Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty

(1259 BCE)

In 1276 BCE the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II and Emperor Hattusilis III (also called Hattusili) of Hatti concluded the Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty, ending some eighty years of warfare between the two ancient superpowers. Although this was not the first peace treaty in history, the Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty is the oldest known accord between independent states of equal status and power. A bronze replica prominently displayed in the United Nations building in New York reflects its status as a milestone document in diplomatic history.

Among main provisions of the Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty are a peace and nonaggression pact, a mutual defense alliance, and an extradition agreement for the return of fugitives. Most of the clauses are bilateral, meaning that each side had the same rights and responsibilities under the treaty. The one unilateral clause requires the pharaoh to come to the aid of the Hittite king or his rightful heirs if his Hittite subjects should ever...

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Bas-relief of Ramses II (Library of Congress)

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