This article looks at the evolution of international negotiation. The practice of negotiation between sovereigns goes back at least 4,500 years. Detailed cases are found in the royal archives of Mari from the time of the Babylonian lawgiver Hammurabi and in the el-Amarna archives of the pharaohs. Though the protocol and substance of negotiation have changed over time, there is striking continuity of structure and process. Argumentation has not changed much. The study of well-documented historical examples can therefore deepen and enrich our understanding of negotiating. In modern European history we can detect, alongside recognizable and constant features of negotiation, elements that have evolved over time. We identify four features of the international system that have impacted the evolution of international negotiation in recent centuries: technological development, international regime change, growing trust and transparency, and the enhanced, autonomous role of small powers.