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The historical background of current agrarian reform in Chile is outlined, from the latifundia established during the early seventeenth century to the evolution of the main social groups involved in Chilean agriculture today and the factors underlying the current fragmentation of the large estates. The agrarian land reform laws of successive governments since the 1920s are described and their aims and impact on Chilean society assessed. Reform measures discussed include the establishment of the Agricultural Colonization Bank whose objective was to settle farmers in colonies on unused land and which was subsequently transformed into the Corporation for Agrarian Reform (CORA) with wider powers over the ownership of land, ability to found co-operatives and to divide the country into Agrarian Reform Zones. The agricultural and social achievements of CORA are examined in the light of the formidable problems of the family-support capacity of the land, the selection of the most suitable agrarian organization, the terms under which expropriated land may be held, the best use of available resources and the continued opposition of the landowner class.
Geography © 1971 Geographical Association