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Treaty of Tordesillas

Treaty of Tordesillas
Image Treaty of Tordesillas

The precedent to the Treaty of Tordesillas was the Treaty of Alcaçovas that was signed by the Portuguese and Castilian Crowns in 1479. The above-mentioned Treaty put an end to the succession war caused after the king Henry IV died by the succession to the Castilian throne between Isabel la Católica and Juana la Beltraneja. Besides, it gave out navigation rights and the Atlantic Ocean conquest. According to this Treaty, the Castilian kingdom, as well as Canary Islands would be for Isabel and Fernando, whereas Madeira, Porto Santo, Azores and Cape Verde Islands, as well as conquest rights of Fez kingdom and navigation rights to the south of Canary Islands parallel would be for Portugal.

Constantly, many incidents endanger the peace achieved in Alcaçovas. Multiple incidents put constant in danger the peace obtained in Alcaçovas. Problems intensify when Juan II of Portugal, after receiving Cristobal Colón in Valparaíso, in 1493, when he returned from his first travel victoriously, warns him that if the territories he had just discovered, were situated to the south of the parallel of Canary Islands, they would belong to Portugal as stipulated in Alcaçovas Treaty.

The conflict had broken out between both powers. The portuguese kingdom tried the parallel of Canary Islands served as border for both kingdoms' conquests. Catholic Monarchs reject this aim and they try Juan II took África and leave new Castilian territories for Castilian kingdom. This attempt carried out by Castilian monarchs is specified in the three rumours' enactment (1493) made by Pope Alejandro VI: "I Inter Caeteras" stablishes that all territories Colón discovered and the ones to be discovered in future will be for Castile; "II Inter Caeteras", it is altered the meaning of the first one and it is set a 100 leagues line to the west of Azores and Cape Verde that marks maritime and terrestrial control of Castile; " Eximiae devotiones" The second one is not mentioned at all and what is shown in the first one, is ratified. At the same time, the dominions assigned to castilian people are increased.

The strength Juan II showed when he rejected these solutions as well as both kingdoms' sincere wish not to begin again a new war together with the Catholic Monarchs' uncertainty to Ocean secrets and the threat made by Carlos VIII of France against the Pope, caused a large group of contacts and negotiations carried out in 1494 in Tordesillas.

The Treaties of Tordesillas
Image The Treaties of Tordesillas

On June 7, 1494, Castile and Portugal signed a treaty in Tordesillas. This treaty divided the Atlantic Ocean by means of a "line" drawn from pole to pole, 370 leagues to the west side of Cape Verde Islands, so that the eastern hemisphere was for the Portuguese Crown and the western hemisphere for Castilian Crown.

Thus, the Catholic Monarchs and Juan II of Portugal agreed about what conquests they could carry out in the world that had just been discovered.

This Ocean division Treaty shows a great novelty: a border dividing both the sea and the earth is established for the first time. Besides, that means a new territory division conception that will determine South America current configuration.

The same day, also in Tordesillas, both powers signed another treaty that solved the disputes both kingdoms had been maintaining all along about african territories and interests. Besides, it not only accounted for the oceanic treaty but also complemented it.

According to the African Treaty, the portuguese and castilian kingdoms divided Fez for future conquests; they also regulated fishing and navigation rights through african atlantic coasts with the result that Castile made sure of Melilla and Cazaza territories and also fishing to Cape Bojador, as well as attacks operations on these territories, from Bojador to Río de Oro. The African agreement will be very valuable for Castile since hardly two years ago, the Catholic Monarchs had concluded the Reconquest with Granada anexation. That agreement carried out with Portugal delimited the area for future conquest and expansion of hispanic cristianism against Islam in North Africa, which was a priority aim of Spanish monarchy.

The final act of negotiations was carried out without the kings' presence, who had delegated their powers to attorneys sent by kings and Republics to congresses or states having full powers and competences to conclude and deal with peace and other interests. Three each nation. On the part of Portugal: Ruy de Sousa, his son Juan de Sousa and the lawyer Aires Dalmada and Esteban Vaéz attends as solicitor. On the part of Castile: Don Enrique Enríquez, Don Gutierrez de Cárdenas and the Doctor Rodrigo Maldonado. Fernando Álvarez de Toledo acts as solicitor.

The Catholic Kings had finished the reconquest two years ago and they had no any lands in Africa.

Although the agreements that were signed on June 7 were firm because attorneys had full powers, both parts decided to take a reasonable time so that they were ratified by its respective monarchs: 50 days for the African Treaty and 100 days for the Oceanic Treaty since it was necessary a wait in order to know what castilian boats navigating through the Atlantic Ocean had discovered until June, 20th. The Catholic Monarchs ratified the treaty in Arévalo and Juan II in Setúbal.