Acquiring Empire by Law: From Roman Doctrine to Early Modern European Practice

  title={Acquiring Empire by Law: From Roman Doctrine to Early Modern European Practice},
  author={Lauren A. Benton and Benjamin Straumann},
  journal={Law and History Review},
  pages={1 - 38}
What role did the Roman legal concept of res nullius (things without owners), or the related concept of terra nullius (land without owners), play in the context of early modern European expansion? Scholars have provided widely different answers to this question. Some historians have argued that European claims based on terra nullius became a routine part of early modern interimperial politics, particularly as a response by the English and French crowns to expansive Iberian claims supported by… 
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