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The Birth of Modern Private International Law: The Treaties of Montevideo (1889, amended 1940)

The first codification of private international law occurred through the Treaties on Private International Law, presented at the first South American Congress on Private International Law at Montevideo, Uruguay (hereafter: Congress of Montevideo), which took place from 25 August 1888 to 18 February 1889. The 1860s and 1870s were marked by an impulse to codify private international law in Europe and South America. In Europe, this impulse materialised a few years after the Congress of Montevideo with the first session of The Hague Conference for Private International Law (1893). The fact that newly liberated and independent South American nations were the first to successfully codify private international law marks an interesting chapter in the history of this legal field. From the beginning, the history of private international law in South America was divided between those favouring the principle of domicile versus those favouring the principle of nationality to establish the competent court and applicable law in conflict of laws cases.

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Image credit: A corner of Montevideo in the late XIX Century by Pedro Figari (1861-1938) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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