The History Behind World's First Peace Treaty

The earliest known peace treaty that is still kept preserved was made in 1271 BC and it was signed by the Egyptian pharaoh, Ramses II(Ramses The Great) and Hattusilis III, King Het. Two copies of the agreement were made in which one of them in hieroglyphs while the other is in the Akkadian language.

In this treaty, both sides not only agreed to stop the endless wars between Egypt and Hatti(now known as Turkey) that have been going on for many years. The peace treaty also marks the pact agreement in case there were any foreign intrusions as well as rebellious extradition.

The peace managed to sustain for 40 years before the fall of the Hittite Empire.

Historic Discovery

On the walls of the Karnak temple in Luxor, Egypt, and the temple of the Pharoah, Ramesses II in Thebes, there have been drawings that pictured the warfighting the Great Khatti King and not to mention the peace treaty that they forged.

The hieroglyphs writing known long ago was first translated by Jean-François Champollion in the early 19th century which triggers new interest among the western ancient Egyptians. In 1858, it was identified that the Great King Khatti was a Het that ruled in Anatolia (known as Turkey today).

8 years later in 1906, a German archeologist, Hugo Winckler found and dug the capital city of Hittite, Hattusa in the rubbles of the Boğazkale fortress in Turkey. In what's left of the huge palace, they found 10,000 clay tablets written in cuneiform that documented many diplomatic activities of the Het people.

On top of that, this finding also found 3 tablets where the written agreement exactly matched 
the text found on the walls of the Egyptian temple.

Kadesh Peace Treaty

The peace treaty between the  Egyptians and Het was also known as the Kadesh Treaty and it is known to be the first peace treaty ever recorded in the world. Not just that but it is also one of the ancient treaties of the East in which both versions are still being kept in good condition to this day.

This treaty was signed to end the long feud between the Hittite Empire with the Egyptians who have fought for more than 2 centuries to gain power over the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The conflict escalated with the attempt of intrusion by the Het into the city of Kadesh(now known as Syria) in Egypt in 1274 BC which ultimately failed.  The Kadesh Battle has resulted in big sacrifices between both sides but one thing can be said is that both did not claim victory.

The fighting went on conclusively for 15 years before the treaty was officially signed. Despite the whole thing being known as the Kadesh Treaty, it has been long signed after the war and in fact, the term "Kadesh" is not stated in the text of the treaty.

Its Importance Towards History

This treaty was assumed to be negotiated by an intermediary without the personal confrontation between the two kings. Both sides have their own self-interest in maintaining the truce.

The Egyptians are constantly being threatened by the Sea Men whereas the Het people worry about the increase in the power of Assyria in the East.

The treaty was verified in the 21st year of Ramesses II's rule in 1258 BC and it has kept in force until the fall of the Hittite Empire to Assyria almost 1 century later. The peace treaty between Ramesses II and Ḫattušili was thought to be outstanding considering that nothing official was stated clearly in the agreement.

Unlike the modern agreements, this treaty was separated into several categories and every side swore an oath towards peace and brotherhood towards one another objectively.

They all agreed that they will not have any act of aggression toward another, and will send any political fugitives and even criminals or anyone who dares to get in the way against the enemies.

After forming the pact with Hatti, Ramesses starts to focus more on the wealth and manpower of domestic building projects that created many amazing buildings such as the Great Abu Simbel temple.

There has been proof that Ramesses tried to strengthen the family relationship with the Hatti by marrying a Hittite princess.


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