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What is a Treaty[1]
A treaty is a formal agreement or contract between two or more sovereign states or international organisations. It establishes legally binding obligations and rights for the parties involved. Treaties can also be called agreements, conventions, covenants, protocols, or pacts, depending on the terminology used.

This paper looks at some of the many treaties that have been agreed and signed in London or elsewhere in the United Kingdom since the time of William the Conqueror in late 1066 AD. But first, a look at the purpose of treaties.

Picture Credit: Locations of some of the events in 1066.
Attribution: Amitchell125 at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons
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The purpose of treaties is to govern and regulate various aspects of international relations, such as territorial boundaries, trade, diplomacy, security, human rights, environmental issues, and more. Treaties serve several key functions:

  • Establishing rights and obligations: Treaties define the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. They outline the specific commitments and actions each party must undertake or refrain from undertaking.
  • Resolving disputes: Treaties can provide mechanisms for peacefully resolving conflicts or disputes between states. They may establish procedures for negotiation, mediation, or arbitration to address disagreements.
  • Promoting cooperation: Treaties often aim to foster cooperation and collaboration among nations in various areas of mutual interest. They can facilitate joint efforts to address common challenges and achieve shared objectives.
  • Creating legal frameworks: Treaties create a legal framework that governs the behaviour and interactions of the parties involved. They provide a basis for enforcing rights, resolving disputes, and holding parties accountable for their obligations.
  • Codifying international norms: Treaties can codify existing customary international law or create new legal standards that shape the behaviour of states. They contribute to the development and evolution of international law.

The Main Treaties since the Norman Rule of England in 1066
When I decided to write about The Treaties of London, I imagined it would be a short piece of work. How wrong I was. Researching the subject, I was astounded by the sheer number of treaties there were.

The effect of Treaties varies depending on the specific terms and provisions outlined within each agreement. Generally, once a treaty is ratified or acceded to by the participating parties, it becomes binding on them and creates legal obligations. Treaties may require states to modify their domestic laws, implement specific policies, or undertake certain actions in accordance with the treaty provisions. Violating treaty obligations can lead to diplomatic or legal consequences, such as diplomatic protests, economic sanctions, or international legal proceedings.

The following is my selection of Treaties, although some go by other names, such as ‘Convention’ or ‘Protocol’. The information is presented in chronological order across different time zones. There are so many Treaties to choose from, and I hope to be forgiven for omitting anything you consider important from the lists below.

1066 to the mid-14th Century

  • Treaty of London (1066): Following the Norman Conquest of England, this treaty was signed between William the Conqueror of Normandy (later known as William I of England) and the English nobles. It solidified William’s position as the new King of England.
  • Treaty of London (1153): aka The Treaty of Wallingford, and the Treaty of Winchester or the Treaty of Westminster, was an agreement reached in England in the summer of 1153. It effectively ended a civil war known as the Anarchy (1135–54), caused by a dispute over the English crown between King Stephen and his cousin Matilda. The Treaty of Wallingford allowed Stephen to keep the throne until his death (which was to come in October 1154) but ensured that he would be succeeded by Matilda’s son Henry II. Also known as the Treaty of Wallingford, it was signed between King Stephen of England and Henry Plantagenet, the future King Henry II. The treaty ended the civil war known as The Anarchy and established Henry as Stephen’s heir.
  • Treaty of Lambeth (1217): This Treaty was signed between King Henry III of England and Louis VIII of France. The treaty ended the First Barons’ War and established peace between England and France. It was also called the Treaty of Kingston to distinguish it from the Treaty of Lambeth of 1212.
  • Treaty of London (1358): established a truce between England and France following the Battle of Poitiers[2].
  • Treaty of London (1359): signed during the Hundred Years’ War, this treaty was agreed upon by Edward III of England and John II of France. It temporarily halted hostilities and established a truce between the two warring kingdoms, ceding western France to England.

A colourful and stylised depiction of the culmination of a late Medieval battle
Picture Credit: Battle Poitiers.
Attribution: Eugène Delacroix, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Late 14th Century to 1800

  • Treaty of London (1474): this agreement between Charles the Bold of Burgundy and Edward IV of England was signed on 25th July 1474. In the treaty, Charles agreed to support England militarily during an invasion of France and to recognise Edward as the King of France.
  • Treaty of London (1518): a non-aggression pact between Burgundy, France, England, the Holy Roman Empire, the Netherlands, the Papal States and Spain.

    A group of men sitting at a table Description automatically generated with medium confidence
    Picture Credit: The Somerset House Conference August 1604. Spanish delegation on the left, English delegation on the right.
    Attribution: Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Treaty of London (1604): This Treaty was signed on 18th August OS (28th August NS) 1604 and concluded the 19-year Anglo-Spanish War. It restored the status quo between the two nations. The negotiations probably took place at Somerset House in Westminster and are sometimes known as the Somerset House Conference. The Anglo-Spanish War was a complex and ever-changing conflict intertwined with events such as the Dutch Revolt, the French Wars of Religion, and the Nine Years’ War in Ireland.

    By 1600, the war had been ongoing for almost fifteen years without either side achieving a clear advantage. Spain’s exhaustion, opposition to the King’s financial requests, troop mutinies in the Netherlands, and the potential of a renewed war with France over the Duchy of Saluzzo[3] all contributed to the realisation that dealing a decisive blow to England seemed increasingly improbable. Efforts towards peace were initiated in April 1600 when Archduke Albert, the governor of the Spanish Netherlands, engaged in secret negotiations with England without informing Madrid.

