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Grotius and English Charters

In: Grotiana
Author: James Muldoon1
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When examined collectively the trade and colonization charters that Tudor and Stuart monarchs issued demonstrate a developing English conception of world order based on trade monopolies and not on ecclesiastical premises or on the Grotian notion of freedom of the seas. There were therefore three early modern conceptions of how an international order might be created, not one, all of which affected European trade with the Americas and Asia. They all began with the assumption that the discovery of the several new worlds required developing rules of engagement to reduce if not to eliminate conflict among the European nations engaged in overseas exploration, settlement, and trade. As Koen Stapelbroek has pointed out, understanding the role of legal notions in the actual historical creation and gradually evolving function of a new kind of commercial-political entity, requires a distinctly non-doctrinal focus.’

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