The Public Domain

  • Ronald W. Tank


Land ownership is an important consideration in mineral acquisition, and the federal public domain represents the most important category of ownership on the basis of size. The federal public domain includes those lands that were or are subject to the public land laws of the United States. Acquisitions to the public domain have been by state cessions, purchase, and treaty. The original “public domain” included all of the United States except the original thirteen colonies, Vermont, Texas, and Hawaii and was acquired by treaties with France, England, Spain, Russia, and Mexico. The largest acquisitions were in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 (560 million acres) and the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 (365 million acres).


Public Domain Public Land Alaskan Native Mineral Land Indian Land 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald W. Tank
    • 1
  1. 1.Lawrence UniversityAppletonUSA

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