European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648/Document 01

1. The Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex (Pope Nicholas V.) January 8, 1455.


Columbus, returning from his first voyage to America, was driven by storms into the river Tagus. On March 9, 1493, he was received by the King of Portugal, who "showed that he felt disgusted and grieved because he believed that this discovery [of the lands found by Columbus] was made within the seas and bounds of his lordship of Guinea which was prohibited and likewise because the said Admiral was somewhat raised from his condition and in the account of his affairs always went beyond the bounds of the truth".[1] The king said "that he understood that, in the capitulation[2] between the sovereigns [of Castile] and himself, that conquest [which Columbus had made] belonged to him.[3] The admiral replied that he had not seen the capitulation, nor knew more than that the sovereigns had ordered him not to go either to La Mina[4] or to any other port of Guinea, and that this had been ordered to be proclaimed in all the ports of Andalusia before he sailed".[5] Thus, before Columbus had arrived in Spain, his discoveries in the New World threatened to create an international difficulty. To explain this difficulty it is necessary to consider the earlier history of the conflicting claims of Portugal and Castile to the newly discovered lands.

The first such conflict concerned the Canary Islands, rediscovered in the latter part of the thirteenth century. In 1344, on the ground that he wished to Christianize these islands, Don Luis de la Cerda, admiral of France and great-grandson of Alfonso the Wise, obtained a bull of investiture from Pope Clement VI., and was crowned Prince of Fortunia<ref>The Canary Islands were believed to be the Fortunatae Insulae of the a ncients.</ref> at Avignon. At this time the kings of Portugal and Castile agreed to set aside their own opposing claims to the archipelago and to help Luis in the enterprise to which the Pope had thus lent his support.[6] But Luis never entered into possession, and Portugal and Castile kept up the struggle for the islands. Papal bulls were issued, favorable now to one and now to the other party, and the question of ownership, which was argued before the Council of Basel in 1435, was not finally settled until 1479, when, by the treaty of Alcaqovas, Portugal ceded the islands to Castile.[7]

The second Castilian-Portuguese controversy concerned Africa, where Portugal was following up her conquest of Ceuta ( 1415) by other military expeditions in Morocco, and by sending caravels southward along the western coast and opening up a trade with Guinea. In 1441 slaves and gold-dust were first brought back to Portugal from beyond Cape Bojador. By 1454 trade with that region had greatly developed[8] so that Cadamosto, the Venetian, wrote that "from no traffic in the world could the like [gain] be had".[9]

The kings of Castile, basing their claims on the same grounds that they had employed in respect to the Canaries--possession by their ancestors, the Visigothic kings--asserted their right to the conquest of the lands of Africa[10] and to Guinea and the Guinea trade. They even imposed a tax upon the merchandise brought from those parts.[11]

The Castilian-Portuguese controversy over the Guinea trade began as early as 1454. On April 10 of that year the King of Castile, John II., wrote a letter[12] to the King of Portugal, Alfonso V., containing complaints and demands in respect to the Canaries, and also in respect to the seizure by a Portu­guese captain of an Andalusian vessel which, together with others also belonging to the citizens of Seville and Cadiz, had arrived within a league of Cadiz on its return from a trading voyage to Guinea.[13] The King of Castile, or rather the two ecclesiastics who a few months before had begun their energetic management of his affairs,[14] demanded the restitution of the captured subjects of the Castilian crown and of the caravel and her cargo of Guinea merchandise. At the same time[15] these virtual rulers of Castile sent ambassadors to the King of Portugal to threaten war unless he should desist from the "conquest" of Barbary and of Guinea, which belonged to Castile. The King of Portugal, although greatly vexed, replied with much moderation that it was certain that that "conquest" belonged to him and to the kingdom of Portugal, and urged that the peace should not be broken until the truth as to the proprietorship were ascertained. Before this reply had reached the King of Castile he had fallen ill and he died in July of this year.[16] His successor, Henry IV., a king of weak character, was little fitted to oppose the pretensions of Portugal. Moreover, by August, 1454, he was already engaged in negotiating a marriage with the sister of the Portuguese king.[17]

