An earlier post highlighted the first land tenure survey in Ethiopia, this post presents "Land Tenure in Eritrea (Ethiopia)" (1966) by Ambaye Zekarias. This publication is part of a broader set of literature that emerged during the 1960s (see broader literature here, with historical studies being a particular strength). The forward of this particular book was written by the eminent historian Richard Pankhurst, who himself wrote a history of land tenure in the 1960s. This book is not a land survey of Eritrea, but a summary of the types of tenure, covering both the traditional systems and those introduced by colonial occupation. In addition to being a historical reference for the pre-land reform period, it provides a good reference of terminology for a unique context where colonial systems created parallel systems to the traditional ones.
The book opens with a statement rarely made about Ethiopia: "The purpose of this book is not land reform, there is no land problem in this region of Ethiopia. There is plentiful of land [sic], the systems of land tenure with proper with proper adjustments would be models worth supporting. Here every qualified member is entitled for arable land, thus land is extended to every individual." (p. iv). I would be interested to hear from Eritrean historians about this claim, and if accurate, more about the processes used to ensure equal access (in a region and time when that was not common) and for how long the land plenty existed.
I was hoping to make these older publications available on this website, but appears that the majority remain protected by copyright. I will continue to explore options about how I can improve access to these difficult to obtain publications.