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International law: origins & history: Books

Databases for early works

Classic Print

Interdisciplinary Approach

Finding aids


  • MacAlister-Smith, P. and J. Schwietzke, "Literature and Documentary Sources relating to the History of Public International Law: an Annotated Bibliography"  1 (1999) Journal of the History of International Law 136-212
  • MacAlister-Smith, P., "Bio-Bibliographical Key to Membership of the Institut de Droit International, 1873-2001" 5 (2003) Journal of the History of International Law 77-159
  • MacAlister-Smith, P. and J. Schwietzke, "Bibliography of the Textbooks and Comprehensive Treatises on Positive International Law of the 19th Century" 3 (2001) Journal of the History of International Law 75-142

Holders of an Oxford SSO can access this journal online via both Brill & HeinOnline.

Other possible aids to useful commentary


We also have (in print only) International law in historical perspective at  Internat 510 V574d  This work by J. H. W. Verzijl et al is rather older, its various volumes being produced between 1968 & 1992.
v. 1. General subjects.--v. 2. International persons.--v. 3. State territory.--v. 4. Stateless domain.--v. 5. Nationality and other matters relating to individuals.--v. 6. Juridical facts as sources of international rights and obligations.--v. 7. State succession.--v. 8. Inter-state disputes and their settlements.--v. 9. pt. 9a. The laws of war.--v. 10. pt. 9b. The law of neutrality.--v. 11. pt. 9c. The law of maritime prize. 

Searching SOLO

Subject searches to use in SOLO include:

International law and relations -- History 

International law - history

International relations -- History
International relations -- Case studies

Political science - History

Imperialism - History
[geographic unit] -- Colonies -- History eg Great Britain - Colonies - History

[geographic unit] - Foreign relations [geographic unit] eg China -- Foreign relations -- Europe
[geographic unit] - Colonial influence eg Japan -- Colonial influence

Ambassadors -- History
Diplomatic and consular service -- History
Diplomacy -- History -- To 1500

War (International law) -- Early works to 1800
Politics and war -- History
War -- Religious aspects -- History

Piracy (International law) -- History

Military history, Ancient
Military history, Medieval  Peace treaties -- History -- To 1500 

Peace -- History
Peace treaties   History

Diplomatic negotiations in international disputes -- History
Pacific settlement of international disputes -- History

Foreign trade regulation - history
[geographic unit] - Commerce -  History 
eg Spain -- Commerce -- History

Consumer goods -- [geographic unit] -- History eg Consumer goods -- America -- History
Business networks -- History 
[geographic unit] - Foreign economic relations - [geographic unit] eg Europe -- Foreign economic relations -- America

Law of the sea -- History  which could be limited further eg 16th century
Fishery management, International -- Law and legislation -- History

Slavery -- Law and legislation