The interplay of state politics, internal
resettlement programmes and agrarian
policy is dramatically played out in the
colonización scheme. In the early 1930s,
under the democratic Second Spanish Republic,
the nobility were stripped of their privileges
and there was a growing clamour for rural land
The Madrid government presented a comprehensive agrarian plan, but a volatile political environment, especially after the success of the Autonomous Right in the 1933 elections, meant that the proposed land reforms were quietly shelved.
It was this plan from the 1930s that almost twenty years later formed the basis for Franco’s scheme. The settlement programme ran handin- hand with large-scale water management schemes, like building canals and using untapped groundwater reserves to allow irrigation of semi-arid regions.