Like many eras, the golden age of the ranchos (1833–1846) favored the rich and well connected. But what if you were an American or European settler or a mestizo from Mexico? What if you were a woman?
The years after Mexican independence might have given you a rare chance to get a land grant. To apply, you had to write a letter explaining why you wanted a certain piece of land. With it, you would send a diseño, or hand-drawn map, that showed the plot’s boundaries.
Most land grants still went to white men. . . but not all.