Treaty of Tordesillas (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Treaty of Tordesillas gives papal authority for the division of New World possessions between Spain and Portugal.
Summary of Event
When Christopher Columbus returned to Europe from his first voyage to the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal began to dispute which nation had jurisdiction over the new lands. King John II of Portugal claimed that earlier papal bulls had donated any discoveries to his domains. Ferdinand and Isabella sought mediation by the current pope, Alexander VI, who issued a series of bulls favorable to Spain in 1493. When Portugal refused to accept them, the two government negotiated the treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, which gave both nations a sphere of discovery and colonization. More importantly, the papal bulls and treaty also provided Spain with a religious rationale for its conquest and colonization of the New World.
On March 5, 1493, Columbus arrived at Lisbon on his return voyage, and King John invited the admiral to visit the Portuguese court. Columbus did so on March 9, and described his discoveries. King John raised the possibility that the islands lay within jurisdiction of Guinea, accorded to Portugal by both papal charters and its agreement with Castile in the treaty of Alcaçovas. These documents gave Portugal dominion over the Azores, Madeira, and discoveries of non-Christian lands south of the Canaries in Africa. The papal bull Inter Caetera (1456)...
(The entire section is 1614 words.)
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