    A conference involving Spain, England, and Burgundy was held in Boulogne the following month. The negotiations reached an impasse as Spain demanded the cession of the Cautionary Towns while England insisted on free trade with Spain and its empire, freedom from the inquisition for English subjects, and exclusive naval rights in the English Channel. Mutual distrust, combined with pressure from the United Provinces, ultimately derailed the talks.

    Despite these setbacks, diplomatic channels between England, Albert, his wife Isabella Clara Eugenia (Philip’s sister), and Philip III of Spain remained open. Correspondence from their representatives indicated that despite their policy differences, peace and amicable relations were desired. England’s new monarch, James I, who succeeded Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, was keen to end the protracted and draining conflict. At this point, the prospects of a decisive military victory for Spain in the Netherlands or a successful invasion of England were remote.

    Both James I and Philip III inherited the war from their predecessors and sought a resolution. Spain aimed to improve its military situation in the Netherlands by reducing or halting English support for the Dutch rebels. Meanwhile, the Dutch delegation, led by Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, sought the involvement of the new English monarch in the conflict, particularly the Siege of Ostend, which had turned into a gruelling struggle after more than two years.

    The first steps toward peace were taken in June 1603 when Juan de Tassis led a Spanish-Flemish Commission to London, exploring possibilities for truces and mutual goodwill following Elizabeth’s death. In September 1603, Charles de Ligne, the Prince-Count of Arenberg, representing Archduke Albert, joined Tassis in London to advance settlement preparations, even though Tassis lacked full negotiating authority.

    By the end of 1603, with the constable of Castile awaiting authorisation to conclude the treaty, the rest of the Habsburg delegation arrived in London on 19th May 1604. Subsequently, the English negotiating team was appointed, setting the stage for the treaty’s eventual conclusion.

The 19th Century

  • Convention of London (1814): (aka the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814) which returned some colonies to the Netherlands.
  • Treaty of 1818: The Convention concerned fisheries, boundary and the restoration of slaves, was also known as the London Convention, Anglo-American Convention of 1818, Convention of 1818, or simply the Treaty of 1818, an international treaty signed in 1818 between the United States and the United Kingdom. This treaty resolved standing boundary issues between the two nations. The treaty allowed for joint occupation and settlement of the Oregon Country, known to the British and in Canadian history as the Columbia District of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and including the southern portion of its sister district New Caledonia.

    The two nations agreed to a boundary line involving the 49th parallel north, in part because a straight-line boundary would be easier to survey than the pre-existing boundaries based on watersheds. The treaty marked the United Kingdom’s last permanent major loss of territory in what is now the Continental United States and the United States’ first permanent significant cession of North American territory to a foreign power, the second being the Webster–Ashburton Treaty of 1842. The British ceded all of Rupert’s Land south of the 49th parallel and east of the Continental Divide, including all of the Red River Colony south of that latitude, while the United States ceded the northernmost edge of the Missouri Territory north of the 49th parallel.

  • Treaty of London (1824): (aka Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824), which resolved disputes from the 1814 treaty. The treaty was signed between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in London on 17th March 1824. Its purpose was to resolve disputes arising from the execution of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814. The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 was designed to solve many of the issues that had arisen from the British occupation of Dutch colonial possessions during the Napoleonic Wars as well as those regarding the rights to trade that existed for hundreds of years in the Spice Islands between the two nations, was a treaty that addressed a wide array of issues and did not clearly describe the limitations of expansion by either side in the Malay world.
  • Treaty of London (1827): an alliance between Britain, France, and Russia to end Ottoman action in Greece. The three main European powers had called upon Greece and the Ottoman Empire to cease hostilities that had been going on since the Greeks revolted against Ottoman rule on 17th March 1821. After years of negotiation, the European allied powers had finally decided to intervene in the war on the side of the Greeks. The Allied powers wanted the treaty mainly to cause the Ottoman Empire to create an independent Greek state.[6] It stated that while the Ottoman Empire would recognise the independence of Greece, the Sultan would be the supreme ruler of Greece.[7] The treaty declared the intention of the three allies to mediate between the Greeks and the Ottomans. The base arrangement was that Greece would become an Ottoman dependency and pay tribute as such.[8] Additional articles were added to detail the response if the Sultan refused the offer of mediation and continued hostilities in Greece. The articles detailed that the Turks had one month to accept the mediation or the Allied powers forming a partnership with the Greeks through commercial relations.[9] Measures were also adopted that if the Sultan refused the armistice, the Allies would use the appropriate force to ensure the adoption of the armistice.[10]

    However, the Ottoman Empire, basing its decision upon its supposedly-superior naval force, declined to accept the treaty. The Treaty of London allowed the three European powers to intervene on behalf of the Greeks. At the naval Battle of Navarino on 20th October 1827, the Allies crushed the combined Ottoman–Egyptian fleet in an overwhelming victory that forcefully and effectively created an independent Greek state.[11]

    This treaty also bound Russia to a promise not to attempt any territorial aggrandisement at the expense of Turkey or secure any exclusive commercial advantage from Turkey due to any subsequent Russian war with Turkey. The war between Russia and Turkey, anticipated by the treaty, actually broke out in June 1828 when Russian troops crossed the Danube into the Ottoman-controlled province of Dobruja. The war became the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829. The Treaty of Adrianople, signed by Russia and Turkey on 14th September 1829, ended the Russo-Turkish War.

