Treaty of Tordesillas

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(7 June 1494)

An alliance between Spain and Portugal. It settled disputes about the ownership of lands discovered by Columbus and others. Pope Alexander VI had (1493) approved a line of demarcation stretching between the poles 100 leagues (about 500 km) west of the Cape Verde islands. All to the west was Spanish, to the east Portuguese – an award disregarded by other nations. Portuguese dissatisfaction led to a meeting at Tordesillas in north‐west Spain where it was agreed to move the papal line to 370 leagues (about 1850 km) west of Cape Verde. The pope sanctioned this in 1506. It was modified by the Treaty of Zaragossa (1529), which gave the Moluccas (Spice Islands) to the Portuguese.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) — World History.

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