THE OPEN SEA
202. History of the Freedom of the Open Sea. -- During Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the open sea was theoretically free and common to the use of all mankind,1 though by no means free from depredation by pirates even under the rule of the Roman Empire. But owing to the universal prevalence of piracy and the revival of commerce during the Later Middle Ages, the leading maritime States of Europe claimed territorial jurisdiction over adjacent seas. Thus Venice and Genoa respectively laid claim to the Adriatic and the Ligurian Seas, Portugal regarded herself as sovereign over the whole of the Indian and the southern portion of the Atlantic Ocean, and Spain preferred the modest claim of sovereignty over the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Sweden and Denmark were apparently satisfied with the Baltic and the Arctic regions, but England claimed the Narrow Seas, the North Sea, and the Atlantic from Cape Finisterre in Spain to Stadland in Norway.
These enormous pretentions led to a great controversy 2____________________
Very interesting is the reply of Queen Elizabeth to the Spanish envoy Mendoza who complained (in 1580) of the intrusion of English vessels in East Indian waters. The great queen refused to admit any right of Spain