Prior to the introduction of Apostille Certificates, the burden on international governments, Courts and businesses to ascertain whether foreign public documents were authentic or not, was quite onerous.
The Hague Convention abolished the requirement of formal legalisation of foreign public documents to prevent these difficult appraisals having to be made.
The Convention reduced all of the formalities of legalisation to the simple delivery of a Certificate in a prescribed form, entitled "Apostille", to be issued by the appropriate government department of any country ratifying the Convention.
Whilst most countries have embraced the Convention, many have still to adopt it.
The Hague Convention's full title, which speaks for itself, is... The CONVENTION ABOLISHING THE REQUIREMENT OF LEGALISATION FOR FOREIGN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS, and was concluded on October 5, 1961.