It is probable that King Alfonso deemed the time especially propitious for a settlement of the dispute over the proprietorship of Morocco, Guinea, and the Guinea trade. In attempting to establish his claims, he would naturally seek aid from the Pope, for that potentate's independent position made him the arbitrator between nations, while his spiritual authority, in particular his powers of excommunication and interdict, gave weight to his decisions.[18] Moreover, as spiritual fathers of all the peoples of the earth, the Popes had long undertaken to regulate the relations--including the commercial relations--between Christians and unbelievers. The Lateran Council of 1179 prohibited the sale to the Saracens of arms, iron, wood to be used in construction, and anything else useful for warfare. Certain later popes prohibited all commerce with the infidels.[19] These prohibitions were, however, tempered by papal licenses to trade, which were on occasion granted to monarchs, communities, or individuals, or by the absolutions sometimes purchased by re­ turning merchants. In order the more readily to obtain these favors, the applicant sometimes pointed out to the Pope how commerce tended to the spread of the Christian faith.[20]

On January 8, 1455, doubtless in accordance with the request of King Alfonso, Nicholas V. issued the bull Romanus pontifex, which marks a definite stage in the colonial history of Portugal. By the bull Rex regum, January 5, 1443, Eugenius IV. had taken neutral ground in the dispute between Portugal and Castile concerning their rights in Africa; by the bull Dum diversas, June 18, 1452, Nicholas V. granted King Alfonso general and indefinite powers to search out and conquer all pagans, enslave them and appropriate their lands and goods.[21] The bull Romanus pontifex, on the other hand, settled the dispute between Portugal and Castile in favor of the former, and, apparently for the first time,[22] granted Portugal exclusive rights in a vast southerly region. It confirmed the bull Dum diversas, specified the district to which it applied--Ceuta, and the district from Capes Bojador and Não through all Guinea, and "beyond towards that southern shore"--and declared that this, together with all other lands acquired by Portugal from the infidels before or after 1452, belonged to King Alfonso, his successors, and Prince Henry, and to no others. It further declared that King Alfonso, his successors, and Prince Henry might make laws or impose restrictions and tribute in regard to these lands and seas, and that they and persons licensed by them might trade there with the infidels, except in the prohibited articles, but that no other Catholics should trade there or enter those seas or harbors under pain of excommunication or interdict.

A grant by Pope Nicholas V. dated Jan. 8, 1450, conceding to Alfonso V. all the territories which Henry had discovered, has been said to be preserved in the National Archives at Lisbon, Coll. de Bullas, maço 32, no. 1, or no. 10. ( Santarem, Prioridade, p. 26, and Azurara, Guinea, ed. Carreira and Santarem, 1841, p. 92, note 1; and, in Beazley and Prestage edition, II. 318, note 67). The editor looked up both these manuscripts and found that one is the executoria of the bull of Jan. 8, 1455 (see below, note 43), and that the other is a bull issued by Paul III. toward the middle of the following century.


Text: MS. The original manuscript of the promulgated bull is in the National Archives in Lisbon, Coll. de Bullas, maço 7, no. 29.

Text: Printed. J. Ramos-Coelho, Alguns Documentos ( 1892), pp. 14-20; L. M. Jordão, Bullarium Patronatus Portugalliae Regum ( 1868), pp. 31-34; J. Dumont, Corps Diplomatique ( 1726-1731), tom. III., pt. I., pp. 200-202; O. Raynaldus (continuing Baronius), Annales Ecclesiastici ( 1747-1756), X. 17-20; and in various bullaria and other works.

Translation: English. William Bollan, Coloniae Anglicanae Illustratae ( 1762), pp. 117-136. Spanish. Boletín del Centro de Estudios Ameri­ canistas de Sevilla, año III., núm. 7 ( March-April, 1915).

References: Contemporary and early writings. Gomes Eannes de Azurara , Conquest of Guinea (trans. and ed. by C. R. Beazley and E. Prestage, Hakluyt Soc., vols. XCV. and C., 1896, 1899); Nunes de Leão (do Liam) , Cronicas dos Reys ( 1780), tom. IV., p. 222; B. de Las Casas , Historia de las Indias ( 1875), tom. I., c. 18, in M. F. de Navarrete et al., Coleccion de Documentos Inéditos para la Historia de España ( 1842-), tom. LXII.

References: Later writings. R. H. Major, Life of Prince Henry ( 1868); H. Schäfer, Geschichte von Portugal ( 1838- 1854), II. 477 ff., and III. 144-148, in Heeren and Ukert, Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten; H. Harrisse, Diplomatic History of America ( 1897), pp. 6, 7; H. Vignaud , Toscanelli and Columbus ( 1903), pp. 58-61; id, Histoire Critique de la Grande Entreprise de Christophe Colomb ( 1911), I. 200- 206; E. G. Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism ( 1901), "Prince Henry the Navigator"; C. R. Beazley, "Prince Henry of Portugal and the African Crusade of the Fifteenth Century", American Historical Review, XVI. 11-23; id., "Prince Henry of Portugal and his Political, Commercial, and Colonizing Work", ibid., XVII. 252-267; J. P. Oliveira Martins , The Golden Age of Prince Henry the Navigator, translated, with additions, by J. J. Abraham and W. E. Reynolds ( 1914). For other references to the period of Prince Henry's voyages, see the "Critical Essay on Authorities" in E. P. Cheyney, European Background of American History ( 1904), in A. B. Hart, The American Nation.


