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Proto diplomacy refers to the earliest forms of diplomacy practiced by ancient civilisations before the development of modern diplomatic methods. In these early societies, communication and negotiation between different groups were often conducted through the exchange of gifts, marriage alliances, and other forms of informal diplomacy.
One of the earliest examples of proto diplomacy can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, where city-states would send envoys to each other to negotiate treaties and alliances. In ancient Egypt, diplomacy was often conducted through the exchange of embassies and gifts, while in ancient China, the practice of ‘tributary diplomacy’ involved the exchange of gifts and tribute between the emperor and neighboring states.
Proto diplomacy also played an important role in the interactions between indigenous societies and early European explorers and colonisers. In many cases, early contact was marked by trade, gift-giving, and attempts to establish peaceful relationships.