Part 3 – The History of Conflicts

The Treaty of Tordesillas (1494).

A Spanish Pope’s Sharing the World.

The territorial limits between Spain and Portugal

In 1494, Pope Alexander VI forced the Spanish and Portuguese to sign the Treaty of Tordesillas, which defined the territorial boundaries between Spain and Portugal: anything discovered west of the meridian (America minus Brazil) would belong to Spain and east (Brazil and Africa), Portugal. Of course, France, England, and the Netherlands were very unhappy with the treaty because they were forbidden to obtain a share of the wealth of the New World.

Here are some excerpts from the treatise:

“Ferdinand and Isabella, by the grace of God, King and Queen of Castile, Leo, Aragon, Sicily, Granada, Toledo, Galicia […]. Thus, his highness, the serene King of Portugal, our beloved brother, sent us his ambassadors and agents […] in order to establish, take note of and agree with us […] on what belongs to both of the ocean that still remains to be discovered.

Their Highnesses wish […] to draw and establish on the said ocean a boundary or a straight line, from pole to pole, namely, from the Arctic pole to the Antarctic pole, which is situated from north to south […] three hundred and seventy leagues from the islands of Cape Verde towards the bridge […]; everything that has been discovered until now or in the future will be discovered by the King of Portugal and his ships, islands and continent, from said line as set forth above, heading towards the rising […] will belong to the King of Portugal and his successors […]

And so, everything that, islands and continent […], is already discovered or will come to be discovered by the King and Queen of Castile and Aragon […], from said line […] going towards the sunset […] will belong to said King and Queen of Castile […].”

The division of the New World between Spanish (left of the meridian) and Portuguese (right of the meridian)

traité de Tordesillas
traité de Tordesillas

The Treaty of Tordesillas, its history.

Signed on 7 June 1494 between the Catholic Kings and John II of Portugal, under the aegis of Pope Alexander VI, then confirmed by Pope Julius II, it established a demarcation line about 2,000 km west of the Cape Verde islands: the known and unknown territories to the east of this line are allocated to Portugal, those to the east to Castile. Sometimes called the “treaty of world distribution”, it came to settle, after the treaties of Alcoçavas (1479) and Toledo (1480), the rivalry between the two countries engaged in the “Great Discoveries”.

On 4 May 1493, Pope Alexander VI Borgia (of Spanish origin), in the Inter Caetera bubble, had fixed the outline of a first “line of marcation” going from one pole to another and passing 100 leagues west of the Azores and Cape Verde. Believing their domain too small, the Portuguese protested and the imaginary line was postponed to 370 leagues.

le pape Alexandre VI
Pope Alexander VI Borgia

Cesar Borgia, jeune, avant de devenir le pape Alexandre VI
César Borgia, before becoming Pope

Pope Alexandre VI was born in Spain

Alexander VI was born in Spain, Xativa, near Valencia. He was sacred bishop at the age of 24, without having ever been a priest, his job before having been that of weapons. As Pope Calixte III was his uncle, Borgia like him, it was easier.

All of this was in the spirit of the time. Even having had five children while being a saint father was not serious. No problem if among these five children (Jean, César, Godefroi, Louis and Lucrèce) there had not been Caesar Borgia. He was his darling. At the age of seven, he made him crowd a protonotary of the papacy, at the age of 17 bishop of Pamplona and Archbishop of Valencia, and at 18 years old.

All historians agree to affirm that Caesar was one of the greatest criminals in the Renaissance. He served as a model for Machiavelli for his prestigious work “Le Prince”, a treaty on art and the way of building a kingdom by leaving his scruples in the locker room.

As soon as Columbus discovered America, Pope Alexander VI of the Borgia family, shared it between his Spanish and Portuguese compatriots, with his famous bubble “Inter Caeterae Divinae”. He had granted his compatriots the kings of Spain the privilege of the right to crowd the bishops of their colonies in America. This had resulted that this coronation was made by their representatives on the spot, men such as the Cortes and Pizarro, bandits of highway which adjusted their accounts with daggers or poison (like the Borgia in Italy). The inculture of this pope and his cynical manners, his ignorance as well as that of the Roman Curia, favored the project of the Portuguese who knew them correctly the maps and the geography of the American continent.

