European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648/Document 04
The Bull Aeterni Regis (Sixtus IV.). June 21, 1481.
This bull is a confirmation by Pope Sixtus IV. of the bulls Romanus pontifex ( 1455) and Inter caetera ( 1456),sanctioning Portugal's claims to exclusive rights in Guinea; and it also includes an important new concession, since it confirms that article in the recently ratified treaty of Alcaçovas whereby the sovereigns of Castile promised not to disturb Portugal in Guinea or in certain of the Atlantic islands or in Morocco. The weight of papal authority was thus brought to bear against any attempt on the part of Castile to evade her agreement.
Such a bull was of particular value to Prince John at this juncture. Appar ently the first bull of this kind issued since the death of the Infante Henry in 1460, it marks the beginning of a new stage in the history of African exploration. The Portuguese government had for a long time ceased to push forward the southern expeditions, but in 1481 they were energetically resumed by Prince John, who, even in the lifetime of his father, was charged with the government of the places in Africa and received the revenues from the Guinea trade. Upon the death of Alfonso in August, 1481, the prince succeeded to the throne under the title of John II., and before the end of the year he despatched an expedition under Diogo d'Azambuja to build the fort at Elmina, on the Gold Coast.
In 1482 he sent ambassadors to urge King Edward IV. of England to prevent his subjects from sailing to Guinea. At about the same time Edward petitioned the Pope to permit Englishmen to trade in any part of Africa.
Text: MS. The original manuscript of the promulgated bull is in the National Archives in Lisbon, Coll. de Bullas, maço 26, no. 10.
Text: Printed. J. Ramos-Coelho, Alguns Documentos ( 1892), PP. 47-55 (from the text inserted in the confirmatory bull of 1514) ; L. M. Jordão, Bullarium Patronatus Portugalliae Regum ( 1868), PP. 47-52.
References: Contemporary and early writings. J. de Barros, Da Asia, I. ( 1778), dec. I., liv. III., cc. 1, 2.
References: Later writings. H. Schäfer, Geschichte von Portugal ( 1836- 1854), III. 148, in Geschichte der Europäschen Staaten (ed. Heeren and Ukert).
Sixtus episcopus, servus servorum Dei. Ad perpetuam rei memoriam.
Eterni Regis dementia, per quam reges regnant, in suprema Sedis Apostolice specula collocati, regum Catholicorum omnium, sub quorum felici gubernaculo Christifideles in justitia et pace foventur, statum et prosperitatem ac quietem et tranquillitatem sinceris desideriis appetimus, et inter illos pacis dulcedinem vigere ferventer exoptamus; ac hiis que per predecessores nostros, Romanos pontifices, et alios propterea provide facta fuisse comperimus, ut firma perpetuo. et illibata permaneant, et ab omni contentionis scrupulo procul existant, apostolice confirmationis robur favorabiliter adhibemus.
Dudum siquidem ad audientiam felicis recordationis Nicolai Pape V., predecessoris nostri, deducto quod quondam Henricus, infans Portugalie, carissimi in Christo filii nostri, Alfonsi Portugalie et Algarbii regnorum regis illustris patruus--
[Here follows the rest of the confirmation of the bulls of January 8, 1455, and of March 13, 1456, Docs. 1 and 2]
Postmodum veto, cum inter prefatum Alfonsum Regem et charissimum in Christo filium nostrum Ferdinandum Castelle et Legionis Regem illustrem, eorumque subditos, humani generis hostis causante versutia, guerre ali quandiu viguissent, tandem, divina operante clementia, ad pacem et con cordiam devenerunt, et pro pace inter ipsos firmanda et stabilienda nonnulla capitula inter se fecerunt, inter que unum capitulum fore dinoscitur hujusmodi tenoris:
