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Piracy, or "robbery on the high seas," has existed for as long as people and commodities have traversed the oceans. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese all complained of it, and all created naval forces to fight pirates. The word "piracy" comes from the Latin pirata, "sea robber," and before that from the Greek peirates-"brigand," or "one who attacks." Piracy, however, has evolved over time, and this volume examines how piracy and ocean governance have changed from 1608, when the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius published his Mare Liberum [The Freedom of the Seas, or the Right Which Belongs to the Dutch to Take Part in the East Indian Trade].

As modern nation-states emerged from feudalism, privateering for both profit and war supplemented piracy at the margins of national sovereignty. More recently, an ocean enclosure movement under the aegis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 has granted states access to maritime resources far beyond their territorial limits. This in turn has given states more responsibility for providing safe passage through their waters. This monograph provides case studies on how these developments have changed the ways in which nations deal with piracy.