Tordesillas, Treaty of (1494)

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Tordesillas, Treaty of (1494)

The Treaty of Tordesillas was an agreement between Spain and Portugal that divided administration of their overseas territories. The Papal Donation of Alexander VI in 1493 had conferred to the crown of Castile jurisdiction over newly discovered lands 100 leagues "to the west and south of the so-called Azore and Cape Verde Islands" that were not already under the control of a Christian prince. For reasons still disputed, the Portuguese protested what came to be known as the Line of Demarcation and demanded a meeting to discuss the issue. Negotiators convened at the small town of Tordesillas to the north of Medina del Campo in Spain and reached an agreement that extended Portuguese jurisdiction a full 270 leagues farther west (between 48 and 49 degrees west of Greenwich). The treaty, enacted on 7 June 1494, provided the Portuguese with the legal claim to a large strip of the Brazilian coast, subsequently discovered during the expedition of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500.

See alsoCabral, Pedro Álvares .


Carvalho, Carlos Delgado de. História diplomática do Brasil. Brasília: Senado Federal, 1998.

Davenport, Frances G. European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1917–1937. Repr. The Lawbook Exchange, 2004. See pp. 2, 84-100.

Harrisse, Henry. The Diplomatic History of America: Its First Chapter 1452–1493–1494. London: B.F. Stevens, 1897. See pp. 70-102.

Jornadas Americanistas. El tratado de Tordesillas y su proyección, 2 vols. Valladolid: Universidad de Valladolid, Seminario de Historia de América, 1973.

McAlister, Lyle N. Spain and Portugal in the New World: 1492–1700 Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

                                      Noble David Cook