The Treaty of Tordesillas made the South Atlantic into a Portuguese sea,

it ensured in Portugal the control of the route of the Cape but also the free navigation to the west, towards lands suspected of existence. Thus Brazil, discovered by Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500, became Portuguese.

France and England are excluded from this sharing and will retaliate with colonial wars.

The interests of France and England, the other countries bordering the ocean, are not taken into account in this division of the world that they do not accept. So for several centuries colonial wars followed one another.

The precise knowledge of the maritime maps and the American continent by Portugal is explained by the establishment in the Portuguese ports of a part of the fleet of the Order of the Temple after Friday 13 October 1307 and the arrest of the Templars by the King of France Philip the Fair. The other part of the Templar fleet took refuge in Scotland and a group of Templars went to settle in the Andes at Tiahuanaco. He was involved in the development of the Inca Empire and the Great Law that bound the Iroquois nations.

traité de Tordesillas commerce maritime

Denied access to the New World, the sailors of Normandy and Brittany whose elders had participated in the expeditions of the fleet of the Order of the Temple on the American continent (North, South and Central) developed the flibust to attack the Spanish and Portuguese ships that brought the wealth looted in the Americas. The sailors of Holland and England also organized the flibust or became privateers on behalf of their kings.

The Valladolid Controversy (1550-1551)

The Valladolid controversy was a debate between the Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas and the theologian Juan Giné de Sepúlveda in two sessions of one month each (one in 1550 and the other in 1551) at the college San Gregorio de Valladolid, but mainly through correspondence. This debate brought together theologians, jurists and administrators of the kingdom, so that, according to the wish of Charles V, he would treat himself and speak of the manner in which the conquests in the New World were to be made, suspended by him, so that they would be made with justice and security of conscience.

The question was whether the Spaniards could colonize the New World and dominate the natives, the Amerindians, by right of conquest, with the moral justification that could allow to put an end to the ways of life observed in pre-Columbian civilizations, including the institutional practice of human sacrifice, or whether the Amerindian societies were legitimate despite such elements and that only the good example should be promoted through colonization – emigration.

This debate took place under the pontificate of Pope Julius III.

Charles Quint portrait
Charles Quint

It was also a political and religious debate organized in 1550 by Charles V that temporarily halted the colonization of America by the Spanish monarchy. Its purpose was to officially define the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the slavery of the Amerindian peoples.

At this trial, it is made official that the Amerindians have an equal status with the Whites. This decision did not apply to African blacks whose slavery was not disputed: It was also because of the controversy at Valladolid that Europeans were going to practice the black trade to feed the New World into slaves.

source : Françoise Condamin Lhermet.

source: Françoise Condamin Lhermet.

la controverse de Valladolid, image du téléfilm de jean-Daniel Verhaeghe – 1992
The controversy of Valladolid, image of the TV movie of Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe-1992

Recognition of equality of status between whites and Amerindians has not resulted in facts and forced work in the mines continued. The “microbial shock” and epidemics caused by European diseases also largely explains the significant mortality of the Amerindians.

The Requerimiento or formal notice[20][20]Id., « Requerimiento », ibid. ; trad. française de Silvio……. It was developed in 1513 and intended to be read to the Indians at the first contact established with them in order to inform them about the identity and intentions of the Spanish. He put them in notice to recognize the sovereignty of the King of Spain under penalty of reprisals which went from slavery reduction to the confiscation of their goods and even to death. The text, whose syllogistic dimension is in doubt, legitimized all aspects of violence likely to be triggered against the Indians.

amérindiens dans une mine d'or d'Amérique centrale et du sud
Men or cattle in a gold mine of conquistadores.

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