Line of Demarcation (1493)

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Line of Demarcation (1493)

Line of Demarcation (1493), papal donation of temporal authority in the Indies to the Spanish crown. Following the successful completion of Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the New World, Pope Alexander VI (a Spaniard) extended to the crown of Castile by a series of bulls (May-September 1493) dominion over all those lands and peoples to the west of a meridian that were not already under the control of another Christian prince. The line ran roughly 100 leagues west of the Azore or Cape Verde Islands. Other western European seafaring nations, especially England and France, questioned the claims: Francis I purportedly asked to be shown the clause in Adam's will excluding the French from a share in the newly discovered lands; the English outright rejected papal authority in the matter; and the Portuguese demanded bilateral discussions with the Spanish to redraw the boundary, which resulted in the Treaty of Tordesillas.

See alsoTordesillas, Treaty of (1494) .


C. H. Haring, The Spanish Empire in America (1963).

Lyle N. McAlister, Spain and Portugal in the New World: 1492–1700 (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Bernand, Carmen. Descubrimiento, conquista y colonización de América a quinientos años. México: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994.

Elliott, John Huxtable. Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492–1830. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.

Fernández-Armesto, Felipe. The Americas: A Hemispheric History. New York: Modern Library, 2003.

Kamen, Henry. Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, 1492–1763. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

                                    Noble David Cook