'ROMANUS PONTIFEX' January 8, 1455

Nicolaus episcopus, servus servorum Dei. Ad perpetuam rei memoriam.

Romanus pontifex, regni celestis clavigeri successor et vicarius Jhesu Christi, cuncta mundi climata omniumque nationum in illis degentium qualitates paterna consideratione discutiens, ac salutem querens et appetens singulorum, illa propensa deliberatione salubriter ordinat et disponit que grata Divine Majestati fore conspicit et per que oves sibi divinitus creditas ad unicum ovile dominicum reducat, et acquirat eis felicitatis eterne premium, ac veniam impetret animabus; que eo certius auctore Domino provenire credimus, si condignis favoribus et specialibus gratiis eos Catholicos prosequamur reges et principes, quos, veluti Christiane fidei athletas et intrepidos pugiles, non modo Saracenorum ceterorumque infidelium Christiani nominis inimicorum feritatem reprimere, sed etiam ipsos eorumque regna ac loca, etiam in long­ issimis nobisque incognitis partibus consistentia, pro defensione et augmento fidei hujusmodi debellare, suoque temporali dominio subdere, nullis parcendo laboribus et expensis facti evidentia cognoscimus, ut reges et principes ipsi, sublatis quibusvis dispendiis, ad tam saluberrimum tamque laudabile prose­ quendum opus peramplius animentur. Ad nostrum siquidem nuper, non sine ingenti gaudio et nostre mentis letitia, pervenit auditum, quod dilectus filius nobilis vir, Henricus,[24] infans Portugalie, carissimi in Christo filii nostri Alfonsi[25] Portugalie et Algarbii regnorum regis illustris patruus, inherens vestigiis clare memorie Johannis,[26] dictorum regnorum regis, ejus genitoris, ac zelo salutis animarum et fidei ardore plurimum succensus, tanquam Ca­ tholicus et verus omnium Creatoris Christi miles, ipsiusque fidei acerrimus ac fortissimus defensor et intrepidus pugil, ejusdem Creatoris gloriosissimum nomen per universum terrarum orbem etiam in remotissimis et incognitis locis divulgari, extolli, et venerari, nec non illius ac vivifice qua redempti sumus Crucis inimicos perfidos, Sarracenos videlicet ac quoscunque alios infideles, ad ipsius fidei gremium reduci, ab ejus ineunte etate totis aspirans viribus post Ceptensem[27] civitatem, in Affrica consistentem, per dictum Johannem Regem ejus subactam dominio, et post multa per ipsum infantem nomine tamen dicti regis contra hostes et infideles predictos, quandoque etiam in propria persona, non absque maximis laboribus et expensis, ac rerum et personarum periculis et jactura, plurimorumque naturalium suorum cede, gesta bella, ex tot tantisque laboribus, periculis, et damnis non fractus nec territus, sed ad hujusmodi laudabilis et pii propositi sui prosecutionem in dies magis atque magis exardescens, in occeano mari quasdam solitarias insulas fidelibus populavit, ac fundari et construi inibi fecit ecclesias et alia loca pia, in quibus divina celebrantur officia. Ex dicti quoque infantis laudabili opera et industria, quamplures diversarum in dicto mari existentium insu­ farum incole seu habitatores ad veri Dei cognitionem venientes, sacrum bap­ tisma susceperunt ad ipsius Dei laudem et gloriam, ac plurimorum animarum salutem, orthodoxe quoque fidei propagationem, et divini cultus augmentum.[28] Preterea cum olim ad ipsius infantis pervenisset notitiam, quod nunquam vel saltem a memoria hominum non consuevisset per hujusmodi occeanum mare versus meridionales et orietitales plagas navigari, illudque nobis occiduis adeo foret incognitum, ut nullam de partium illarum gentibus certam notitiam haberemus, credens se maximum in hoc Deo prestare obsequium, si ejus opera et industria mare ipsum usque ad Indos qui Christi nomen colere dicuntur,[29] navigabile fieret, sicque cum eis participare, et illos in Christianorum auxilium adversus Sarracenos et alios hujusmodi fidei hostes commovere posset, ac nonnullos gentiles seu paganos nefandissimi Machometi secta minime infectos populos inibi medio existentes continuo debellare, eisque incognitum sacra­ tissimum Christi nomen predicare ac facere predicari, regia tamen semper auctoritate munitus, a viginti quinque annis, citra exercitum ex dictorum regnorum gentibus, maximis cum laboribus, periculis, et expensis in velo­ cissimis navibus, caravelis[30] nuncupatis, ad perquirendum mare et provincias maritimas versus meridionales partes et polum antarticum, annis singulis fere mittere non cessavit; sicque factum est, ut cum naves hujusmodi quamplures portus, insulas, et maria perlustrassent, et occupassent, ad Guineam pro­ vinciam[31] tandem pervenirent, occupatisque nonnullis insulis, portibus, ac mari eidem