An hacienda (UK: or US: ; Spanish: [aˈθjenda] or [aˈsjenda]), in the colonies of the Spanish Empire , is an estate, similar in form to a Roman villa . Some haciendas were plantations, mines or factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities.
The term hacienda is imprecise, but usually refers to landed estates of significant size. Smaller holdings were termed estancias or ranchos that were owned almost exclusively by Spaniards and criollos and in rare cases by mixed-race individuals. In Argentina , the term estancia is used for large estates that in Mexico would be termed haciendas. In recent decades, the term has been used in the United States to refer to an architectural style associated with the earlier estate manor houses .
The hacienda system of Argentina , Bolivia , Chile , Colombia , El Salvador , Mexico , New Granada and Peru was a system of large land holdings. A similar system existed on a smaller scale in the Philippines and Puerto Rico .