The Byzantine Greek expression katà stíchon, whose literal translation is “line by line”, derived in katástichon. This word came to Old Italian as catastic, which became a cadastre in dialect Italian and catastre in Old French. The etymological evolution continued in our language, where the term cadastre refers to a register, an inventory or a census of real estate.
The cadastre, in short, is a register that the State develops with the description of urban, rustic and special properties. This registry allows to know the surface of the farms, where they are located and what is their use, data that is used to establish the corresponding taxes according to the detailed characteristics.
The origin of the cadastres is in Ancient Rome. Servius Tulio was the king who established the so-called Roman Census with the intention of imposing a tribute on property. This tax, known as Tributum soli, had to be paid by landowners and members of the nobility according to the real estate they owned.
Since then, the cadastre has been used as a basis for determining taxes. These registers also provide useful information for urban planning and restructuring of the territory, and even allow the protection of legal security linked to property rights since they constitute the support of title deeds and transfer.
It is usual for the cadastre to be divided into three sections: the geometric cadastre (which measures, locates and represents the property in question), the legal cadastre (indicates the link between the active subject, the property and the taxable person) and the fiscal cadastre (establishes the value of the asset for the setting of a proportional tax).
In addition to all the above, we can highlight another important series of data of interest about the cadastre such as the following:
-The oldest known cadastre is the book “Calf of the Behetrías de Castilla”. It was made in the 14th century by order of King Pedro I of Castile and is known as a calf because it was written on parchment that was obtained from calf skin. He came to collect each and every one of the so-called behetries that existed at that time in the so-called Kingdom of Castile.
-In the same way, we cannot ignore that another of the most interesting cadastres in history is “Domesday Book”. This was done so that King William I of England, “the Conqueror”, could know the resources he had in his kingdom.
-We must not forget that another of the most relevant historical cadastres is known as the “Ensenada Cadastre”, which was carried out in 1749 in all the corners that formed the Crown of Castile. King Fernando VI was the one who ordered it to be carried out at the proposal of his minister the Marquis of Ensenada. It included the existing territorial properties such as the number of residents, livestock, incomes, censuses, buildings… All this information was obtained from questions that were made to the neighbors and that allowed to know both the wealth of those territories as demographic information.