One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large landed estate or ranch in ancient Rome or more recently in Spain or Latin America, typically worked by slaves.
- ‘The Alentejo has traditionally been a region of low population density, latifundia that originated in the Roman estate system, and landless day laborers.’
- ‘The labour needed to work these latifundia was provided by transforming free peasants into unfree tenants tied to the land.’
- ‘In the seventh and eighth centuries, the city drew its food supply from the public, papal, and ecclesiastical patrimony in the Latium countryside and the latifundia of Sicily.’
- ‘Despite this industrialisation, a third of the population still worked as agricultural labourers, many in large estates or latifundia.’
- ‘The countryside was dominated by giant estates or latifundia.’
Mid 17th century: from Latin, from latus ‘broad’ + fundus ‘landed estate’, partly via Spanish.
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