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The Evolution of Resource Property Rights$
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Anthony Scott

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286035

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198286035.001.0001

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Mineral Disposal and Mining Rights to 1850

Mineral Disposal and Mining Rights to 1850

(p.189) 5 Mineral Disposal and Mining Rights to 1850
The Evolution of Resource Property Rights

Anthony Scott

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by describing medieval mineral right regimes. The miner gained a lease-type tenure. That the tenure's characteristics changed and this is best explained by the landlords' changing demands. In much of continental Europe owners resisted the ‘Roman’ system, a doctrine that for a thousand years supported the monarch's assertion of title to all mines. In France Turgot, then Napoleon, weakened this doctrine. England ignored the Roman precedent, until in 1568 the Case of Mines gave the Crown rights over precious metals. Both doctrines were carried to leasing and concessions in the American colonies. Gold rushes in Brazil and in Siberia confirmed state jurisdictions. Before 1850 in the US on western federal public lands minerals were disposed of less as a source of state revenue than as part of economic development. With the Industrial Revolution mines were being opened everywhere, some leased on private land, some sold from Crown public lands. The two types of landlords offered rights with different bundles of characteristics.

Keywords:   Carlos, 1568 Case of Mines, free mining, gold rushes, lease, Napoleon, Roman doctrine

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