Subdivision of Land in the United States

Authored by: George M. Cole , Donald A. Wilson

Land Tenure, Boundary Surveys, and Cadastral Systems

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781498731652
eBook ISBN: 9781315369990
Adobe ISBN:


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In the United States, the origins of most currently recognized title to land in the areas covered by the original colonies are royal grants from the sovereign of the several European nations claiming land based on “discovery.” Those large royal grants were typically subdivided under various processes into smaller land tracts for use by the original settlers. For land acquired by the United States after the formation of the union, most of that land was subdivided under the regular process of the U.S. Public Land Survey System (PLSS) for use by settlers. In both cases, the original tracts have typically been subdivided into smaller tracts over time. As a result, a great variety of differing methods have been used for subdividing the country into currently recognized parcels.

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