    Besides recognising the independence of Greece, Turkey was forced by the treaty to give the Danube Delta and its islands and a considerable portion of the Black Sea south of the Kuban estuary to Russia. Because of the new territorial arrangements and the other articles contained in the treaty, Britain and the other European powers came to regard the Treaty of Adrianople as infringing on the promises that Russia had made in the Treaty of 1827.[12]

  • Treaty of London (1832): which followed the London Conference of 1832 between Britain, France and Russia, creating an independent Kingdom of Greece. The London Conference of 1832 was an international conference convened to establish a stable government in Greece. Negotiations between the three Great Powers (Britain, France and Russia) resulted in the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece under a Bavarian Prince. The decisions were ratified in the Treaty of Constantinople later that year. The treaty followed the Akkerman Convention, which had previously recognised another territorial change in the Balkans, the suzerainty of the Principality of Serbia.[13]

    Greece had won its independence from the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829) with the help of Britain, France and Russia. In the London Protocol of 3rd February 1830, the three powers had assigned the borders of the new state. However, when the governor of Greece, John Capodistria (Ioannis Kapodistrias), was assassinated in 1831 in Nafplion, the Greek peninsula plunged into confusion. The Great Powers sought a formal end to the war and a recognised government in Greece.

    In May 1832, British Foreign Secretary Palmerston convened with French and Russian diplomats and, without consultation with the Greeks, decided that Greece should be a monarchy. The Convention offered the throne to the Bavarian Prince, Otto. They also established the line of succession, which would pass the crown to Otto’s descendants or his younger brothers should he have no issue. It was also decided that in no case would the crowns of Greece and Bavaria be joined. As co-guarantors of the monarchy, the Great Powers also empowered their ambassadors in Constantinople, the Ottoman capital, to secure the end of the Greek War of Independence. On 21st July 1832, British ambassador Sir Stratford Canning and the other representatives concluded the Treaty of Constantinople, which set the boundaries of the new Kingdom of Greece along the Arta–Volos line.

  • Treaty of London (1839): This treaty, signed by the major European powers including the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and Prussia, recognised and guaranteed the neutrality and independence of Belgium. The Treaty of London of 1839[14] was signed on 19th April 1839 between the Concert of Europe, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium. It was a direct follow-up to the 1831 Treaty of the XVIII Articles, which the Netherlands had refused to sign, and the result of negotiations at the London Conference of 1838–1839.[15]

    Under the treaty, the European powers recognised and guaranteed the independence and neutrality of Belgium and established the full independence of the German-speaking part of Luxembourg. Article VII required Belgium to remain perpetually neutral;[16] Belgium formally abandoned its policy of neutrality after its experiences in both world wars.

    Since 1815, Belgium had been a reluctant part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.[17] In 1830, Belgians broke away and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium. The overwhelmingly Catholic population could not accept the Dutch king’s favouritism toward Protestantism, while French speakers were irritated by his disdain for the French language, and the middle classes objected to the Dutch monopolisation of public offices.[18] Liberals regarded King William I‘s rule as despotic, while there were high levels of unemployment and industrial unrest among the working classes.

    Small-scale fighting – the death of some 600 volunteers is commemorated in the Place des Martyrs, Brussels[19] – was followed by an international settlement in 1831[20]. However, the Dutch did not accept the settlement, who invaded the country in the autumn of 1831.[21] It took a French army to recapture Antwerp in 1832 before Belgium and the Netherlands could even agree on an armistice.[22] Several years later, the Netherlands recognised that they stood to gain more territory by accepting the 1831 settlement than from a mere continuance of the armistice.[23]

    The Belgian government protested, with French support, against the late implementation of the settlement terms, but Britain accepted the Dutch claim; and in 1839, the Dutch accepted Belgian independence (and regained the disputed territories) by the Treaty of London. At the same time, the major powers all guaranteed Belgium’s independence from the Netherlands.[24]

  • Convention of London (1840): which granted Muhammad Ali Pasha hereditary control over Egypt. The Convention’s full title was Convention for the Pacification of the Levant, and it was signed on 15th July 1840 between the Great Powers of United Kingdom, Austria, Prussia, and Russia on the one hand and the Ottoman Empire on the other. The Convention lent some support to the Ottoman Empire, which was having difficulties with its Egyptian possessions. Because Muhammad Ali of Egypt did not accept the terms of the Convention, the Oriental Crisis of 1840 resulted. Thus, Muhammad Ali finally accepted the Convention on 27th November 1840.

    The Convention summarised recent agreements concerning the Ottoman Empire under Abdulmecid I and its second war with Muhammad Ali’s Egypt. It was brought about by the Great Powers’ fear of the destabilising effect an Ottoman collapse would have on Europe.

    The Ottomans agreed to declare the Dardanelles closed to all non-Ottoman warships in peacetime. Muhammad Ali was to withdraw immediately his forces from Arabia, the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, Crete, and the district of Adana, all within the Ottoman Empire. In return, the signatories offered to Muhammad Ali and his heirs permanent control over Egypt and the Eyalet of Acre if those territories would remain part of the Ottoman Empire. If he did not agree to the withdrawal of his forces within ten days, he should lose the offer in Southern Syria; if he delayed acceptance more than 20 days, he should forfeit everything offered.[25] He also had to return the Ottoman fleet that had defected to Egypt and was in Alexandria.

    The European powers agreed to use all possible means of persuasion to effect this agreement, but Muhammad Ali, backed by France, refused to accept its terms in the time given. That led to the Oriental Crisis of 1840, and British and Austrian forces attacked Acre, defeating his troops late in 1840. Muhammad Ali’s forces faced increasing military pressure from Europe and the Ottoman Empire, fought a losing battle against insurgents in its captured territories, and saw the general deterioration of its military from the strain of the recent wars. Muhammad Ali finally accepted the terms of the Convention and the firmans subsequently issued by the sultan, confirming his rule over Egypt and Sudan. He withdrew from Syria and Crete and sent back the Ottoman fleet. The London Convention and the firmans were the legal basis for Egypt’s status as a privileged Ottoman province. Later Egyptian nationalists cited them to discredit claims for the British occupation.

