Grotius Award in Modern History

Hugo Grotius is best  known  as "the Father of International  Law" due to the influence of his treatise De Jure Belli ac Pacis (On the Law of War and Peace), published at Paris in 1625. Grotius was not only a lawyer and a writer, but also a public official and a diplomat.

Grotius was born in Delft, Netherlands. His post-secondary education began at Leyden University, at the age of 11 years. At age 15, he received a doctorate from the University of Orleans, and was described then as "the miracle of Holland" by King Henri IV of France. His first publication was one year later, and he went on to publish a number of poems, dramas, histories and theological works. At age 16 he also became a practising lawyer.

In 1607, when Grotius was 24 years old, he was appointed to a position for the court of Holland, Zeeland and West-Friesland, responsible for prosecution of criminal cases and overseeing property interests of  the State. One year later, he married Marie von Reigersberch, and in the ensuing years they would have seven children.

Grotius entered politics in 1613, accepting a post as pensionary of the city of Rotterdam, which included a seat in the States-General of Holland and then in the States-General of the United Netherlands. When feuding erupted a few years later between Calvinists and Arminians regarding predestination and related matters, Grotius was aligned with the Arminians and was imprisoned for life, under the charge of treason, for his beliefs. However, his jail term suddenly ended only two years later, when his wife contrived to have him carried out of his jail in his own book chest by the soldiers hired to guard him.

Grotius went to France following his escape and remained there until 1631, publishing several works on the law. He returned to Holland briefly but was forced to flee again, this time to Germany, where he stayed forthree years. He was then appointed ambassador of Sweden to France, a post he held until 1645 when he was recalled by his Queen. 

Enroute to  rejoin his family in Lubeck, he took ill and died. His last words were,"By undertaking many things I have accomplished nothing." His body was returned to Delft for interment.

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