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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the European concept of jurisdiction in the colonies. European concepts of jurisdiction were varied during the nineteenth century. One thing was for sure: the idea of territorial jurisdiction was imposed throughout the world as a handmaiden to colonialism. Jurisdictions were declared unilaterally and sometimes arbitrarily by colonial powers over huge swathes of territory. Moreover, territorial boundaries became more reified as cartography projects and imperial expeditions delineated borders, and colonial authorities enforced these border controls. The chapter looks at the pluralism that resulted from colonial powers imposing new administrative structures on colonial subjects. It highlights the significance of territorial jurisdiction as a tool to further the expansion of colonial rule and how the use of jurisdiction in this manner resulted in the subjugation of pre-existing legal frameworks.

Keywords: international courts, international tribunals, jurisdiction, jurisdiction of states, territoriality principle, colonization, decolonization, international law history, territoriality

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