The 20th Century

  • Treaty of London (1913): This treaty, signed by the Balkan League countries (Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece) and the Ottoman Empire, concluded the First Balkan War and redistributed territories in the region.
  • Treaty of London (1915): a secret treaty between Italy and the Triple Entente (Britain, France, and Russia) during World War I. The treaty promised territorial gain between the Entente powers and the Kingdom of Italy. The Treaty of London (Italian: Trattato di Londra) or the Pact of London (Patto di Londra) was a secret agreement concluded on 26th April 1915 by the United Kingdom, France, and Russia on the one part, and Italy on the other, to entice the latter to enter World War I on the side of the Triple Entente. The agreement involved promises of Italian territorial expansion against Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Africa, where it was promised enlargement of its colonies. The Entente countries hoped to force the Central Powers – particularly Germany and Austria-Hungary – to divert some of their forces away from existing battlefields. The Entente also hoped Romania and Bulgaria would be encouraged to join them after Italy did the same.

    In May 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary but waited a year before declaring war on Germany – leading France and the UK to resent the delay. At the Paris Peace Conference after the war, the United States of America applied pressure to void the treaty as contrary to the principle of self-determination. A new agreement produced at the conference reduced the territorial gains promised by the treaty: Italy received Trentino and the Julian March in addition to the occupation of the city of Vlorë and the Dodecanese Islands. Italy was compelled to settle its eastern border with the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes through the bilateral Treaty of Rapallo. Italy thus received Istria and the city of Zadar as an enclave in Dalmatia, along with several islands along the eastern Adriatic Sea shore. The Entente went back on its promises to provide Italy with expanded colonies and a part of Asia Minor.

    The results of the Paris Peace Conference transformed wartime national fervour in Italy into nationalistic resentment championed by Gabriele D’Annunzio by declaring that the outcome of Italy’s war was a mutilated victory. He led a successful march of veterans and disgruntled soldiers to capture the port of Rijeka – claimed by Italy and denied by the Entente powers. The move became known as the Impresa di Fiume, and D’Annunzio proclaimed the short-lived Italian Regency of Carnaro in the city – before being forced out by the Italian military so that the Free State of Fiume could be established instead. The Regency of Carnaro was significant in the development of Italian fascism.

  • Anglo-Dutch Treaty (1924): The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, also known as the Treaty of London, was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in London on 17 March 1824. The treaty was to resolve disputes arising from the execution of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814. For the Dutch, it was signed by Hendrik Fagel and Anton Reinhard Falck, and for the British, George Canning and Charles Williams-Wynn[31].

    It was designed to solve many of the issues that had arisen from the British occupation of Dutch colonial possessions during the Napoleonic Wars as well as those regarding the rights to trade that existed for hundreds of years in the Spice Islands between the two nations, was a treaty that addressed a wide array of issues and did not clearly describe the limitations of expansion by either side in the Malay world.

    The British establishment of Singapore on the Malay Peninsula in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles exacerbated the tension between the two nations, especially as the Dutch claimed that the treaty signed between Raffles and the Sultan of Johor was invalid and that the Sultanate of Johor was under the Dutch sphere of influence. The questions surrounding the fate of Dutch trading rights in British India and the formerly Dutch possessions in the area also became a point of contention between Calcutta and Batavia. In 1820, under pressures from British merchants with interests in the Far East, negotiations to clarify the situation in Southeast Asia started.

  • The London Naval Treaty (1930): officially the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament, was an agreement between the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Italy, and the United States, signed on 22nd April 1930. Seeking to address issues not covered in the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, which had created tonnage limits for each nation’s surface warships, the new agreement regulated submarine warfare, further controlled cruisers and destroyers, and limited naval shipbuilding. Ratifications were exchanged in London on 27th October 1930, and the treaty went into effect on the same day, but it was largely ineffective.[38] The treaty was registered in the League of Nations Treaty Series on 6th February 1931.[39]
  • Conventions on the Definition of Aggression (1933): Two Conventions for the Definition of Aggression were signed in London on the 3rd and 4th July 1933. The first was signed by Czechoslovakia, Romania, the Soviet Union, Turkey and Yugoslavia and came into effect on 17th February 1934, when it was ratified by all except Turkey.

    The second was signed by Afghanistan (ratified 20th October 1933), Estonia (4th December), Latvia (4th December), Persia (16th November), Poland (16th October), Romania (16th October), the Soviet Union (16th October) and Turkey, which ratified both treaties on 23rd March 1934. Finland acceded to the second Convention on 31st January 1934. The second Convention was the first to be registered with the League of Nations Treaty Series on 29th March 1934, while the first was registered on 26th April.

    As Lithuania refused to sign any treaty, including Poland,[40] it signed the definition of aggression in a separate pact with the Soviet Union on 5th July 1933, also in London, and exchanged ratifications on 14th December. It was registered in the Treaty Series on 16th April 1934.

    The signatories of both treaties were also signatories of the Kellogg–Briand Pact prohibiting aggression and were seeking an agreed definition of the latter. Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia were members of the Little Entente, and their signatures alarmed Bulgaria since the definition of aggression covered its support of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization.[41] Both treaties base their definition on the “Politis Report” of the Committee of Security Questions made 24th March 1933 to the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments in answer to a proposal of the Soviet delegation. The Greek politician Nikolaos Politis was behind the inclusion of “support for armed bands” as a form of aggression.[42] Ratifications for both treaties were deposited in Moscow, as the Convention was primarily the work of Maxim Litvinov, the Soviet signatory.[43] The Convention defined an act of aggression as follows:

  • Declaration of war upon another State.
  • Invasion by its armed forces, with or without a declaration of war, of the territory of another State.
  • Attack by its land, naval or air forces, with or without a declaration of war, on the territory, vessels or aircraft of another State.
  • Naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another State.
  • Provision of support to armed bands formed in its territory which have invaded the territory of another State, or refusal, notwithstanding the request of the invaded State, to take, in its own territory, all the measures in its power to deprive those bands of all assistance or protection.

