This book traces the development of the standard property rights over five kinds of natural resource - inland rivers, ocean fisheries, petroleum resources, gold and base metals and forest resources - from classical times through to the 19th century. Completely private resources and those in the public (or Crown) lands are given equal attention and a simple supply-and-demand model is used to explain how property rights are altered over time. Scott also provides the reader with a unique set of characteristics for defining rights and numerous case studies and examples of their evolution, highlighting the increasing recourse to common law courts and government legislation and the problems caused by competing demands on the same, limited resources. This book provides a unique insight into the historical development of property rights and makes a special plea for the multiple-purpose and multi-owner management of resource rights. It will provide a valuable resource for those interested in resource management, economic history, property rights, and development.