The evolution of land tenure in Ethiopia during the Imperial period directed towards private and individualized property is discussed both in general terms and by examining conditions at specific localities. This evolution was brought to an abrupt end by the land reform of 1975 with nationalization. The same logic of subsistence agriculture as in traditional tenures seems to be the basis for the reform. With the abandonment of the socialist transformation of agriculture no vision about future developments in land tenure seems to exist. Privatization is suggested to improve the security of land holding, to increase agricultural investment, to assist the development of other markets as well as preserve common pool resources.