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The Creation of States in International Law$
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James R. Crawford

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228423.001.0001

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Original Acquisition and Problems of Statehood

Original Acquisition and Problems of Statehood

(p.257) Chapter 6 Original Acquisition and Problems of Statehood
The Creation of States in International Law


Oxford University Press

The question of the legal status of indigenous groups and other polities outside the ambit of the European political system was one of the great initial issues of international law. Victoria's De Indis et de Jure Belli Relectiones (1532), written to vindicate the private and public rights of the Central American Indians, is only the best known work of an extensive literature. The point of the debate was twofold: to examine the moral propriety of European actions and to determine the legal effect of the various transactions of the explorers and colonisers. Given the relatively non-peremptory nature of international law at the time, the former was the more important issue. Nevertheless, State practice, with at least some consistency, did attach significance to the legal incidents of the acquisition of territory from and the government of indigenous States and other entities in the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Keywords:   statehood, indigenous groups, Victoria, original acquisitions, Central American Indians, Africa, Asia, moral propriety, international law

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