"Item voluerunt prefati Rex et Regina Castelle, Aragonie, et Sicilie, et illis placuit, ut ista pax sit firma et stabilis ac semper duratura, [et] pro miserunt ex nunc et in futurum quod nee per se nec per alium, secrete seu publice, nee per suos heredes et successores, turbabunt, molestabunt, nec inquietabunt, de facto vel de jure, in judicio vel extra judicium, dictos dominos Regem et Principem Portugalie nec reges qui in, futurum in dicto regno Portugalie regnabunt nec sua regna, super possessione et quasi possessione, in qua sunt, in omnibus commerciis, terris, et permutationibus sive resignatis Guinee, cum suis mineriis seu aurifodinis, et quibuscunque aliis insulis, littoribus, seu costis maris, terris, detectis seu detegendis, inventis et in veniendis, insulis de la Madera, de Portu Sancto, et Insula Deserta, et omnibus insulis dictis de los Açores, id est, Ancipitrum, et insulis Florum, et etiam insulis de Cabo Verde., id est, Promontorio Viridi, et insulis quas nunc invenit, et quibuscunque insulis que deinceps invenientur aut acquirentur, ab insulis de Canaria ultra et citra et in conspectu Guinee, ita quod quicquid est inventum vel invenietur et acquiretur ultra in dictis terminis, id quod est inventum et detectum remaneat dictis Regi et Principi de Portugallia et suis regnis, exceptis duntaxat insulis de Canaria, Lanzarote, Lapalma, Forte ventura, Lagomera, Ho Fierro, Ha Gratiosa, Ha Gran Canaria, Tanarife, et omnibus aliis insulis de Canaria, acquisitis aut acquirendis, que remanent regnis Castelle; et ita non turbabunt nec molestabunt nec inquietabunt quas cunque personas, que dicta mercimonia et contractus Guinee nec dictas terras et littora aut costas, inventas et inveniendas, nomine aut potentia et manu dictorum dominorum Regis et Principis Portugallie vel suorum successorum tractabunt, negociabuntur, vel acquirent, quocunque titulo, modo, vel manerie quod sit aut esse possit. Immo, per istam presentem, promittunt et assecurant bona fide, sine dolo malo, dictis dominis regi et principi Portugalie et suc cessoribus suis, quod non mittent per se nec per alios nec consentient, immo defendent, quod sine licentia dictorum dominorum regis et principis Portu galie, non vadent ad negociandum dicta commercia et tractus nec in insulis, terris Guinee, inventis vel inveniendis, gentes suas naturales vel subditos in quocunque loco et in quocunque tempore et in quocunque casu, opinato vel inopinato, nec quascunque alias gentes exteras que morarentur in suis regnis et dominiis, vel in suis portubus armarent vel caperent victualia et necessaria ad navigandum, nec dabunt illis aliquam occasionem, favorem, locum, auxilium nec assensum, directe vel indirecte, nec permittant armari nec onerari ad eundum illuc, aliquo modo. Et si aliqui ex naturalibus vel subditis regnorum Castelle vel extranei quicunque sint, irent ad tractandum, impedien dum, damnificandum, depredandum, acquirendum in dicta Guinea et in dictis locis mercimoniorum et permutationum et mineriorum seu aurifodi norum et terris et insulis que sunt invente et in futurum inveniende, sine licentia et expresso consensu dictorum dominorum, regis et principis Portu galie, vel suorum successorum, quod tales sint puniendi eo modo, loco, et forma quod ordinatum est per dictum capitulum istius nove reformationis tractatus pacis, que servabuntur et debent servari in rebus maritimis contra eos qui descendunt in littora, sin[us], et portus ad depredandum, damnifi candum, vel ad male agendum, vel in mari medio dictas res faciant. Preterea, Rex et Regina Castelle et Legionis promiserunt et concesserunt, modo supra dicto, pro se et suis successoribus, ut se non intromittant ad inquirendum et intendendum aliquo modo in conquesta regni de Fez, sicuti se non intro miserunt reges antecessores sui preteriti Castelle, immo libenter dicti domini, rex et princeps Portugalie, et sua regna et sui successores poterunt prosequi dictam conquestam et eam defendant quomodo illis placuerit, et promiserunt et consenserunt in omnibus dicti domini, rex et regina Castelle, nec per se nec per alios, nec in judicio nec extra judicium, nec de facto nec de jure, non movebunt super premissis, nec in parte, nec super re que ad illud pertineat, litem, dubium, questionem, nec aliquam contemptionem, immo, totum pre servabunt, complebunt integre et faciant observari et compleri sine aliquo defectu; et ne im posterum possit allegari ignorantia de vetatione et penis dictarum rerum contractarum, dicti domini miserunt illico justitiis et offi cialibus portuum dictorum suorum regnorum, ut totum quod dictum est servent, compleant, et fideliter exequantur, et mittant ad preconizandum et publicandum in sua curia et in dictis portubus maris eorum supradictorum regnorum et dominiorum, ut id perveniat ad eorum notitiam."
