The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.
Member states of the United Nations (UN), as defined by the UN.
Hugo Grotius' De jure belli ac pacis, is considered one of the foundational texts of international law. (Pictured is the title page from the second edition of 1631).
De facto map of control of the world, May 2019
A portrait of the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius (alias Hugo de Groot)
Member states of the United Nations (UN), as defined by the UN (blue), as well as observer states (green), non-member states (orange), and non-self-governing territories (grey).
Sir Alberico Gentili is regarded as the Father of international law.
The First Geneva Convention (1864) is one of the earliest formulations of international law

International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory (see territorial disputes), one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states.

- Sovereign state

During the 20th century, it was recognized by legal positivists that a sovereign state could limit its authority to act by consenting to an agreement according to the contract principle pacta sunt servanda.

- International law
The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

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United Nations

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Intergovernmental organization whose purposes are to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

Intergovernmental organization whose purposes are to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

Members of the United Nations
1943 sketch by Franklin Roosevelt of the UN original three branches: The Four Policemen, an executive branch, and an international assembly of forty UN member states
The UN in 1945: founding members in light blue, protectorates and territories of the founding members in dark blue
Dag Hammarskjöld was a particularly active secretary-general from 1953 until his death in 1961.
Kofi Annan, secretary-general from 1997 to 2006
Flags of member nations at the United Nations Headquarters, seen in 2007
Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet general secretary, addressing the UN General Assembly in December 1988
Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, demonstrates a vial with alleged Iraq chemical weapon probes to the UN Security Council on Iraq war hearings, 5 February 2003
Current secretary-general, António Guterres
The ICJ ruled that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law.
Under Sukarno, Indonesia became the first and only country to leave the United Nations.
A Nepalese soldier on a peacekeeping deployment providing security at a rice distribution site in Haiti during 2010
The UN Buffer Zone in Cyprus was established in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Eleanor Roosevelt with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1949
Three former directors of the Global Smallpox Eradication Programme reading the news that smallpox has been globally eradicated in 1980
In Jordan, UNHCR remains responsible for the Syrian refugees and the Zaatari refugee camp.
The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize to the UN—diploma in the lobby of the UN Headquarters in New York City
Marking of the UN's 70th anniversary – Budapest, 2015

Pursuant to the Charter, the organization's objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law.

At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; with the addition of South Sudan in 2011, membership is now 193, representing almost all of the world's sovereign states.

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International relations

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The field of international relations dates from the time of the Greek historian Thucydides.
The official portraits of King Władysław IV dressed according to French, Spanish and Polish fashion reflects the complex politics of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth during the Thirty Years' War.
Empires of the world in 1910
NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan
The United Nations Secretariat Building at the United Nations headquarters in New York City
The World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.
NATO E-3A flying with USAF F-16s in a NATO exercise

International relations (IR), international studies (IS) or international affairs (IA) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states.

A new version of "idealism" that focused on human rights as the basis of the legitimacy of international law was advanced by Hans Köchler.

Peremptory norm

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A peremptory norm (also called jus cogens or ius cogens ; Latin for "compelling law") is a fundamental principle of international law that is accepted by the international community of states as a norm from which no derogation is permitted.

Indigenous march right to self-determination (2008). Lumads from all over Mindanao march through the streets of Davao City at the end of a three-day conference.

Self-determination

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Indigenous march right to self-determination (2008). Lumads from all over Mindanao march through the streets of Davao City at the end of a three-day conference.
Map of Ottoman Empire in 1683
Map of territorial changes in Europe after World War I (as of 1923)
Map of the world in 1945, showing United Nations Trusteeship Council territories in green
Western European colonial empires in Asia and Africa disintegrated after World War II
Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War
Southern Sudanese expressed joy and jubilation on their day of independence, July 9, 2011, from Sudan.
Celebration of the Declaration of Independence of Kosovo in 2008
Donetsk status referendum organized by separatists in Ukraine. A line to enter a polling place, 11 May 2014
During the 2019-20 Hong Kong protests, calls rose for self-determination by Hongkongers.
The first major demonstration in Stepanakert on February 13, 1988. Traditionally considered the start of the Artsakh movement.
Tuareg rebels in the short-lived proto-state of Azawad in 2012
2014 human chain for Basque Country's right to decide
A girl during the Nigerian Civil War of the late 1960s. Pictures of the famine caused by Nigerian blockade garnered sympathy for the Biafrans worldwide.
Protest in Barcelona on 1 October 2018
Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, April 2015
Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands Museum in Buenos Aires, 2015
Gibraltar National Day, September 2013
Pro-independence Hong Kong flag put up before a football match between the Hong Kong Football Team and the China national football team
Indian soldiers on the streets of Kashmir during the 2016 unrests
Kurdish YPG's female fighters during the Syrian War
Pro-independence rally in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan in September 2017
Atatürk Square, North Nicosia in 2006, with the Northern Cyprus and Turkish flags.
A republican mural in Belfast showing support for Palestine
A Native American woman in traditional dress
Native Americans and their supporters protest during the Washington Redskins name controversy.
A demonstration in Madrid for the independence of Western Sahara, 2007

The right of a people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law (commonly regarded as a jus cogens rule), binding, as such, on the United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the Charter's norms.

Most sovereign states do not recognize the right to self-determination through secession in their constitutions.

Portrait of "The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster", one of the treaties leading to the Peace of Westphalia, where the concept of the "nation state" was born.

Nation state

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Political unit where the state and nation are congruent.

Political unit where the state and nation are congruent.

Portrait of "The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster", one of the treaties leading to the Peace of Westphalia, where the concept of the "nation state" was born.
The Revolutions of 1848 were democratic and liberal in nature, with the aim of removing the old monarchical structures and creating independent nation-states.
Dissolution of the multiethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire (1918)
Ethnolinguistic map of mainland China and Taiwan
School map of Spain from 1850. It can be seen the State divided into four parts:- The "fully constitutional Spain", that includes Castilia, but also Galician-speacking territories. - The "assimilated Spain": territories from the Crown of Aragon,larguely Catalan-speaking territory- the "Foral Spain", which includes Basque-speaking territories- the "Colonial Spain", with last colonial territories.
The Greater German Reich under Nazi Germany in 1943

Walker Connor discusses the impressions surrounding the characters of "nation", "(sovereign) state", "nation state", and "nationalism".

A global political system based on international agreements and supra-national blocs characterized the post-war era.