Pirate


Being privately owned and run, privateers did not take orders from the Naval command. The letter of marque of a privateer would typically limit activity to a specific area and to the ships of specific nations. Typically, the owners or captain would be required to post a performance bond against breaching these conditions, or they might be liable to pay damages to an injured party. In the United Kingdom, letters of marque were revoked for various offences.

Conditions on board privateers varied widely. Some crews were treated as harshly as naval crews of the time, while others followed the comparatively relaxed rules of merchant ships. Some crews were made up of professional merchant seamen, others of pirates, debtors, and convicts.

Some privateers ended up becoming pirates, not just in the eyes of their enemies but also of their own nations. William Kidd, for instance, began as a legitimate British privateer but was later hanged for piracy.

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The Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law of 16 April 1856 was issued to abolish privateering. It regulated the relationship between neutral and belligerent and shipping on the high seas introducing new.

England, and later the United Kingdom, used privateers to great effect and suffered much from other nations' privateering. During the 15th century, "piracy became an increasing problem and merchant communities such as Bristol began to resort to self-help, arming and equipping ships at their own expense to protect commerce." These privately owned merchant ships, licensed by the crown, could legitimately take vessels that were deemed pirates. This constituted a "revolution in naval strategy" and helped fill the need for protection that the current administration was unable to provide as it "lacked an institutional structure and coordinated finance."

The increase in competition for crews on armed merchant vessels and privateers was due, in a large part, because of the chance for a considerable payoff. "Whereas a seaman who shipped on a naval vessel was paid a wage and provided with victuals, the mariner on a merchantman or privateer was paid with an agreed share of the takings."This proved to be a far more attractive prospect and privateering flourished as a result.

During Queen Elizabeth's reign, she "encouraged the development of this supplementary navy." Over the course of her rule, she had "allowed Anglo-Spanish relations to deteriorate" to the point where one could argue that a war with the Spanish was inevitable. By using privateers, if the Spanish were to take offense at the plundering of their ships.

Queen Elizabeth could always deny she had anything to do with the actions of such independents. Some of the most famous privateers that later fought in the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) included the Sea Dogs.(wikipedia.org)

War


During conflict, punishment for violating the laws of war may consist of a specific, deliberate and limited violation of the laws of war in reprisal.

Military personnel who break specific provisions of the laws of war lose the protections and status afforded as prisoners of war, but only after facing a "competent tribunal" (GC III Art 5). At that point, they become unlawful combatants but they must still be "treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial".

Because they are still covered by GC IV Art 5. For example in 1976, foreign soldiers fighting for the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) were captured by the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the civil war that broke out when Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975. In the Luanda Trial, after "a regularly constituted court" found them guilty of being mercenaries, three Britons and an American were shot by a firing squad on July 10, 1976. Nine others were imprisoned for terms of 16 to 30 years.

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Spies and terrorists may be subject to civilian law or military tribunal for their acts and in practice have been subjected to torture and/or execution. The laws of war neither approve nor condemn such acts, which fall outside their scope. Spies may only be punished following a trial; if captured after rejoining their own army, they must be treated as prisoners of war.

Suspected terrorists who are captured during an armed conflict, without having participated in the hostilities, may be detained only in accordance with the GC IV and are entitled to a regular trial. However, nations that have signed the UN Convention Against Torture have committed themselves not to use torture on anyone for any reason. Citizens and soldiers of nations which have not signed the Fourth Geneva Convention are also not protected by it (Article 4: "Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not protected by it".),

whether they are spies or terrorists. Also, citizens and soldiers of nations which have not signed and do not abide by the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions are not protected by them. (Common Article 2: "[The High Contracting Parties] shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to [a Power which is not a contracting party], if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof" (emphasis added).)

If someone is (or is suspected to be) a citizen or soldier of a nation which has signed or abides by the Fourth Geneva Convention (see Art. 2 and Art. 4 citations above), or is (or is suspected to be) a "prisoner of war" (POW) per the definitions of such "protected persons" in the Third Geneva Convention (see Art. 4 and Art. 5), the following applies: A POW who breaks specific provisions of the laws of war may be penalized, but not penalized worse than the tribunal would penalize its own soldiers for the same offense (and usually a disciplinary, not judicial,

 punishment if its own soldiers normally wouldn't be brought to trial for a particular offense) and POWs may not be penalized based on rank or gender, nor with corporal punishment, collective punishments for individual acts, lack of daylight, or torture/cruelty (GC IV, Art. 82 through Art. 88).
After a conflict has ended, persons who have committed or ordered any breach of the laws of war, especially atrocities, may be held individually accountable for war crimes through process of law.

Also, nations which signed the Geneva Conventions are required to search for, then try and punish, anyone who has committed or ordered certain "grave breaches" of the laws of war. (see GC III, Art. 129 and Art. 130)

While it can be argued that the victors may be less strict on their own forces, it can also be argued that the signing of the treaties involved in the laws of war implies a good-faith promise to adhere to them equally. As with many facets of war, the aftermath and subsequent legal proceedings depend heavily on circumstance, and are different for each conflict.

