Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Contraband, in international law, such goods as are prohibited to be imported or exported, bought or sold, either by the laws of a particular state or by special treaties; also a term applied to designate that class of commodities which neutrals are not allowed to carry during war to a belligerent power. It is a recognised general principle of the law of nations that ships may sail to and trade with all kingdoms, countries, and states in peace with the countries whose flags they bear, and that they are not to be molested by the ships of any other power at war with the country with which they are trading unless they engage in the conveyance of contraband goods. The question whether certain goods (other than munitions of war as to which there is no question) are or are not contraband is often a very difficult one. Generally speaking, it depends partly on the practice of each nation and partly on stipulations in treaties.