Story: Law of the sea

Mare liberum by Hugo Grotius

Mare liberum by Hugo Grotius

In 1609 Dutch legal thinker Hugo Grotius (de Groot) wrote Mare liberum, about the idea of freedom of the seas. Later, this book was pivotal to the widely accepted principle that ships of all nations could use the open oceans for trade and travel. Many editions of Grotius's works are held in the Peace Palace Library, a repository for works on international law in the Hague, the Netherlands. This illustration depicts a ship flying the flags of many seagoing nations.

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Peace Palace Library
Reference: Hugo Grotius, Mare Liberum. Lugduni Batavorum: ex officinâ Ludovici Elzevirij, 1609

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How to cite this page:

Bill Mansfield, 'Law of the sea - Control of the oceans', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 8 October 2022)

Story by Bill Mansfield, published 12 Jun 2006