Historical Treaties of Southeast Asia

A research program in global diplomatic history

Historical Treaties of Southeast Asia is a collaborative research program in Global Diplomatic History financed by the Swedish Research Council and running from 2022 until the end of 2027.

A team of seven researchers based in Europe and Southeast Asia investigate the role of treaties and treaty-making in the imperial expansion and colonisation of Southeast Asia from the eighteenth to the early and twentieth century.

The researchers systematically analyse all bilateral treaties concluded between a European, American or Japanese imperial power and a Southeast Asian polity between the eighteenth and early twentieth century. In addition, a selected number of diplomatic treaty-making processes are studied in detail. In doing so, the project aims to bring about a new and more nuanced understanding modern imperialism of relevance not only to Southeast Asia but globally.


Online Seminar: Treaties and Indigenous Rights in Settler Colonies.

The Two Row Wampum Belt
2023-10-24 13:15 - 15:00

Presenter: Saliha Belmessous (Oxford University).

This paper examines the role of treaties in establishing the rights of Indigenous peoples in settler colonies, focusing on Canada and Australia in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In Canada, where Indigenous peoples and Europeans had made treaties, Indigenous peoples relied on these treaties to assert claims to land and self-government against the state. By contrast, the absence of treaties in Australia allowed the government to deny Aboriginal land rights and instead stress the Crown's duty to protect Aboriginal people, who had only two ways of making their claims: violence or the language of protection. This contrasting situation suggests that treaty-making was central to Indigenous peoples' ability to assert the rights they wanted, rather than those they were granted, against imperial and colonial states.


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All Dates

  • 2023-10-24 13:15 - 15:00

Roundtable Discussion on "Treaties and Treaty-Making in Southeast Asia" held at the University of the Philippines- Baguio

On 26 February 2024, four of our project members participated in a roundtable discussion on historical treaties and treaty-making practices in Southeast Asia at the University of the Philippines- Baguio (UP Baguio). The event was hosted by the Department of History and Philosophy, College of Social Sciences, UP Baguio.

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Pandita, Bichara and Moro Historical Diplomacy

We can learn much from the way diplomacy was conducted in the Islamic courts of the southern Philippines, where the power of words to decisively and deliberately avoid conflict and regulate political relations was particularly prominent in border regions (thagr).

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No upcoming event!