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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) In the Roman Empire and then in Byzantium and other states of Europe in the Middle Ages (the empires of the Carolingians, Bulgaria, Poland, etc.), compulsory state cartage duty (the supply of draft animals for state transportation). In Byzantium and Bulgaria in the 13th and 14th centuries, angary also included some other duties to the state (the building of roads, bridges, and fortresses).

(2) In Byzantium, feudal Italy, and some other European countries, angary was often used to designate the corvee and other labor obligations to the landowners.

(3) In international law, angary means the right of belligerent states to seize the merchant vessels of neutral countries that happen to be in their ports and use them for warfare (transporting troops, weapons, equipment, and so forth). In the 17th century the maritime powers began to conclude treaties abrogating the right of angary. The first such treaty was concluded in 1645 between France and Denmark; subsequently, analogous treaties were made by the majority of maritime powers. On the basis of the treaties concerning angary, a common standard of international law prohibiting angary was formed in the 19th century. In defining the legal position of neutral states in time of war, the Hague Conventions of 1907 declared angary to be one of the flagrant violations of neutrality. Nevertheless, during World War I, the belligerent sides resorted to angary. Thus, in March 1918 the USA and Britain requisitioned all Dutch ships in their ports in spite of a categorical protest from the Dutch government. The USA also requisitioned a number of Norwegian vessels.

During World War II, angary was widely practiced by the imperialist states. As early as June 1941—that is, before entering World War II—the USA passed a law giving the president the right to forced use, with compensation, of foreign merchant vessels “idling” in American ports.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.