In 1609 Dutch legal thinker Hugo Grotius (de Groot) wrote Mare liberum, about the idea of freedom of the seas. Later, this book was pivotal to the widely accepted principle that ships of all nations could use the open oceans for trade and travel. Many editions of Grotius's works are held in the Peace Palace Library, a repository for works on international law in the Hague, the Netherlands. This illustration depicts a ship flying the flags of many seagoing nations.
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Peace Palace Library
Reference: Hugo Grotius, Mare Liberum. Lugduni Batavorum: ex officinâ Ludovici Elzevirij, 1609
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