    The League prerogative under that Convention to expel a League member found guilty of aggression was used by the League Assembly only once, against the Soviet government itself, on 14th December 1939, following the Soviet invasion of Finland.[44]

Picture Credit: Occupation zone borders in Germany, 1944.
Attribution: Map-Germany-1947-2.png: *_Map-Germany-1947.svg: User:52 Pickupderivative work: Yumyum73 (talk)derivative work: GEO, CC BY-SA 2.5 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • London Protocol (1944): an agreement between the Allies of World War II on dividing Germany into three occupation zones after the war. Instead of jointly administering and policing Germany, as in postwar Austria, the Allies decided at the Potsdam Conference to divide Germany into four distinct occupation zones, one for each Allied nation, including France. The northwest quadrant was assigned to the British, the southwest to the French, and the southeast to the Americans. Since the Soviet army already occupied much of eastern Germany, the Soviet Union was given control over the northeast quadrant, which included the capital city, Berlin.

    Furthermore, Berlin was subdivided into four quadrants, with each quadrant assigned to one of the occupying powers: the British, French, Soviets, and Americans. These powers were responsible for policing and administering their respective zones within the city, which was entirely surrounded by Soviet-occupied territory.

  • The Statute of the Council of Europe (1949): (aka as the Treaty of London (1949)) signed on 5th May 1949, the Statute brought into existence the Council of Europe, an international organisation open to all European states devoted to “the pursuit of peace based on justice and international cooperation”.[45] The Statute sets out the guiding principles of the Organisation – to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law – as well as the mandates and functioning of its two statutory bodies, the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.

    The original signatories in 1949 were Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, though the Statute has now been signed and ratified by 46 European states. Only BelarusKazakhstan, and the Vatican City (the Holy See) are not members, while Russia was expelled from the Council of Europe on 16th March 2022 after 26 years of membership – the only country ever to be expelled in the history of the Organisation – because of its aggression against Ukraine and invasion of a fellow member state, regarded as an extreme violation of the Statute.[46] The treaty was registered with the United Nations on 11th April 1951.[47]

The 21st Century

References to ‘Treaties of London’
While it may seem peculiar that some of these treaties are referred to as Treaties of London, that term indicates that the respective treaties were negotiated or signed in the city of London. London has historically been a significant centre for international diplomacy and has hosted numerous negotiations and treaty signings throughout history. Therefore, it has become a common practice to use the name “Treaty of London” to identify treaties associated with London as the location where they were negotiated or signed.

In some cases, the choice of London as the location for treaty negotiations may be influenced by factors such as its historical importance, diplomatic facilities, or the presence of key stakeholders. It is worth noting that the city of London has a long-standing tradition of hosting international conferences and treaty negotiations, which has contributed to using the term “Treaty of London” for various agreements. While the naming convention might seem arbitrary in some instances, it primarily serves as a practical way to identify and differentiate between treaties negotiated or signed in different locations.

The naming convention of using “Treaty of London” for EU-related treaties might seem unusual, as they are not directly negotiated or signed in London. In the case of the Treaties of London (1949 and 1972) that established the Council of Europe and the European Communities (which later evolved into the European Union), the choice of using “The Treaty of London” as the name is a historical reference.

The 1949 Treaty of London, which established the Council of Europe, was signed in St James’s Palace in London, which is why it carries the name. However, it is important to note that the Council of Europe is distinct from the European Union.

The 1972 Treaty of London, which established the European Communities, was actually signed in Brussels, Belgium. It is named the Treaty of London because the ceremony for the signing of the treaty took place at the premises of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

In both cases, the choice of London as the location for the signing ceremony may have been due to practical or historical reasons. It is important to remember that these treaties are part of a larger historical context, and their names might not strictly reflect the precise location of their negotiations or signings.

Government Guidance on UK Treaties
In the United Kingdom, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Treaty Section is responsible for managing and overseeing the treaty-related activities of the United Kingdom. The main work of the FCDO Treaty Section includes:

  • Treaty Negotiation and Drafting: The FCDO Treaty Section is involved in negotiating and drafting international treaties on behalf of the UK government. This includes participating in negotiations with other countries or international organisations to develop the terms, provisions, and obligations of a treaty.
  • Treaty Management and Implementation: Once a treaty is concluded and ratified by the UK, the FCDO Treaty Section is responsible for its management and implementation. This involves ensuring compliance with treaty obligations, coordinating with relevant government departments, and providing advice and guidance on treaty-related matters.
  • Treaty Registration and Depository Functions: The FCDO Treaty Section handles the registration and deposit of UK treaties. This involves submitting treaty texts and related information to international treaty depositories, such as the United Nations, as part of the UK’s commitment to transparency and international law.
  • Treaty Advice and Support: The FCDO Treaty Section provides advice and support to government departments, officials, and stakeholders on matters related to international treaties. This can include legal interpretations of treaty provisions, assistance with treaty-related disputes or negotiations, and guidance on treaty obligations.
  • Treaty Relations and Diplomacy: The FCDO Treaty Section engages in diplomatic activities related to treaties, representing the UK’s interests in international forums and negotiations. This includes fostering relationships with other countries, participating in multilateral treaty processes, and coordinating with international partners on treaty-related matters.

