Hugo Grotius, also known as Huig de Groot and in Dutch as Hugo de Groot, was a Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, poet and playwright.
A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was born in Delft and studied at Leiden University. He was imprisoned in Loevestein Castle for his involvement in the intra-Calvinist disputes of the Dutch Republic, but escaped hidden in a chest of books that was transported to Gorinchem. Grotius wrote most of his major works in exile in France.
Hugo Grotius was a major figure in the fields of philosophy, political theory and law during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Along with the earlier works of Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili, he laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law in its Protestant side. Two of his books have had a lasting impact in the field of international law: De jure belli ac pacis [On the Law of War and Peace] dedicated to Louis XIII of France and the Mare Liberum [The Free Seas]. Grotius has also contributed significantly to the evolution of the notion of rights.