of Green DeWitt.qv Congress repealed the anti-immigration articles of the law in May 1834; all contracts were automatically restored and extended by the state congress or legislature for four years to compensate for the previous suspension. All Mexican contracts ended with the Texas Declaration of Independence.qv

Eugene C. Barker

 Citation: "Mexican Colonization Laws," extract from The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, 2001, <> [Access Date].

For bibliography and complete article go to Mexican Colonization Laws.
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