Overall, the FCDO Treaty Section plays a crucial role in the negotiation, management, and implementation of international treaties on behalf of the United Kingdom, ensuring that the UK meets its obligations and protects its interests. Web link:

UK Treaties Online
UK Treaties Online (UKTO) provides an official record of the UK’s treaty obligations under international law and is sourced by the Treaty Section of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. UKTO gives access to information on over 14,000 treaties to which the UK is or has been a party, with links to texts of command papers published in the UK Treaty Series from 1892. Web link:

Why are Treaties Necessary?
Treaties are necessary for several reasons:

  • Establishing Legal Frameworks: Treaties provide a legal framework that outlines the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of the parties involved. They set out rules and guidelines that govern the behaviour and interactions between nations, organisations, or individuals in specific areas of interest.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Disputes: Treaties can help resolve conflicts and disputes between parties by providing a mechanism for negotiation, compromise, and consensus. They can address territorial disputes, trade disagreements, human rights issues, environmental concerns, and other areas of contention and provide a peaceful solution to problems instead of resorting to war.
  • Promoting Cooperation and Collaboration: Treaties facilitate cooperation and collaboration between nations and international organizations. They can encourage joint efforts in matters such as security, trade, research, environmental protection, and humanitarian aid. Treaties often establish platforms for dialogue and coordination, fostering mutual understanding and shared goals.
  • Protecting and Promoting Rights: Treaties play a crucial role in safeguarding and promoting human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child establish international standards and mechanisms for protecting and promoting fundamental rights and freedoms.
  • Addressing Global Challenges: Treaties are essential in addressing global challenges that transcend national boundaries. Issues like climate change, nuclear disarmament, biodiversity conservation, and cybersecurity require collective action and international cooperation. Treaties provide a platform for countries to come together, establish commitments, and work towards common goals.
  • Providing Stability and Predictability: Treaties contribute to international stability and predictability by creating a framework of rules that governs interactions between states. They help establish normalities and expectations, reduce uncertainties, and provide a basis for long-term planning and cooperation.

Treaties are necessary for fostering peaceful relations, resolving disputes, promoting cooperation, protecting rights, addressing global challenges, and providing stability in the international system. They form the backbone of international law and serve as essential tools for shaping the relationships and interactions between nations. However, there have been several treaties throughout history that have faced challenges or have been regarded as unsuccessful. Here are a few notable examples, although none could directly be categorised as a UK Treaty:

  • Treaty of Versailles (1919): The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, imposed harsh reparations and territorial changes on Germany. Many historians argue that the treaty’s punitive terms contributed to economic instability and political unrest in Germany, ultimately leading to World War II.
  • Munich Agreement (1938): The Munich Agreement was signed by Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, allowing Nazi Germany to annex the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. Critics argue that the appeasement policy reflected in the agreement failed to prevent further aggression by Nazi Germany.
  • Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (1939): The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The secret protocols of the treaty divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence, leading to the invasion and occupation of several countries. The pact was ultimately broken when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.
  • Treaty of Tordesillas (1494): The Treaty of Tordesillas, signed between Spain and Portugal, divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between the two countries. However, it disregarded the interests and rights of indigenous peoples, contributing to centuries of colonization, conflicts, and exploitation in the Americas. **

** I have written a separate paper about the Treaty of Tordesillas, which you should find at or email me at for a free pdf copy.

  • Treaty of Sèvres (1920): The Treaty of Sèvres was intended to restructure the Ottoman Empire after World War I. However, it faced significant opposition from Turkish nationalists (led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk), ultimately resulting in the Turkish War of Independence. The treaty was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

These are just a few examples, and the assessment of treaty success or failure can vary depending on different perspectives and historical interpretations. It’s important to consider the context, complexities, and long-term consequences when evaluating the outcomes of any given treaty.

In Conclusion: Ten most important UK Treaties since 1066
Determining the ten most important UK treaties since William of Normandy conquered England in 1066 is subjective and may vary depending on different perspectives and criteria. However, here are ten treaties that are widely regarded as significant in shaping the history and development of the United Kingdom:

  • Treaty of Wallingford (1153): Also known as the Treaty of Winchester, this treaty was signed between King Stephen[56] and Henry Plantagenet (future King Henry II). It marked a significant turning point in The Anarchy, a civil war between Stephen and Matilda (Empress Matilda) over the English throne. The treaty established a peace agreement and recognised Henry Plantagenet as Stephen’s adopted heir. It also ensured that Henry would succeed Stephen as the next King of England.
  • Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton (1328): Ended the First War of Scottish Independence and recognised Scotland as an independent kingdom, acknowledging Robert the Bruce as its ruler.
  • Treaty of Union (1707): United the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into a single entity known as the Kingdom of Great Britain, establishing a shared Parliament and a single monarch.
  • Treaty of Paris (1763): Concluded the Seven Years’ War and reshaped the global balance of power, with Britain gaining significant territories, including Canada and various colonial possessions.
  • Treaty of Amiens (1802): Temporarily ended the Napoleonic Wars and marked a period of peace between Britain and France, although hostilities resumed in 1803.
  • Treaty of London (1839): Recognised and guaranteed the neutrality and independence of Belgium, protecting it from potential aggression by neighbouring powers.
  • Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921): Established the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) as a self-governing dominion within the British Empire, leading to the eventual independence of most of Ireland.
  • Treaty of Accession (1973): Brought the United Kingdom into the European Communities (later the European Union) as a member state, marking a significant step in European integration.
  • Good Friday Agreement (1998): Officially known as the Belfast Agreement, it helped bring an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland, promoting peace, power-sharing, and cross-border cooperation.
  • Treaty of Lisbon (2007): Amended the founding treaties of the European Union, enhancing its institutional framework and decision-making processes.

