African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187


Contending views on land tenure system in Ethiopia: Historiographical essay

Beyene Chekol
  • Beyene Chekol
  • Department of History and Heritage Management, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Debre Markos University, Debre Markos, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 30 August 2016
  •  Accepted: 02 November 2016
  •  Published: 31 January 2017


Land issue in Ethiopia is associated with the socio-economic and political aspects of both the people and the state.  Land was said to be owned by the peasants, the church and the nobility in the form of gult and rest while later the ownership type officially changed to private and state property. Thus it is comprehend that governments in Ethiopia have made inconsistent and controversial land tenure policies. Scholars have raised this complex nature of land holding system and argued on some in support and others against the governments' policy. Therefore this paper considers the policy issues, decrees issued especially during the Derge and the EPRDF periods and debating literatures of scholars worked in relation to value of land and the tenure systems. It also observes historical developments to illustrate the change and continuities of land holding system put into practice  in particular regions and the country as a whole. 

Key words: Proclamation, policy, land tenure, gult, rest, expert.