There is an emerging trend in the US to hold private corporations civilly liable for aiding and abetting in war crimes, by knowingly providing substantial assistance in the commission of the crimes. Under international law, the mens rea element is knowledge, not intent that the crimes be carried out. This opens the door not only to hold private security contractors liable, but also other kinds of corporations which employ violent mercenary or terrorist groups as private security forces.

Although conflict zones often lack functioning legal systems, and government may even have passed laws immunizing private mercenaries from criminal liability, aiding and abetting a war crime can still be the basis for civil liability in a foreign court with jurisdiction over the defendant corporation.(wikipedia.org)

Empire


Upon the demise of the Turkish Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, precursor of Ottomans, in 1300s, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent, mostly Turkish states, the so-called Ghazi emirates. One of the Ghazi emirates was led by Osman I (1258 – 1326), from which the name Ottoman is derived.

Osman I extended the frontiers of Turkish settlement toward the edge of the Byzantine Empire. It is not well understood how the Osmanli came to dominate their neighbours, as the history of mediaeval Anatolia is still little known.

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In the century after the death of Osman I, Ottoman rule began to extend over the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. Osman's son, Orhan, captured the city of Bursa in 1324 and made it the new capital of the Ottoman state. The fall of Bursa meant the loss of Byzantine control over Northwestern Anatolia.

The important city of Thessaloniki was captured from the Venetians in 1387. The Ottoman victory at Kosovo in 1389 effectively marked the end of Serbian power in the region, paving the way for Ottoman expansion into Europe. The Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, widely regarded as the last large-scale crusade of the Middle Ages, failed to stop the advance of the victorious Ottoman Turks.
With the extension of Turkish dominion into the Balkans, the strategic conquest of Constantinople became a crucial objective.

The Empire controlled nearly all former Byzantine lands surrounding the city, but the Byzantines were temporarily relieved when the Turkish-Mongolian leader Timur invaded Anatolia in the Battle of Ankara in 1402. He took Sultan Bayezid I as a prisoner. The capture of Bayezid I threw the Turks into disorder.

 The state fell into a civil war that lasted from 1402 to 1413, as Bayezid's sons fought over succession. It ended when Mehmet I emerged as the sultan and restored Ottoman power, bringing an end to the Interregnum, also known as the Fetret Devri in Ottoman Turkish.

Part of the Ottoman territories in the Balkans (such as Thessaloniki, Macedonia and Kosovo) were temporarily lost after 1402, but were later recovered by Murad II between the 1430s and 1450s. On 10 November 1444, Murad II defeated the Hungarian, Polish and Wallachian armies under

Władysław III of Poland (also King of Hungary) and János Hunyadi at the Battle of Varna, which was the final battle of the Crusade of Varna. Four years later, János Hunyadi prepared another army (of Hungarian and Wallachian forces) to attack the Turks, but was again defeated by Murad II at the Second Battle of Kosovo in 1448.(wikipedia.org)

Human


he term "humanism" is ambiguous. Around 1806 Humanismus was used to describe the classical curriculum offered by German schools, and by 1836 "humanism" was lent to English in this sense. In 1856, German historian and philologist Georg Voigt used humanism to describe Renaissance humanism, the movement that flourished in the Italian Renaissance to revive classical learning.

a use which won wide acceptance among historians in many nations, especially Italy This historical and literary use of the word "humanist" derives from the 15th-century Italian term umanista, meaning a teacher or scholar of Classical Greek and Latin literature and the ethical philosophy behind it.

But in the mid-18th century, a different use of the term began to emerge. In 1765, the author of an anonymous article in a French Enlightenment periodical spoke of "The general love of humanity ... a virtue hitherto quite nameless among us, and which we will venture to call 'humanism', for the time has come to create a word for such a beautiful and necessary thing".

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The latter part of the 18th and the early 19th centuries saw the creation of numerous grass-roots "philanthropic" and benevolent societies dedicated to human betterment and the spreading of knowledge (some Christian, some not). After the French Revolution, the idea that human virtue could be created by human reason alone independently from traditional religious institutions, attributed by opponents of the Revolution to Enlightenment philosophes such as Rousseau, was violently attacked by influential religious and political conservatives, such as Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre, as a deification or idolatry of man. Humanism began to acquire a negative sense.

The Oxford English Dictionary records the use of the word "humanism" by an English clergyman in 1812 to indicate those who believe in the "mere humanity" (as opposed to the divine nature) of Christ, i.e., Unitarians and Deists. In this polarised atmosphere, in which established ecclesiastical bodies tended to circle the wagons and reflexively oppose political and social reforms like extending the franchise, universal schooling, and the like, liberal reformers and radicals embraced the idea of Humanism as an alternative religion of humanity.

