Written when Grotius was merely 26! In Grotius was asked by the Dutch East India Company to draft a defence of a seizure of a Portuguese carrack by a captain belonging to the Company.
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One chapter in fact later became the influential pamphlet Mare Liberum. In this work Grotius described the principle that the sea was an international territory and that all nations were free to use it for seafaring trade.
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My intention is to demonstrate briefly and clearly that the Dutch—that is to say, the subjects of the United Netherlands—have the right to sail to the East Indies, as they are now doing, and to engage in trade with the people there. I shall base my argument on the following most specific and unimpeachable axiom of the Law of Nations, called a primary rule or first principle, the spirit of which is self-evident and immutable, to wit: Every nation is free to travel to every other nation, and to trade with it.
The principle inter alia provided the basis for the breaking up of the trade monopolies that had existed so far. Welcome to the International Law Observer, a blog dedicated to reports, commentary and the discussion of topical issues in international law.
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Mare liberum - 1st Edition
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View on ScienceDirect. Authors: Hugo de Groot. Imprint: Elsevier.
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