Definitions for uti possidetis
the basis or principle of a treaty which leaves belligerents mutually in possession of what they have acquired by their arms during the war
a species of interdict granted to one who was in possession of an immovable thing, in order that he might be declared the legal possessor
Uti possidetis is a principle in international law that territory and other property remains with its possessor at the end of a conflict, unless otherwise provided for by treaty; if such a treaty does not include conditions regarding the possession of property and territory taken during the war, then the principle of uti possidetis will prevail. Originating in Roman law, the phrase is derived from the Latin expression uti possidetis, ita possideatis, meaning "may you continue to possess such as you do possess". This principle enables a belligerent party to claim territory that it has acquired by war. In the early 17th century, the term was used by England's James I to state that while he recognized the existence of Spanish authority in those regions of the Western Hemisphere where Spain exercised effective control, he refused to recognize Spanish claims to exclusive possession of all territory west of longitude 46° 37' W under the Treaty of Tordesillas. More recently, the principle has been used in a modified form to establish the frontiers of newly independent states following decolonization, by ensuring that the frontiers followed the original boundaries of the old colonial territories from which they emerged. This use originated in South America in the 19th century with the withdrawal of the Spanish Empire. By declaring that uti possidetis applied, the new states sought to ensure that there was no terra nullius in South America when the Spanish withdrew and to reduce the likelihood of border wars between the newly independent states and the establishment of new European colonies.
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