Nos igitur, quibus cura universalis Dominici gregis celitus est commissa, quique ut tenemur inter principes et populos Christianos pacis et quietis suavitatem vigere et perpetuo durare desideramus, cupientes ut littere Nicolai et Calixti, predecessorum hujusmodi, ac preinsertum capitulum necnon omnia et singula in eis contenta, ad Divini Nominis laudem et principum et populorum singulorum regnorum predictorum perpetuam pacem firma perpetuo et illibata permaneant, motu proprio, non ad alicujus nobis super hoc oblate petitionis instantiam, sed de nostra mera liberalitate ac providentia et ex certa scientia, necnon de apostolice potestatis plenitudine, litteras Nicolai et Calixti predecessorum hujusmodi, ac capitulum predicta rata et grata habentes, illa, necnon omnia et singula in eisdem contenta, auctoritate apostolica, tenore presentium approbamus et confirmamus, ac presentis scripti patrocinio communimus, decernentes illa, omnia et singula, plenum firmitatis robur obtinere ac perpetuo observari debere. Et nichilo minus venerabilibus fratribus, Elborensi et Silvensi ac Portugaliensi Episcopis, per apostolica scripta, motu et scientia similibus, mandamus, quatinus ipsi vel duo aut unus eorum, per se vel alium seu alios, singulas litteras ac capitulum predicta, ubi et quando opus fuerit, solemniter publi cantes, ac eisdem Regi et Principi Portugalie eorumque successoribus in omnibus et singulis premissis efficacis defensionis presidio assistentes, non permittant eosdem regem et principem et successores, contra premissa vel eorum aliquod, per quoscunque cujuscunque dignitatis, status, gradus, vel conditionis fuerint, molestari seu etiam impediri, molestatores et impedientes necnon contradictores quoslibet et rebelles, auctoritate nostra per censuram ecclesiasticam et alia juris remedia, appellatione postposita compescendo, non obstantibus, omnibus supradictis, aut si aliquibus, communiter vel divisim, ab Apostolica sit Sede indultum, quod interdici, suspendi, vel excommunicari non possint per litteras apostolicas non facientes plenam et expressam ac de verbo ad verbum de indulto hujusmodi mentionem. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostre confirmationis, approbationis, commu nitionis, constitutionis, et mandati infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Siquis autem hoc attemptare presumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei ac beatorum Petri et Pauli apostolorum ejus se noverit incursurum.
Datum Rome apud Sanctum Petrum, anno Incarnationis Dominice millesimo quadringentesimo octuagesimo primo, undecimo kalendas Julii, pontificatus nostri anno decimo.
Sixtus, bishop, servant of the servants of God. For a perpetual remembrance.
Since, through the Eternal King's clemency, whereby kings reign, we have been placed in the most lofty watchtower of the Apostolic See, we earnestly seek the stability, prosperity, quiet, and tranquility of all Catholic kings, under whose auspicious guidance Christ's faithful ones are cherished in justice and peace, and we fervently desire that sweet peace may thrive among them. Moreover we graciously apply the strengthening power of apostolic confirmation to what we find to have been done with that object by our predecessors, the Roman Popes, and others, in order that it may remain forever firm, unshaken, and far removed from any risk of controversy.
A short while ago, when it was brought to the hearing of our predecessor, Pope Nicholas V, of happy memory, that formerly Henry, the infante of Portugal, uncle of our most dear son in Christ, Alfonso, the illustrious king of the kingdoms of Portugal and Algarve-
[Here follows the confirmation of the bull of January 8, 1455, and the bull of March 13, 1456, Docs. 1 and 2.]
