A History of International Law Histories

Martti Koskenniemi

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

 A History of International Law Histories

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This chapter outlines forms of historical consciousness as they emerged from early Christianity to the rise of natural law in the 17th century and the professional international legal histories of the 19th century, followed by an overview of the types of international legal history in the 20th and 21st centuries. It contends that the histories of ius gentium, natural law, and the law of nations, whether from the standpoint of the 14th or the 21st centuries, are situated within a temporal trajectory whose markers come from Europe. Even if new approaches to history writing in international law have emerged in which colonialism has become a central theme, it still remains the case that ‘Europe rules as the silent referent of historical knowledge’.

Keywords: natural law; ius gentium; international law; colonialism; historical consciousness

Article.  14923 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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