The anarchist Proudhon (best known for declaring that "property is theft") used the word "humanism" to describe a "culte, déification de l’humanité" ("cult, deification of humanity") and Ernest Renan in L’avenir de la science: pensées de 1848 ("The Future of Knowledge: Thoughts on 1848") (1848–49), states: "It is my deep conviction that pure humanism will be the religion of the future, that is, the cult of all that pertains to man—all of life, sanctified and raised to the level of a moral value".

At about the same time, the word "humanism" as a philosophy centred around humankind (as opposed to institutionalised religion) was also being used in Germany by the so-called Left Hegelians, Arnold Ruge, and Karl Marx, who were critical of the close involvement of the church in the repressive German government. There has been a persistent confusion between the several uses of the terms: philosophical humanists look to human-centred antecedents among the Greek philosophers and the great figures of Renaissance history.(wikipedia.org)

Country


In the 14th and 15th centuries, northern-central Italy was divided into a number of warring city-states, the rest of the peninsula being occupied by the larger Papal States and the Kingdom of Sicily, referred to here as Naples.

The strongest among these city-states gradually absorbed the surrounding territories giving birth to the Signorie, regional states often led by merchant families which founded local dynasties. War between the city-states was endemic, and primarily fought by armies of mercenaries known as condottieri, bands of soldiers drawn from around Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland, led largely by Italian captains.

Decades of fighting eventually saw Florence, Milan and Venice emerged as the dominant players that agreed to the Peace of Lodi in 1454, which saw relative calm brought to the region for the first time in centuries. This peace would hold for the next forty years.

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The Renaissance, a period of vigorous revival of the arts and culture, originated in Italy thanks to a number of factors, as the great wealth accumulated by merchant cities, the patronage of its dominant families like the Medici of Florence, and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Conquest of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

The Italian Renaissance peaked in the mid-16th century as foreign invasions plunged the region into the turmoil of the Italian Wars. The ideas and ideals of the Renaissance soon spread into Northern Europe, France, England and much of Europe.

In the meantime, the discovery of the Americas, the new routes to Asia discovered by the Portuguese and the rise of the Ottoman Empire, all factors which eroded the traditional Italian dominance in trade with the East, caused a long economic decline in the peninsula.

Following the Italian Wars (1494 to 1559), ignited by the rivalry between France and Spain, the city-states gradually lost their independence and came under foreign domination, first under Spain (1559 to 1713) and then Austria (1713 to 1796). In 1628-1621, a new outburst of plague claimed about 14% of Italy’s population.

In addition, as the Spanish Empire started to decline in the 17th century, so did its possessions in Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and Milan. In particular, Southern Italy was impoverished and cut off from the mainstream of events in Europe. In the 18th century, as a result of the War of Spanish Succession, Austria replaced Spain as the dominant foreign power, while the House of Savoy emerged as a regional power expanding to Piedmont and Sardinia.

 In the same century, the two-century long decline was interrupted by the economic and state reforms pursued in several states by the ruling élites. During the Napoleonic Wars, northern-central Italy was invaded and reorganized as a new Kingdom of Italy, a client state of the French Empire, while the southern half of the peninsula was administered by Joachim Murat, Napoleon's brother-in-law, who was crowned as King of Naples.

The 1814 Congress of Vienna restored the situation of the late 18th century, but the ideals of the French Revolution could not be eradicated, and soon re-surfaced during the political upheavals that characterized the first part of the 19th century.(wikipedia.org)

Land


After 1945, the Soviet military administration established the five Länder of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

Initially, in 1949, the communists aimed for a unitary state with some degree of decentralisation. Laws were to be made by the central legislature in East Berlin, and the Land authorities were responsible for the implementation of the laws.

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The German Democratic Republic (GDR) quickly developed strong centralist tendencies, but initially operated in this bicameral framework in which the states were represented. The Chamber of States had theoretically the power to introduce bills and to veto laws proposed by the People's Chamber, although another vote in the People's Chamber could overturn such a veto. The Chamber of States never made use of this veto.

According to the Constitution of East Germany, in addition to a Chamber of Deputies (that is, the People's Chamber), a “provisional Land Chamber” was formed. The fifty members of the Land Chamber were to be determined by the assemblies in the various Länder, according to the memberships of these assemblies.

Sachsen sent 13 delegates, Sachsen-Anhalt and Thuringia 10 each, Brandenburg nine, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania seven. East Berlin sent non-voting 13 delegates owing to the city's legal status. (A similar arrangement existed in West Berlin. in which the city's delegates in the Bundesrat had no voting rights.)

In 1952, the East German Länder were abolished. The Chamber of States remained in existence, but became increasingly redundant. Since the Landtagen could no longer meet to elect members of the Chamber of States, the 1954 delegates for each Land were chosen by a special meeting of the District Assemblies (Bezirkstage) of that state.

The members of the Chamber of States elected in 1958 were directly elected by their Bezirkstage. These delegates were appointed as a "suicide squad," raising no objection as the People's Chamber abolished the Chamber of States on 8 December 1958.(wikipedia.org)