Afterwards, however, when, through the craftiness of the enemy of humankind, war had raged for some time between the aforesaid King Alfonso and our dearest son in Christ, Ferninand, the illustrious king of Castile and Leon, and their subjects, at length through the operation of divine clemency they reached peace and concord, and, for the purpose of strengthening and establishing peace between them, they concluded certain articles, one of which was to the following effect:
"Item, the aforesaid King and Queen of Castile, Aragon, and Sicily, willed and resolved that this peace shall be firm and stable and everlasting, and they promised henceforth and forever that neither directly nor indirectly, neither secretly nor publicly, nor by their heirs and successors, will they disturb, trouble or molest, in fact or in law, in court or out of court, the said king and prince of Portugal or the future sovereigns of Portugal or thier kingdoms in the status of possession or quasi-possession which they hold over all the trade, lands, and barter of Guinea, with its gold mines, or over any other islands, shores, sea coasts, or lands, discovered or to be discovered, found or to be found, or over the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and Desierta, or over all the islands called the Azores, that is, Hawks, and the islands of Flores, nor over the islands of Cape Verde (the Green Cape), nor over the islands already discovered, nor over whatever islands shall be found or acquired from beyond the Canaries, and on this side of and in the vicinity of Guinea, so that whatever has been or shall be found and acquired further in the said limits, shall belong to the said King and Prince of Portugal and to their kingdoms, excepting only the Canary Islands, [namely] Lanzarote, Palma, Forteventura, Gomera, Ferro, Graciosa, Grand Canary, Tenerife, and all the other Canary Islands, acquired or to be acquired, which remain the possession of the kingdoms of Castile. And in like manner they will not disturb, trouble, or molest any persons, whomsoever, who, under any title or in any way or manner whatsoever, shall trade or traffic in or acquire the said merchandise or trade of Guinea, or the said lands, shores or coasts, discovered or to be discovered, in the name or under the authority of the said lords, king and prince of Portugal, or of their successors. On the contrary, by these presents, they do promise and assure, in good faith and without deceit, the said lords, king and prince of Portugal, and their successors, that they will not, of themselves or through others, order or consent, but rather forbid that any of their people, native or subject, in any place or at any time, or in any case, imagined or not imagined, or any other foreign peope who might be within their kingdoms and dominions, or who might be equipped or provisioned in their ports, go to traffic in the said trade, or in the islands or lands of Guinea, discovered or to be discovered, without the permission of the said King and Prince of Portugal. Neither will they give any occassion, favor, opportunity, aid, or consent, direct or indirect, for such trade, nor permit the equipment or freighting of such exeditions for those regions in any manner. And if any of the natives or subjects of the kingdom of Castile, or any foreigners whosoever, shall set about trafficking in , obstructing, injuring, plundering, or acquiring by conquest the said Guinea or its trade, barter, or mines, or the lands and islands, discovered or to be discoveed, without the express license and consent of the said lords, king and prince of Portugal, or their successors, all such shall be punished in the manner, place, and form ordained by the said article of this new revision of the treaties of peace which will and ought to be observed in maritime affairs against those who land upon the shores, bays, or ports in order to plunder, commit depredations, or do evil, or who shall do such things on the high seas.
"Moreover, the King and Queen of Castile and Leon, promised and agreed, in the manner abovesaid, for themselves and for their successors, not to concern themselves to interfere in any manner with the conquest of the kingdom of Fez, just as the former sovereigns of Castile, their predecessors, abstained from meddling with it; but the said lords, king and prince of Portugal, and their kingdoms and successors shall have a free hand to prosecute the said conquest and to defend it as they please. And the said lord and lady, king and queen of Castile, promised and agreed faithfully that, neither of themselves nor by any other, in court or out of court, in fact or in law, will they raise against this agreement, nor any part of it, nor anything that pertains to it, any suit, doubt, question, or any other contention, but that, on the contrary, they will observe and fulfill everything strictly, and will cause it to be observed and fulfilled without any diminution. And in order that in the future ignorance might not be alleged of the prohibition and penalties involved in the said matters, the said king and queen immediately ordered the justices and officials of the ports of their aforesaid kingdoms faithfully to observe, fulfill, and execute everything herein ordained, and to proclaim and publish it in their courts and in the said seaports of their aforesaid kingdoms and dominions, so that it might be universally known."
