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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Territory, Discovery

Marcelo G Kohen, Mamadou Hébié

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 31 May 2023

Foreign relations law — Territory, acquisition and transfer — Sovereignty — Territory, title

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 The finding of unknown land overseas by European maritime powers was an important element in the process of the expansion of their respective territorial sovereignties (Territory, Acquisition). Different situations must be distinguished. The accidental encountering of territory or the mere sighting or visual apprehension of territory by a subject of a given sovereign was not necessarily followed by a territorial claim. Conversely, in some cases, explorers embarked on voyages in the name of a European sovereign with the precise purpose of discovering new...
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