Key studies have highlighted how Western law was central to the civilizing mission of colonialism, legitimizing conquest while presenting itself as a colonizer's gift for overcoming barbarism. But law was not just an imposition to dispossess resources and accumulate labor; it was also transformed by the contestations of First Nations and the new practices deployed in settler societies. In this context, the first international legal theories were aimed at subordinating third world societies and, at the same time, provided the foundations of Western legal apparatus, shaping racially the modern concepts of sovereignty, territory, and property.
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© 2021 Roger Merino.
© Roger Merino 2021. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.