We, therefore, to whom all the Lord's flock is committed by Heaven, and who, as we are bound, desire sweet peace and tranquility to flourish and endure forever between Christian princes and peoples, earnestly wishing that the letters of Nicholas and of Callixtus, our predecessors, and the article inserted above, and all and singular their contents, may remain stable and unimpaired forever, to the praise of the Divine Name and the lasting peace of the princes and peoples of each of the aforesaid realms; of our own motion not in compliance with any petition offered to us on this subject, but of our spontaneous liberality, foresight, and certain knowledge, and from the plenitude of apostolic power, considering the letters of Nicholas and of Calixtus, our predecessors, the articles aforesaid [i.e The Treaty of Alcáçovas], as valid and acceptable, do by apostolic authority and tenor of these presents, approve and confirm them and everything contained in them and secure them by the protection of this present writing, decreeing that they, all and singular, ought to possess full authority and be observed forever. And moreover, by our apostolic writings and on our motion and knowledge aforesaid, we command our venerable brothers, the bishops of Evora and of Silves and of Portugal, that they themselves, or two or one of them, by himself, or another or others, solemnly publishing each of the aforesaid letters and the article, where and when it shall be necessary, and assisting with efficacious protection the said King and Prince of Portugal and their successors, in all and singular the aforesaid, shall not permit the said king and prince and their successors to be molested or even hindered, contrary to the aforesaid, or any part of it, by anyone of whatsoever rank, position, degree, or condition he may be, restraining in our name all persons soever who obstruct, hinder, oppose, or rebel against the aforesaid, by ecclesiastical censures or other legal remdies, without permitting appeals, all [apostolic constitutions] to the contrary notwithstanding, even though an indult shall have been granted by the Apostolic See to any persons, jointly or singly, declaring them to be exempt from interdiction, suspension, or excommunication by apostolic letters that do not make full and express and verbatim mention of the said indult. Let no one, therefore, infringe or with rash boldness contravene this, our confirmation, approbation, reinforcement, regulation, and mandate. Should anyone presume to do so, be it known to him that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter's on the twenty-first day of June, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord, one thousand, four hundred and eighty-one, in the tenth year of our pontificate.
Jo. De Salos P. De Monte Jo. Horn L. Grifus
- Doc. 1.
- Doc. 2.
- Doc. 3.
- On May 4, 1481, Alfonso V. granted the prince the trade and fisheries of Guinea, and prohibited anyone from going or sending there without license from the prince. Algs. Docs., p. 46.
- Ruy de Pina, Chronica d'El Rei D. Joaõ II., C. 2; cf. Doc. 1, note 4.
- R. Hakluyt, Principal Navigations (ed. 1903- 1905), VI. 122-124; Cal. State Papers, Venice ( 1864), I. 142.
- The text is from the original manuscript of the bull, in the National Archives at Lisbon, Coll. de Bullas, maço 26, no. 10.
- The treaty of Alcaçovas.
- The eighth of the "new articles" of the treaty of Alcaqovas. The Spanish text of this article is printed above, Doc. 3.
- Cf. Doc. 3, note 16.
- The bull of Jan. 8, 1455, Doc. 1.
- The bull of Mar. 13, 1456, Doc. 2.
- The eighth of the " new articles " of the treaty of Alcaçovas, Doc. 3.
- Cf. Doc. 1, note 38.
- In 1481 Garcia Menezes was Bishop of Evora, the capital of the province of Alemtejo. C. Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi, II. ( 1901).
- In June, 1481, João de Mello was Bishop of Silves, the ancient capital of the Moorish kingdom of Algarve. Ibid.
- In 1481 João de Azevedo was Bishop of Oporto. Ibid.
- The rescribendarius. An account of the functions of this and other officers of the papal chancery is given in L. Schmitz- Kallenberg, Practica Cancellariae Apostolicae Saeculi XV. exeuntis (Münster, 1904).
- The computator. This official and the rescribendarius were concerned with the charge made for the instrument. Ibid., pp. 25 ff.
- The sutyitnista or summator, who noted any defects in the instrument. Ibid., pp. 36, 37.
- Leonardo Griffo, bishop of Gubbio, and papal secretary. Ibid., p. 37. The bull is endorsed "Registrata in Camera Apostolica ".