Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 648 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SPHERES OF INFLUENCE. " Spheres of influence," " spheres of action," " spheres of interest," " zones of influence," " field of operations," " Machtsphare," " Interes,.en-DeNnklona. sphare," are phrases in international law which have come into use to describe regions as to which nations have agreed that one or more of them shall have exclusive liberty of action. These phrases became common after 1882, when the ' " scramble for Africa " began, to describe diplomatic arrangements with respect to it. Some definitions may be quoted—when secretary of state for the colonies, Lord Knutsford, replying to a deputation in 189o, said: " `Sphere of action ' is a term I do not wish to define now; but it amounts to this: we should not allow the Portuguese, Germans, or any foreign nation or republic to settle down and annex the territory (quoted in Keane's Compendium of Geography, i. 21). " The term ` sphere of influence ' implies an engagement between two states that one of them will abstain from interfering or exercising influences within certain territories which, as between the contracting parties, are reserved for the operation of the other " (Ilbert, Government of India, 2nd ed., p. 370). " Inter ` Interessensphare' oder ` Machtsphare' versteht man namlich das auf Grund von Vereinbarungen unter den betheiligten Kolonialstaaten abgegrenzte Gebiet, innerhalb dessen ein Staat ausschliesslich berechtigt ist, seine koloniale Herrschaft durch Besitzergreifung oder Abschluss von Protectoratsvertragen zu begrunden, oder doch einen fur die in diesem Gebiete vorhandenen Volkerschaften massgebenden politischen Einfluss auszuuben " (Stengel, Die deutschen Schutzgebiete, p. 18). " The term ` sphere of influence or sphere of interest ' has been given an extended meaning by recent developments. Formerly it was used to signify a region wherein a nation, through its citizens, had acquired commercial or industrial interests without having asserted any political protectorate or suzerainty. To-day, as used in China and elsewhere, the term applies rather to a region pre-empted for further exploitation and possibly for political control " (Dr Reinisch's Politics, pp. 6o, 61). " A portion of a non-Christian or uncivilized country which is the subject of diplomatic arrangements between European states, but has not yet developed into a protectorate " (Jenkyn's British Rule and Jurisdiction beyond the Seas),. See also Hall, 6th ed., 129. The reasons for making these arrangements are to be explained partly by reference to the history of international law as to occupation. The Roman jurists recognized certain " natural modes " of acquiring property, in particular traditio and occupato. The doctrines which the Roman jurists had worked

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