provincie adjacentibus, ulterius navigantes ad hostium cujusdam magni fluminis Nili[32] communiter reputati pervenirent, et contra illarum partium populos nomine ipsorum Alfonsi Regis et infantis, per aliquos annos guerra habita extitit, et in illa quamplures inibi vicine insule debellate ac pacifice possesse fuerunt, prout adhuc cum adjacenti mari possidentur. Ex inde quoque multi Guinei et alii nigri vi capti, quidam etiam non prohibitarum rerum permutatione, seu alio legitimo contractu emptionis ad dicta sunt regna transmissi; quorum inibi in copioso numero ad Catholicam fidem conversi extiterunt, speraturque, divina favente clementia, quod si hujusmodi cum eis continuetur progressus, vel populi ipsi ad fidem convertentur, vel saltem multorum ex eis anime Christo lucrifient.[33] Cum autem sicut accepimus, licet rex et infans prefati, qui cum tot tantisque periculis, laboribus, et expensis, nec non perditione tot naturalium regnorum hujusmodi, quorum inibi quam­ plures perierunt, ipsorum naturalium duntaxat freti auxilio provincias illas perlustrari fecerunt ac portus, insulas, et maria hujusmodi acquisiverunt et possederunt, ut prefertur, ut illorum veri domini, timentes ne aliqui cupiditate ducti, ad partes illas navigarent, et operis hujusmodi perfectionem, fructum, et laudem sibi usurpare vel saltem impedire cupientes, propterea seu lucri commodo, aut malitia, ferrum, arma, ligamina,[34] aliasque res et bona ad infideles deferri prohibita portarent, vel transmitterent, aut ipsos infideles navigandi modum edocerent, propter que eis hostes fortiores ac duriores fierent, et hujusmodi prosecutio vel impediretur, vel forsan penitus cessaret, non absque Dei magna offensa et ingenti totius Christianitatis obprobrio, ad obviandum premissis ac pro suorum juris et possessionis conservatione, sub certis tunc expressis gravissimis penis prohibuerint et generaliter statuerint quod nullus, nisi cum suis nautis et navibus et certi tributi solutione obtenta­ que prius desuper expressa ab eodem rege vel infante licentia, ad dictas pro­ vincias navigare aut in earum portibus contractare seu in mari piscari presumeret;[35] tamen successu temporis evenire posset, quod aliorum regno­ rum seu nationum persone, invidia, malitia, aut cupiditate ducti, contra pro­ hibitionem predictam, absque licentia et tributi solutione hujusmodi, ad dictas provincias accedere, et in sic acquisitis provinciis, portibus, insulis, ac mari, navigare, contractare, et piscari presumerent, et exinde inter Alfon­ sum Regem ac infantem, qui nullatenus se in hiis sic deludi paterentur, et presumentes predictos quamplura odia, rancores, dissensiones, guerre, et scandala in maximam Dei offensam et animarum periculum verisimiliter sub­ sequi possent et subsequerentur--Nos, premissa omnia et singula debita meditatione pensantes, ac attendentes quod cum olim prefato Alfonso Regi quoscunque Sarracenos et paganos aliosque Christi inimicos ubicunque con­ stitutos, ac regna, ducatus, principatus, dominia, possessiones, et mobilia ac immobilia bona quecunque per eos detenta ac possessa invadendi, conquirendi, expugnandi, debellandi, et subjugandi, illorumque personas in perpetuam servitutem redigendi, ac regna, ducatus, comitatus, principatus, dominia, possessiones, et bona sibi et successoribus suis applicandi, appropriandi, ac in suos successorumque suorum usus et utilitatem convertendi, aliis nostris litteris[36] plenam et liberam inter cetera concesserimus facultatem, dicte facultatis obtentu idem Atfonsus Rex, seu ejus auctoritate predictus infans, juste et legitime insulas, terras, portus, et maria hujusmodi acquisivit ac possedit et possidet, illaque ad eundem Alfonsum Regem et ipsius successores de jure spectant et pertinent, nec quisvis alius etiam Christifidelis absque ipsorum Alfonsi Regis et successorum suorum licentia speciali de illis se hactenus intromittere licite potuit nec potest quoquomodo, ut ipsi Alfonsus Rex ejusque successores et infans eo ferventius huic tam piissimo ac preclaro et omni evo memoratu dignissimo operi, in quo cum in illo animarum salus, fidei augmentum, et illius hostium depressio procurentur, Dei ipsiusque fidei ac reipublice, universalis ecclesie rem agi conspicimus, insistere valeant et insistant, quo, sublatis quibusvis dispendiis amplioribus, se per nos et Sedem Apostolicam favoribus ac gratiis munitos fore conspexerint, de premissis omnibus et singulis plenissime informati, motu proprio,[37] non ad ipsorum Alfonsi Regis et infantis vel alterius pro eis nobis super hoc oblate petitionis instantiam, maturaque prius desuper