I am looking for a word to describe the above. The context is where, after the Irish famine in the 1840's, entire villages were abandoned and the land was re-distributed to new tenants. This happened on a mass scale, and I was wondering if there was a term for such a replacement of population with the suitable conotations.

  • Though not used for your particular historical example, similar population changes (abandonment and then redistribution to others) are involved in 'ethnic cleansing' or 'repatriation' (both euphemisms for forced relocation from and to an area.
    – Mitch
    Mar 17, 2012 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


The most common word is resettlement

the transportation of people (as a family or colony) to a new settlement (as after an upheaval of some kind).

But note that word normally focusses on the people who are moving in. If the focus is on the area becoming occupied with new people, go for repopulation

The act of repeopling; act of furnishing with a population anew.

  • I think re-population is more in line with what I'm looking for, rather than resettlement, which could, I feel, be used to describe the same individuals moving back into an area after an event rather than new people. I did think, however, that there was a particular word for just such an event which had a more global scope in terms of human migration than just re-population. Transhumance being an example for seasonal migrations. Nonetheless, I shall accept re-population if you think I won't get better.
    – Eamonn
    Mar 17, 2012 at 16:22
  • 1
    Obviously I don't think you'll get a better term, or I'd have suggested it. Most contexts where what you're talking about would happen are probably better described as invasions anyway, where the original inhabitants would be driven out or killed by the invaders. If wasn't the way of it, you'd mainly be talking about intermittent occupation by different settlers. Your context is unusual — mostly the original inhabitants would simply return if circumstances improved. Mar 17, 2012 at 17:30

If you are focusing on the transfer of ownership that you mention in the title of this post, why not just use land redistribution or redistribution of land (which you allude to in your question)? This focuses more on the ownership of the land than on the people, but that's what was asked. If you wish you could put a descriptor with it, such as unfair land redistribution, discriminatory land redistribution, hasty land redistribution, or whatever.

Land redistribution/land reform discussion

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