This list is not exhaustive, and other treaties, such as the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), the Treaty of Versailles (1919), and the Treaty of Maastricht (1992), also had a significant impact on the UK and the wider world.

Sources and Further Reading


CAUTION: This paper is compiled from the sources stated but has not been externally reviewed. Parts of this paper include information provided via artificial intelligence which, although checked by the author, is not always accurate or reliable. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials covered in this paper for any particular purpose. Such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this paper meet your specific requirements and you should neither take action nor exercise inaction without taking appropriate professional advice. The hyperlinks were current at the date of publication.

End Notes and Explanations

  1. Source: Compiled from research using information at the sources stated throughout the text, together with information provided by machine-generated artificial intelligence at: [chat] and
  2. Explanation: The Battle of Poitiers, also known as the Battle of Tours (not to be confused with the Battle of Tours in 732), took place on 19 September 1356, during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. It was a significant conflict that resulted in a major victory for the English forces led by Edward, the Black Prince. The battle occurred near the town of Poitiers in western France. The English army, consisting of a combination of English, Welsh, and Gascon troops, was heavily outnumbered by the French forces commanded by King John II of France. Despite the numerical disadvantage, the English employed effective defensive tactics and used longbow archers to devastating effect. The battle unfolded with the French knights charging the English positions. The longbowmen, taking advantage of their range and accuracy, rained arrows upon the French cavalry, causing significant casualties and disarray. The English then launched a counterattack, engaging the French forces in hand-to-hand combat. The English men-at-arms, led by the Black Prince, demonstrated exceptional skill and valour, inflicting further damage on the French. Ultimately, the English emerged victorious, capturing King John II and several other high-ranking French nobles. The battle proved to be a severe blow to the French, leading to a period of political turmoil in France and contributing to the decline of the French monarchy during the later stages of the Hundred Years’ War. The Battle of Poitiers had far-reaching consequences, both militarily and politically. It demonstrated the effectiveness of the English longbow against heavily armoured knights, changing the dynamics of medieval warfare. Additionally, the capture of King John II led to negotiations for his release, resulting in the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360, which temporarily halted hostilities between England and France. Overall, the Battle of Poitiers was a significant event in the Hundred Years’ War, showcasing the military prowess of the English and marking a critical turning point in the conflict.
  3. Explanation: The Marquisate of Saluzzo should not be confused with the Duchy of Saluzzo. While both refer to territories centred around the town of Saluzzo in northern Italy, they represent different levels of political and territorial status. The Marquisate of Saluzzo refers to a historical feudal title and jurisdiction held by the rulers of Saluzzo. It was a medieval territory ruled by the Marquises of Saluzzo, who were vassals of various larger powers in the region, such as the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Savoy. The Marquisate of Saluzzo existed from the 12th century until the early 16th century.

    On the other hand, the Duchy of Saluzzo refers to a higher level of political authority and rank. It was a title bestowed upon the rulers of Saluzzo, elevating them to the status of dukes. The elevation to a duchy typically signified a higher level of autonomy and prestige compared to a marquisate. The Duchy of Saluzzo was created in 1588 by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, who granted the title of Duke of Saluzzo to his cousin, Michele Antonio. The duchy continued to exist as a semi-autonomous territory under the authority of the House of Savoy until it was formally annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1801. Put simply, the Marquisate of Saluzzo refers to a feudal title and jurisdiction, while the Duchy of Saluzzo represents a higher level of political authority and recognition.

  4. Source: Dawson, Frank Griffith (1983), p. 702, “William Pitt’s Settlement at Black River on the Mosquito Shore: A Challenge to Spain in Central America, 1732-87”The Hispanic American Historical Review, 63 (4). Cited at:
  5. Source: Ibid. p. 706. Cited at:
  6. Source: Loyal Cowles, “The failure to restrain Russia: Canning, Nesselrode, and the Greek question, 1825–1827.” International History Review 12.4 (1990): 688–720. Cited at:
  7. Source: “Internet History Sourcebooks” Cited at:
  8. Source: Ibid.
  9. Source: Ibid.
  10. Source: Ibid.
  11. Source: C. M. Woodhouse, The battle of Navarino (Hodder and Stoughton, 1965). Cited at:
  12. Source: Alexander Bitis, Russia and the Eastern question: army, government and society, 1815-1833 (Oxford University Press, 2006). Cited at:
  13. Sources: [1] Konstantopoulou Photeine, The foundation of the modern Greek state: Major treaties and conventions, 1830–1947 (1999), and [2] Mitev, Plamen; Parvev, Ivan; Baramova, Maria; Racheva, Vania (2010), Empires and Peninsulas: Southeastern Europe between Karlowitz and the Peace of Adrianople, 1699–1829ISBN 978-3-643-10611-7. Cited at:
  14. Note: also called the First Treaty of London, the Convention of 1839, the Treaty of Separation, the Quintuple Treaty of 1839, or the Treaty of the XXIV articles. Cited at:
  15. Source: Eric Van Hooydonk (2006). “Chapter 15”. In Aldo E. Chircop; O. Lindén (eds.). Places of Refuge: The Belgian Experience. Places of Refuge for Ships: Emerging Environmental Concerns of a Maritime Custom. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff. p. 417. ISBN 9789004149526. Cited at:
  16. Source: Eric Van Hooydonk (2006). “Chapter 15”. In Aldo E. Chircop; O. Lindén (eds.). Places of Refuge: The Belgian Experience. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff. p. 417. ISBN 9789004149526. Cited at:
  17. Source: J. Weller, Wellington at Waterloo (London 1967), p. 30. Cited at:
  18. Source: D. Richards Modern Europe (London 1964), pp. 86–7. Cited at:
  19. Source: H A L Fisher, A History of Europe (London 1936) p. 891. Cited at:
  20. Source: E. Halevy, The Triumph of Reform (London 1961), p. 73. Cited at:
  21. Source: G. M. Trevelyan, British History in the 19th Century (London 1922), p. 233. Cited at:
  22. Source: D. Richards Modern Europe (London 1964), p. 88–89. Cited at:
  23. Source: E. Halevy, The Triumph of Reform (London 1961), p. 254. Cited at:
  24. Sources: [1] E. H. Kossmann, The Low Countries, 1780–1940 (1978), pp. 151–154 and [2] Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763–1848 (1994), pp. 671–691. Cited at:
  25. Source: Geoffrey G. Butler, Simon Maccoby, The Development of International Law, p. 440 Cited at:
  26. Source: Christos L. Rozakis (1987). The Turkish Straits. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 24–25. Cited at:
  27. Source: Taken from the original text of this treaty. Cited at:
  28. Source: Straits Convention. Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 – via HighBeam Research.