deliberatione prehabita, auctoritate apostolica et ex certa scientia, de apostolice potestatis plenitudine, litteras facultatis prefatas, quarum tenores de verbo ad verbum presentibus haberi volumus pro insertis, cum omnibus et singulis in eis contentis clausulis, ad Ceptensem et predicta ac quecunque alia etiam ante data dictarum facultatis litterarum acquisita, et ad ea, que imposterum nomine dictorum Alfonsi regis suorumque successorum et infantis, in ipsis ac illis circumvicinis et ulterioribus ac remotioribus partibus, de infidelium seu paganorum manibus acquiri poterunt provincias, insulas, portus, et maria quecunque extendi et illa sub eisdem facultatis litteris comprehendi, Ipsarumque facultatis et pre­ sentium litterarum vigore jam acquisita et que in futurum acquiri contigerit, postquam acquisita fuerint, ad prefatos regem et successores suos ac infantem, ipsamque conquestam quam a capitibus de Bojador[38] et de Nam[39] usque per totam Guineam et ultra versus illam meridionalem plagam[40] extendi harum serie declaramus etiam ad ipsos Alfonsum Regem et successores suos ac in­ fantem et non ad aliquos alios spectasse et pertinuisse ac imperpetuum spectare et pertinere de jure, Necnon Alfonsum Regem et successores suos ac infantem predictos in illis et circa ea quecunque prohibitiones, statuta, et man­ data, etiam penalia, et cum cujusvis tributi impositione facere, ac de ipsis ut de rebus propriis et aliis ipsorum dominiis disponere et ordinare potuisse ac nunc et in futurum posse libere ac licite tenore presentium decernimus et declaramus. Ac pro potioris juris et cautele suffragio, jam acquisita et que imposterum acquiri contigerit, provincias, insulas, portus, loca, et mana, quecunque, quotcunque, et qualiacunque fuerint, ipsamque conquestam a capitibus de Bojador et de Nom predictis Alfonso Regi et successoribus suis, regibus dictorum regnorum, ac infanti prefatis, perpetuo donamus, con­ cedimus, et appropriamus per presentes. Preterea cum id ad perficiendum opus hujusmodi multipliciter sit oportunum [concedimus] quod Alfonsus Rex et successores ac infans predicti, nec non persone quibus hoc duxerint, seu aliquis eorum duxerit committendum, illius dicto Johanni Regi per felicis recordationis Martinum V., et alterius indultorum etiam inclite memorie Eduardo eorumdem regnorum regi, ejusdem Alfonsi Regis genitori, per pie memorie Eugenium IV., Romanos pontifices, predecessores nostros, conces­ sorum versus dictas partes cum quibusvis Sarracenis et infidelibus, de qui­ buscunque rebus et bonis ac victualibus, emptiones et venditiones prout con­ gruerit facere, nec non quosctinque contractus inire, transigere, pacisci, mercari, ac negociari, et merces quascunque ad ipsorum Sarracenorum et infidelium loca, dummodo ferramenta, ligamina, funes, naves, seu armatura­ rum genera non sint, deferre, et ea dictis Sarracenis et infidelibus vendere, omnia quoque alia et singula in premissis et circa ea oportuna vel necessaria facere, gerere, vel exercere:[41] ipsique Alfonsus Rex, successores, et infans in jam acquisitis et per eum acquirendis provinciis, insulis, ac locis, quascunque ecclesias, monasteria, et alia pia loca fundare ac fundari et construi [curare], nec non quascunque voluntarias personas ecclesiasticas, seculares, quorumvis etiam mendicantium ordinum regulares, de superiorum tamen suorum licentia, ad illa transmittere, ipseque persone inibi etiam quoad vixerint commorari, ac quorumcunque in dictis partibus existentium vel accedentium confessiones audire, illisque auditis in omnibus preterquam sedi predicte reservatis, casibus, debitam absolutionem impendere, ac penitentiam salutarem injungere, nec non ecclesiastica sacramenta ministrare valeant libere ac licite decernimus, ipsique Alfonso et successoribus suis Regibus Portugalie, qui erunt impos­ terum et infanti prefato concedimus et indulgemus; ac universos et singulos Christi fideles ecclesiasticos, seculares, et ordinum quorumcunque regulares, ubilibet per orbem constitutos, cujuscunque status, gradus, ordinis, condi­ tionis, vel preeminentie fuerint, etiamsi archiepiscopali, episcopali, imperiali, regali, reginali, ducali, seu alia quacunque majori ecclesiastica vel mundana dignitate prefulgeant, obsecramus in Domino et per aspersionem sanguinis Domini nostri Jhesu Christi, cujus ut premittitur res agitur, exhortamur, eisque in remissionem suorum peccaminum injungimus, nec non hoc perpetuo prohibitionis edicto districtius inhibemus, ne ad acquisita seu possessa nomine Alfonsi Regis aut in conquesta hujusmodi consistentia provincias, insulas, portus, maria, et