On the contribution of imperial Spain to the construction of classical international law in Cervantes' times Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2016

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 11


  • 20

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0928-0634

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2211-6125


  • The new world order established by the Peace of Westphalia was consolidated in 1648, but the foundations of what would later be known as classical international law had begun to be laid long before that date. Spain played an important role in this process during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Age of Cervantes. This was clearly demonstrated by the great author in his works, which reflect an Imperial Spain that had already embarked on its decline. The gradual disappearance of the notion of empire, however, is belied by reality, since history shows that empires continued to exist throughout the modern age in one form or another. The period in question also reveals the important contribution made by Spain to the shaping of international law, not only in matters of its norms, but also from other perspectives, such as humanism, having to do with the universal conception of government and human rights -although one that in both cases came from grounds that were largely incipient.


  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Politics


  • empires; classical international law; cervantes; universalism; human rights