This book provides the first extensive archival research on the agrarian history of El Salvador during the nineteenth century, a period of expanding commercial and export agriculture which saw the emergence of important conflicts over land tenure use in much of Latin America. With unprecedented use of local and national sources, Lauria-Santiago presents a more complex portrait of El Salvador than has ever been ventured before.Pre-1918 El Salvador has generally been characterized as a society dominated by coffee-growing barons based on large plantations. Its peasant communities have been seen as undifferentiated, egalitarian, subsistence utopias -- passive victims of the ruling elites. Using thoroughly researched regional case studies, Lauria-Santiago uncovers an astonishing variety of patterns in land use, labor, and the organization of production. He also finds a diverse, commercially active peasantry that was deeply involved with local and national networks of power.An Agrarian Republic challenges the accepted vision of Central America in the nineteenth century and critiques the liberal oligarchic hegemony model of E1 Salvador. Liberal policies there were t simply the result of the oligarchic concentration of power, but rather of a complex power play among landowners, urban elites, and an engaged peasantry. It also reveals a more nuanced picture of the Indian peasantry in E1 Salvador. Detailed discussions of Ladi victories and successful Indian resistance give a perspective on Ladinization that does t rely on a polarized understanding of ethnic identity.