loca quecunque seu alias ipsis Sarracenis, infidelibus, vel paganis arma, ferrum, ligamina, aliaque a jure Sarracenis deferri prohibita quoquomodo, vel etiam absque spetiali ipsius Alfonsi Regis et successorum suorum et infantis licentia, merces et alia a jure permissa deferre, aut per maria hujusmodi navigare, seu deferri vel navigari facere, aut in illis piscari, seu de provinciis, insulis, portibus, maribus, et locis, seu aliquibus eorum, aut de conquesta hujusmodi se intromittere, vel aliquid per quod Alfonsus Rex et successores sui et infans predicti quo minus acquisita et possessa pacifice possideant, ac conquestam hujusmodi prosequantur et faciant, per se vel alium seu alios, directe vel indirecte, opere vel consilio, facere, aut impedire quoquo modo presumant. Qui vero contrarium fecerint, ultra penas contra deferentes arma et alia prohibita Sarracenis quibuscunque a jure promulgatas, quas illos incurrere volumus ipso facto, si persone fuerint, singulares excommunicationis sententiam incurrant, si communitas vel uni­ versitas civitatis, castri, ville, seu loci, ipsa civitas, castrum, villa, seu locus interdicto subjaceant eo ipso; nec contrafacientes ipsi vel aliqui eorum ab excommunicationis sententia absolvantur, nec interdicti hujusmodi relaxa­ tionem, apostolica vel alia quavis auctoritate obtinere possint, nisi ipsis Al­ fonso et successoribus suis ac infanti prius pro premissis congrue satisfecerint, aut desuper amicabiliter concordaverint cum eisdem. Mandantes per apos­ tolica scripta venerabilibus fratribus nostris Archiepiscopo Ulixbonensi et Silvensi ac Ceptensi Episcopis,[42] quatenus ipsi vel duo aut unus eorum, per se vel alium seu alios, quotiens pro parte Alfonsi Regis et illius successorum ac infantis predictorum vel alicujus eorum desuper fuerint requisiti, vel aliquis ipsorum fuerit requisitus, illos quos excommunicationis et interdicti senten­ tias hujusmodi incurrisse constiterit, tamdiu dominicis aliisque festivis diebus in ecclesiis, dum inibi major populi multitudo convenerit ad divina, excom­ municatos et interdictos aliisque penis predictis innodatos fuisse et esse, auctoritate apostolica declarent et denuntient; nec non ab aliis nuntiari et ab omnibus arctius evitari faciant, donec pro premissis satisfecerint seu con­ cordaverint, ut prefertur; contradictores per censuram ecclesiasticam, appel­ latione postposita, compescendo, non obstantibus constitutionibus et ordina­ tionibus apostolicis ceterisque contrariis quibuscunque. Ceterum, ne presentes littere, que a nobis de nostra certa scientia et matura desuper deliberatione prebabita emanarunt, ut prefertur, de surreptionis vel obreptionis aut nulli­ tatis vitio a quoquam imposterum valeant impugnari, volumus, et auctoritate, scientia, ac potestate predictis, harum serie decernimus pariter et declaramus, quod dicte littere et in eis contenta de surreptionis, obreptionis, vel nullitatis, etiam ex ordinarie vel alterius cujuscunque potestatis, aut quovis alio defectu, impugnari, illarumque effectus retardari vel impediri nullatenus possint, sed imperpetuum valeant, ac plenam obtineant roboris firmitatem; irritum quoque sit et inane si secus super hiis a quoquam quavis auctoritate, scienter vel ignoranter, contigerit attemptari. Et insuper, quia dificile foret presentes nostras litteras ad quecunque loca deferre, volumus, et dicta auctoritate harum serie decernimus, quod earum transumpto, manu publica et sigillo episcopalis vel alicujus superioris ecclesiastice curie munito, plena fides adhibeatur et perinde stetur, ac si dicte originales littere forent exhibite vel ostense; et excommunicationis alieque sententie in illis contente infra duos menses, computandos a die qua ipse presentes littere seu carte vel membrane earum tenorem in se continentes valvis ecclesie Ulixbonensi affixe fuerint, perinde omnes et singulos contra facientes supradictos ligent, ac si ipse pre­ sentes littere eis personaliter et legitime intimate ac presentate fuissent. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostre declarationis, con­ stitutionis, donationis, concessionis, appropriationis, decreti, obsecrationis, exhortationis, injunctionis, inhibitionis, mandati, et voluntatis infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attemptare presumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei et beatorum Petri et Pauli apostolorum ejus se noverit incursurum. Datum Rome apud Sanctum Petrum, anno Incar­ nationis Dominice millessimo quadringentesimo quinquagesimo quarto,[43] sexto idus Januarii, pontificatus nostri anno octavo.



