Historical Development of PIL

  • 3100 BCE

    Establishment of eternal peace and brotherhood.

    Between Rameses II of Egypt and the king of the Hittites for the establishment of eternal peace and brotherhood.
  • 2100 BCE

    Rulers of Lagash and Umma

    For instance, a solemn treaty was signed between the rulers of Lagash and Umma. It was inscribed on a stone block and concerned the establishment of a defined boundary to be respected by both sides under pain of alienating a number of Sumerian gods.
  • 1503 BCE

    Corpus Juris Civilis

    The classical rules of Roman law were collated in the Corpus Juris Civilis, a compilation of legal material by a series of Byzantine philosophers completed in AD 534.
  • 1502 BCE

    Jus Gentium

    This provided simplified rules to govern the relations between foreigners, and between foreigners and citizens.
  • 1501 BCE

    Jus Civile

    The early Roman law (the jus civile) applied only to Roman citizens.
  • 1500 BCE

    Classical Greece

    Classical Greece
    Its critical and rational turn of mind, its constant questioning and analysis of man and nature and its love of argument and debate were spread throughout Europe and the Mediterranean
  • 1000 BCE

    Before the birth of Christ

    Many of the Hindu rules displayed a growing sense of morality and generosity and the Chinese Empire devoted much thought to harmonious relations between its constituent parts.
  • 201 BCE

    Natural Law

    This was formulated by the Stoic philosophers of the third century BC and their theory was that it constituted a body of rules of universal relevance. Such rules were rational and logical.
  • 1200

    Law Merchant

    Law Merchant
    English law established the Law Merchant, a code of rules covering foreign traders, and this was declared to be of universal. a network of common regulations and practices weaved its way across the commercial fabric of Europe and constituted an embryonic international trade law
  • 1453


    The introduction of printing during the fifteenth century provided the means to disseminate knowledge, and the undermining of feudalism in the wake of economic growth and the rise of the merchant classes provided the background to the new inquiring attitudes taking shape.
  • Period: 1480 to 1546

    Francisco Vitoria

    He demonstrated a remarkably progressive attitude for his time towards the Spanish conquest of the South American Indians and, contrary to the views prevalent until then, maintained that the Indian peoples should be regarded as nations with their own legitimate interests
  • 1513

    Staples of modern international life

    emerged many of the staples of modern international life: diplomacy, statesmanship, the theory of the balance of power and the idea of a community of states.
  • Period: 1548 to


    He noted that the obligatory character of international law was based upon Natural Law, while its substance derived from the Natural Law rule of carrying out agreements entered into.
  • 1576

    The doctrine of sovereignty

    The doctrine of sovereignty
    This concept, first analysed systematically in 1576 in the Six Livres de la R´epublique by Jean Bodin, was intended to deal with the structure of authority within the modern state.
  • 1576

    St Thomas Aquinas.

    He maintained that Natural Law formed part of the law of God, and was the participation by rational creatures in the Eternal Law
  • Period: to

    Richard Zouche (positivist school)

    He elevated the law of peace above a systematic consideration of the law of war and eschewed theoretical expositions.
  • Alberico Gentili

    His De Jure Belli was published.78 It is a comprehensive discussion of the law of war and contains a valuable section on the law of treaties
  • Hugo Grotius

    His primary work was the De Jure Belli ac Pacis. Grotius finally excised theology from international law and emphasised the irrelevance in such a study of any conception of a divine law.
  • Period: to

    Samuel Pufendorf ("Naturalist" school)

    Who attempted to identify international law completely with the law of nature; and on the other hand there were the exponents of ‘positivism’, who distinguished between international law and Natural Law and emphasised practical problems and current state practices
  • Peace of Westphalia

    Positivism developed as the modern nation-state system emerged, after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, from the religious wars.
  • Period: to


    He made great contributions to the developing theories of the rights and duties of neutrals in war, and after careful studies of the relevant facts decided in favour of the freedom of the seas
  • Period: to


    His Droit des Gens. He introduced the doctrine of the equality of states into international law, declaring that a small republic was no less a sovereign than the most powerful kingdom, just as a dwarf was as much a man as a giant.
  • Freedom of navigation

    In 1815, the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna established the principle of freedom of navigation with regard to international waterways and set up a Central Commission of the Rhine to regulate its use.
  • Commission for the Danube

    Was created and a number of other European rivers also became the subject of international agreements and arrangements.
  • Geneva Conventions

    The International Committee of the Red Cross, founded in 1863, helped promote the series of Geneva Conventions beginning in 1864 dealing with the ‘humanisation’ of conflict,
  • The International Telegraphic Union was established

  • The Universal Postal Union.was established

    The Universal Postal Union.was established
  • Pacta sunt servanda

    The monists claimed that there was one fundamental principle which underlay both national and international law. This was variously posited as ‘right’ or social solidarity or the rule that agreements must be carried out (pacta sunt servanda).
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration

    The Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907 established the Permanent Court of Arbitration and dealt with the treatment of prisoners and the control of warfare.
  • League of Nations.

    League of Nations.
    The most important legacy of the 1919 Peace Treaty from the point of view of international relations was the creation of the League of Nations.
  • International Court of Justice.

    The Permanent Court of International Justice was set up in 1921 at The Hague and was succeeded in 1946 by the International Court of Justice.
  • The United Nations Organisation

    The United Nations Organisation
    After the trauma of the Second World War the League was succeeded in 1946 by the United Nations Organisation, which tried to remedy many of the defects of its predecessor. It established its site at New York, reflecting the realities of the shift of power away from Europe, and determined to become a truly universal institution
  • The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

    Enshrined the right of colonies to obtain their sovereignty with the least possible delay and called for the recognition of the principle of self-determination.
  • The Soviet interventions in eastern Europe

    The Soviet interventions in eastern Europe
    In the Soviet view relations between socialist (communist) states represented a new, higher type of international relations and a socialist international law.
  • Third World

    This has thrust onto the scene states which carry with them a legacy of bitterness over their past status as well as a host of problems relating to their social, economic and political development.
  • The dissolution of the Soviet Union

    Marked the end of the Cold War and the re-emergence of a system of international relations based upon multiple sources of power untrammelled by ideological determinacy
  • Globalization

    Globalisation in the sense of interdependence of a high order of individuals, groups and corporations, both public and private, across national boundaries, might be seen as the universalisation of Western civilisation and thus the triumph of one special particularism.