    Cited at:

  29. Source: Ibid.
  30. Source: Ibid.
  31. Source:  H.R.C. Wright, “The Anglo-Dutch Dispute in the East, 1814-1824.” Economic History Review 3.2 (1950): 229-239 online. Cited at:
  32. Source: Lyman, Robert (2006). p. 8. Iraq 1941: The Battles for Basra, Habbaniya, Fallujah and Baghdad. Campaign. Oxford, New York: Osprey Publishing. pp. 96ISBN 1-84176-991-6. Cited at:
  33. Source: Time, 14 July 1930. Cited at:
  34. Sources: [1] Lyman as above, and [2] Peretz, Don (2004) [1963]. The Middle East Today. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-027594-576-3. Cited at:
  35. Sources: [1] Churchill, Winston (1950), p.224. The Second World War, Volume III, The Grand Alliance. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, and [2] Peretz, Don (2004) [1963]. The Middle East Today. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-027594-576-3. Cited at:
  36. Source: Peretz as above. Cited at:
  37. Source: Ibid.
  38. Source: John Maurer, and Christopher Bell, eds. At the crossroads between peace and war: the London Naval Conference in 1930 (Naval Institute Press, 2014). Cited at:
  39. Source: League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 112, pp. 66–96. Cited at:
  40. Note: Lithuanian authorities regarded Polish rule over the Vilnius Region as a military occupation of its constitutional capital. Cited at:
  41. Source: S. A. H., “Bulgaria and the Balkan Entente”, Bulletin of International News, 15, 16 (1938), 4. Cited at:
  42. Source: Leon Romaniecki, “The Soviet Union and International Terrorism“, Soviet Studies, 26, 3 (1974), 420. Cited at:
  43. Source: P. Zadeikis, “An Aspect of the Lithuanian Record of Independence”, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 232 (1944), 50. Cited at:
  44. Sources: [1] League of Nations Assembly resolution of December 14, 1939, expelling the Soviet government, and [2] League of Nations Council resolution of December 14, 1939, expelling the Soviet government Cited at:
  45. Source: UN Cumulative Treaty Index Cited at:
  46. Source: Statute of the Council of Europe as registered with the UN Cited at:
  47. Sources: [1] UN Cumulative Treaty Index and [2] Statute of the Council of Europe as registered with the UN Cited at:
  48. Sources: [1] EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Council adopts decision on the signing”. Consilium. 29 December 2020, and [2]

    “Notice concerning the provisional application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information and of the Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Atomic Energy Community for Cooperation on the Safe and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy”. Official Journal of the European Union. 31 December 2020. Cited at:

  49. Note: The EU–UK Partnership Council decided, at the EU’s request, to extend the provisional application of the agreement until 30 April 2021″. Cited at:
  50. Source: “Johnson’s Brexit Deal Clears Parliament With Only Hours to Spare”. Bloomberg. 30 December 2020.  Cited at:
  51. Source: “EU–UK trade and cooperation agreement: Council adopts the decision on the conclusion”. 29 April 2021. Cited at:
  52. Source: “UK and EU agree Brexit trade deal”. The Guardian. 24 December 2020. Cited at:
  53. Source: “The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Contents. Chapter 11: Implementation, application, supervision and enforcement, and other provisions (Articles 12, 13, 16, 17 and 19)”. British Parliament.  Cited at:
  54. Source: “EUR-Lex – L:2021:149:TOC – EN – EUR-Lex”. Cited at:
  55. Source: “EUR-Lex – L:2021:150:TOC – EN – EUR-Lex”. Cited at:
  56. Explanation: King Stephen, also known as Stephen of Blois, was an English king who reigned from 1135 to 1154. He was born in 1096 and was the son of Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela of Normandy. Stephen was a grandson of William the Conqueror and a nephew of King Henry I of England. Upon the death of Henry I in 1135, Stephen claimed the English throne, contending against his cousin, Matilda (also known as Empress Matilda or Maud), who was the daughter of Henry I. This led to a period of civil war and political instability in England known as The Anarchy. Stephen’s reign was marked by conflicts and power struggles with various factions, including supporters of Matilda and rebellious barons. His rule faced challenges, and the kingdom experienced considerable unrest during this time. Ultimately, Stephen’s reign ended with a settlement known as the Treaty of Winchester (1153), which recognised Henry Plantagenet (the son of Matilda) as Stephen’s heir. Henry Plantagenet would later become King Henry II of England after Stephen’s death in 1154. Stephen’s reign and the conflicts surrounding his claim to the throne were significant events in English history and played a role in shaping the future trajectory of the monarchy and the nation.


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