Nicholas, bishop, servant of the servants of God. For a perpetual re­ membrance.

The Roman Pontiff, successor of the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom and Vicar of Jesus Christ, contemplating with a father's mind all the several climes of the world and the characteristics of all the nations dwelling in them and seeking and desiring the salvation of all, wholesomely ordains and dis­ poses upon careful deliberation those things which he sees will be agreeable to the Divine Majesty and by which he may bring the sheep entrusted to him by God into the single divine fold, and may acquire for them the reward of eternal felicity, and obtain pardon for their souls. This we believe will more certainly come to pass, through the aid of the Lord, if we bestow suitable favors and special graces on those Catholic kings and princes, who, like athletes and intrepid champions of the Christian faith, as we know by the evidence of facts, not only restrain the savage excesses of the Saracens and of other infidels, enemies of the Christian name, but also for the defense and increase of the faith vanquish them and their kingdoms and habitations, though situated in the remotest parts unknown to us, and subject them to their own temporal dominion, sparing no labor and expense, in order that[46] those kings and princes, relieved of all obstacles, may be the more animated to the prosecution of so salutary and laudable a work.

We have lately heard, not without great joy and gratification, how our beloved son, the noble personage Henry, infante of Portugal, uncle of our most dear son in Christ, the illustrious Alfonso, king of the kingdoms of Portugal and Algarve, treading in the footsteps of John, of famous memory, king of the said kingdoms, his father, and greatly inflamed with zeal for the salvation of souls and with fervor of faith, as a Catholic and true soldier of Christ, the Creator of all things, and a most active and courageous defender and intrepid champion of the faith in Him, has aspired from his early youth with his utmost might to cause the most glorious name of the said Creator to be published, extolled, and revered throughout the whole world, even in the most remote and undiscovered places, and also to bring into the bosom of his faith the perfidious enemies of him and of the life-giving Cross by which we have been redeemed, namely the Saracens and all other infidels whatsoever, [and how] after the city of Ceuta, situated in Africa, had been subdued by the said King John to his dominion, and after many wars had been waged, sometimes in person, by the said infante, although in the name of the said King John, against the enemies and infidels aforesaid, not without the greatest labors and expense, and with dangers and loss of life and prop­ erty, and the slaughter of very many of their natural subjects, the said infante being neither enfeebled nor terrified by so many and great labors, dangers, and losses, but growing daily more and more zealous in prosecuting this his so laudable and pious purpose, has peopled with orthodox Christians certain solitary islands in the ocean sea; and has caused churches and other pious places to be there founded and built, in which divine service is cele­ brated. Also by the laudable endeavor and industry of the said infante, very many inhabitants or dwellers in divers islands situated in the said sea, coming to the knowledge of the true God, have received holy baptism, to the praise and glory of God, the salvation of the souls of many, the propagation also of the orthodox faith, and the increase of divine worship.

