What’s the meaning of fee-simple titles in:

Late in the nineteenth century, Mexicans, whose claim to their land was based on royal decrees of the Spanish Crown (rather than the fee-simple titles familiar to North Americans), were confronted by shrewd traders.

1 Answer 1


In English law, a fee simple (or fee simple absolute) is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership. It is the way that real estate is owned in common law countries, and is the highest ownership interest possible that can be had in real property.

In certain jurisdictions, including the UK's England and Wales and Scotland, a freehold (also called frank-tenement and franktenement) is the ownership of real property, being the land and all immovable structures attached to such land. This is opposed to a leasehold in which the property reverts to the owner of the land after the lease period has expired.[1] Immovable property includes land and all that naturally goes with it, such as buildings, trees, or underground resources, but not such things as vehicles or livestock (which are movable).


The Spanish were just borrowing land from the crown, the Americans owned their own.

  • For more, you could try law.stackexchange.com
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 17:16
  • This is OK as far as it goes, but to come to fully appreciate the implications of the term fee simple absolute, one would have to learn how that form of ownership differs from a wide range of its limited forms that the common law recognises (not just from leasehold or from the forms of ownership that exist outside the common law countries). Explaining all that would, however, be a matter of outlining, at some length, the conceptual framework of the common law of property, and would so be outside the scope of this site.
    – jsw29
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 17:05

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