Theses Doctoral

“As a Citizen of this City” The Urban Reform of Radical Liberalism Bogotá 1848-1880

Castro Benavides, Constanza

This dissertation analyzes the impact of mid-nineteenth century liberal reforms in Bogotá’s urbanization process. It focuses particularly in the disentailment of corporate and common property decreed in 1861 by President Tomas Cipriano de Mosquera. Through disentailement the government attempted to resolve the fiscal crisis that had affected Colombia during the nineteenth century and also to stimulate the economy by putting a considerable mass of real estate in the market. However, disentailment was also, and more than anything, a legal reform that transformed the existent property regime as well as prevalent social relations around property. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, most of Bogotá’s inhabitants lived and worked on municipal and church properties under ambiguous possessory and usufruct agreements that were protected by colonial law and custom. Disentailment not only ended corporate privileges, but abolished the plurality of forms of transfer and landholding that had prevailed during the centuries of colonial domination, to replace them with a system of private property. Paying particular attention to the daily negotiations between urban tenants, the merchant class and the state, this dissertation examines the difficult and incomplete transition from colonial forms of property possession and conveyance to a system of private property, and from colonial legal pluralism to the legal monism that characterized mid-century liberalism. In analyzing how accepted legal and costmary practices slowly proscribed by state action, this dissertation reveals also the relationship between the process of state formation, Colombia’s integration into the world market, and the roots of urban extralegality.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Piccato, Pablo A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 1, 2015