What are the main ideas of the agreement documents between Columbus and Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The main ideas of the agreement between Christopher Columbus and King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were that Columbus would get power and money if he were able to find any new lands on his voyage.  The monarchs would fund the voyage and any lands discovered would belong to Spain, but Columbus would be rewarded for his efforts.

Explorers of this time expected to get wealth and power in exchange for their efforts.  The agreement acknowledges this.  It says that new lands

will be discovered and acquired by your pains and industry; and therefore it is a just and reasonable thing that since you incur the said danger for our service you should be rewarded for it.

In order to reward Columbus, the monarchs agreed to two main things.

First, Columbus would have power in any lands that he discovered.  They agreed that Columbus would be the “Viceroy and Governor General” in the lands he discovered.  He would get to appoint other officials at least indirectly, submitting three names to the monarchs who would make the final choices.  He would also be named the monarchs’ “admiral.”  His sons would have the right to inherit these titles. 

Second, Columbus was to get money from his discoveries.  He was to get one-tenth of the proceeds of all merchandise taken from the new discoveries sold.  He also had the option to put his own money into voyages and get a proportionate amount of the profits from them.  In these ways, Columbus was to have the opportunity to get both wealth and power from his voyage in 1492.

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