In the Shadow of the Great Powers: Freedom of the Sea and Neutrality in the Long Eighteenth Century

Project Details


The project explores the early steps of one of the most dynamic and
debated branches of international law, namely the law of the see. It
focuses on interactions between the law of the sea (the freedom of
the sea) and maritime neutrality in the eighteenth century. Analysing
the rich archival material conserved in the French Ministry for Foreign
Affairs (series Mémoires et Documents), as well as the Venetian
State Archives (Archivio di stato di Venezia), the project aims at the
construction of a rich narrative of multiple uses of the law of the sea
as an argumentative political-legal framework to express state and
private interest. As such, the project participates in a broarder turn to
state practice in the history of international law, a booming field of
interdisciplinary research
Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/24


  • law of the sea
  • legal history
  • neutrality

Flemish discipline codes

  • European history
  • Early modern history
  • History of law
  • International law


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