Uti possidetis

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Uti possidetis (Latin for "as you possess") is a principle in international law that territory and other property remains with its possessor at the end of a conflict, unless otherwise provided for by treaty; if such a treaty doesn't include conditions regarding the possession of property and territory taken during the war, then the principle of uti possidetis will prevail. Originating in Roman law, the phrase is derived from the Latin expression uti possidetis, ita possideatis, meaning "as you possessed, you shall possess henceforth". This principle enables a belligerent party to claim territory that it has acquired by war.

In the early 17th century, the term was used by England's James I to state that while he recognized the existence of Spanish authority in those regions of the Western Hemisphere where Spain exercised effective control, he refused to recognize Spanish claims to exclusive possession of all territory west of longitude 46° 37' W under the Treaty of Tordesillas.

More recently, the principle has been used in a modified form (see Uti possidetis juris) to establish the frontiers of newly independent states following decolonization, by ensuring that the frontiers followed the original boundaries of the old colonial territories from which they emerged. This use originated in South America in the 19th century with the withdrawal of the Spanish Empire.Hensel, Paul R.; Michael E. Allison and Ahmed Khanani (2006). ...
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