Hugo Grotius, The Father of International Law

Hugo Grotius, The Father of International Law

By: Afifah Putri Ningdiyah, S.H.

Hi Selaras mates! Some of you probably knew or even studied international law. But do you know whose the father of international law? 

In this article, author will share some information about Hugo Grotius, The Father of International law. So, happy reading mates!

Hugo De Groot or better known as Grotius is a Dutch Thinker with tons of monumental works which is not only become the reference to international society, but also have profound and relatively lasting influence on the world history. Grotius is a historian, lawyer, diplomat, and also legal practitioner. 

From all many recognition that Grotius received, the most famous is his expertise in international law so the world recognizes him as The Father of International Law, especially through his magnum opus, De Jurre Belli ac Paris

De Jurre Belli ac Paris is the book by Which Grotius still remembered in the world at large. It is a most imposing work, awesome both for learning and creative imagination. But Grotius was many things besides. His works range over a remarkable variety of subjects. 

He wrote an apology of his political activities after the castatrophe of his arrest and exile; he wrote the best exposition of the Dutch system of law as it was practiced in his day; he wrote a defense of the Christian religion enjoyed the widest popularity and was looked upon as the best popular treatise of the kind. Although this book contained some weaknesses, but this work of Grotius recognized as the worl of genius recorded eternally in the folds of human history centuries. 

Hugo Grotius studied law at Leyden and in France, and after having practiced at the Bar for some years was appointed Public Prosecutor (Fiscal) for the province of Holland: this was in 1607, when he was only twenty-four years old. In 1614 he left the law and took up politics: in that year he was appointed “pensionary” by the town council of Rotterdam.  

As a theologian, in 1611 Grotius published a book called Meletius sive de iis quae inter Christianos conveniunt epistola (Meletius or Letter on the Points of Agreement between Christians) which contained the idea of Christian unity. His next theological book was published in 1617 under the title Defensio Fidei Catholicae de Sasfacone (A Defense of The Catholic Faith Concerning The Sasfacon of Christ Against Faustus Socinus). 

Grotius with his colleague and also teacher, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was arrested on August 29, 1618 on the report of his political opponents for an unclear error. But this detention is a blessing for Grotius itself, because while in prison he was able to complete his several remarkable works including De Veritate Religionis Chrisaniae and Inleiding tot de Hollandsche Rechtsgeleertheyd (Introduction to the Jurisprudence of Holland). Another completed work was De Jurre Belli ac Paris which was started in 1622 and published in 1625. 

Again, this book was magnum opus of Grotius and became his identity. The writing of this book motivated by the turbulent social political situation at that time and the damage caused by Thirty Years war. It was one of the most cruel and lawless wars that have ever ravaged Europe. Hugo Grotius died on August 28, 1645 at the age of 62 and he buried in the city of Delft.

In fact international law, as explained by Grotius, is inseparable from mankind, it is as old as mankind, it is inherent in human nature. This is perhaps the most valuable point of Grotius philosophy, that he bases his system firmly on human nature.

So, that was it the short biography of the Father of International Law, Grotius. If you all interested of any other law article, just visit Selaras Group to see other important law article. See you on the next article!


Atip Latipulhayat, GROTIUS, Jurnal Ilmu Hukum Vol. 4 No. 1, Padjajaran University, 2017.

Pieter Geyl, Grotius, Transactions of the Grotius Society, 1926, Vol. 12, Problem of Peace and War, Papers Read before the Society in the Year 1926. 

Yasuaki Onuma, Introduction to A Normative Approach to War: Peace, War, and Justice in Hugo Grotius, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.  

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Editor: Siti Faridah, S.H.

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