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From early times there has been a strong movement in Latin-American countries to codify their rules relating to international law, both public and private. As regards private international law, a general treaty was elaborated at a congress held at Lima in 1878 and signed by representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, Guatemala and Uruguay adhering somewhat later. This treaty, however, was not ratified by any of the states.

A more successful effort in the same direction took place at a congress which met at Montevideo from August 25th, 1888, to February 18th, 1889, at which Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay were represented. At this Congress various treaties were concluded, one relating to international civil law, consisting of 71 articles, another relating to international commercial law, consisting of 52 articles, a third relating to international criminal law, consisting of 51 articles, and a fourth relating to procedural law, consisting of 16 articles. Contrary to the proposed treaty of Lima, which had adopted the law of nationality, the law of domicil was made at Montevideo the basis of the treaty for the determination of personal rights. The treaties of Montevideo were ratified by and are in force today as between Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Brazil and Chile rejected them because of the principle of domicil.

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