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In Latin America, a large landed estate. The hacienda originated in the colonial period and survived into the 20th century. Labourers, ordinarily Indians, were theoretically free wage earners on haciendas, but in practice their employers, who controlled the local governments, were able to bind them to the land, primarily by keeping them in a state of perpetual indebtedness. By the 19th century, as much as half of Mexico's rural population was entangled in the peonage system. Many haciendas were broken up by the Mexican Revolution.
Variants of HACIENDA
hacienda also called estancia (Argentina and Uruguay) or fazenda (Brazil)
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on hacienda, visit Britannica.com.