Moreover, since, some time ago, it had come to the knowledge of the said infante that never, or at least not within the memory of men, had it been customary to sail on this ocean sea toward the southern and eastern shores, and that it was so unknown to us westerners that we had no certain knowl­ edge of the peoples of those parts, believing that he would best perform his duty to God in this matter, if by his effort and industry that sea might become navigable as far as to the Indians who are said to worship the name of Christ, and that thus he might be able to enter into relation with them, and to incite them to aid the Christians against the Saracens and other such enemies of the faith, and might also be able forthwith to subdue certain gentile or pagan peoples, living between, who are entirely free from infection by the sect of the most impious Mahomet, and to preach and cause to be preached to them the unknown but most sacred name of Christ, strengthened, how­ ever, always by the royal authority, he has not ceased for twenty-five years past[47] to send almost yearly an army of the peoples of the said kingdoms, with the greatest labor, danger, and expense, in very swift ships called caravels, to explore the sea and coast lands toward the south and the Ant­ arctic pole. And so it came to pass that when a number of ships of this kind had explored and taken possession of very many harbors, islands, and seas, they at length came to the province of Guinea, and having taken posses­ sion of some islands and harbors and the sea adjacent to that province, sail­ ing farther they came to the mouth of a certain great river commonly sup­ posed to be the Nile, and war was waged for some years against the peoples of those parts in the name of the said King Alfonso and of the infante, and in it very many islands in that neighborhood were subdued and peacefully possessed, as they are still possessed together with the adjacent sea. Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ.

But since, as we are informed, although the king and infante aforesaid (who with so many and so great dangers, labors, and expenses, and also with loss of so many natives of their said kingdoms, very many of whom have perished in those expeditions, depending only upon the aid of those natives, have caused those provinces to be explored and have acquired and possessed such harbors, islands, and seas, as aforesaid, as the true lords of them), fearing lest strangers induced by covetousness should sail to those parts, and desiring to usurp to themselves the perfection, fruit, and praise of this work, or at least to hinder it, should therefore, either for the sake of gain or through malice, carry or transmit iron, arms, wood used for con­ struction, and other things and goods prohibited to be carried to infidels, or should teach those infidels the art of navigation, whereby they would become more powerful and obstinate enemies to the king and infante, and the prosecution of this enterprise would either be hindered, or would perhaps entirely fail, not without great offense to God and great reproach to all Christianity, to prevent this and to conserve their right and possession, [the said king and infante] under certain most severe penalties then expressed, have prohibited and in general have ordained that none, unless with their sailors and ships and on payment of a certain tribute and with an express license previously obtained from the said king or infante, should presume to sail to the said provinces or to trade in their ports or to fish in the sea, [ although the king and infante have taken this action, yet] in time it might happen that persons of other kingdoms or nations, led by envy, malice, or covetousness, might presume, contrary to the prohibition aforesaid, with­ out license and payment of such tribute, to go to the said provinces, and in the provinces, harbors, islands, and sea, so acquired, to sail, trade, and fish; and thereupon between King Alfonso and the infante, who would by no means suffer themselves to be so trifled with in these things, and the pre­ sumptuous persons aforesaid, very many hatreds, rancors, dissensions, wars, and scandals, to the highest offense of God and danger of souls, probably might and would ensue--We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso--to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and pos­ sessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit--by having secured the said faculty, the said King Alfonso, or, by his authority, the aforesaid infante, justly and lawfully has acquired and possessed, and doth possess, these islands, lands, harbors, and seas, and they do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors, nor without special license from King Alfonso and his successors themselves has any other even of the faithful of Christ been entitled hitherto, nor is he by any means now entitled lawfully to meddle therewith--in order that King Alfonso himself and his successors and the infante may be able the more zealously to pursue and may pursue this most pious and noble work, and most worthy of perpetual remembrance (which, since the salvation of souls, increase of the faith, and overthrow of its enemies may be procured thereby, we regard as a work wherein the glory of God, and faith in Him, and His commonwealth, the Universal Church, are concerned) in proportion as they, having been relieved of all the greater obstacles, shall find themselves supported by us and by the Apostolic See with favors and graces--we, being very fully informed of all and singular the premises, do, motu proprio, not at the instance of King Alfonso or the infante, or on the petition of any other offered to us on their behalf in respect to this matter, and after mature deliberation, by apostolic authority, and from certain knowledge, in the fullness of apostolic power, by the tenor of these presents decree and declare that the aforesaid letters of faculty (the tenor whereof we wish to be considered as inserted word for word in these presents, with all and singular the clauses therein contained) are extended to Ceuta and to the aforesaid and all other acquisitions whatsoever, even those acquired before the date of the said letters of faculty, and to all those provinces, islands, harbors, and seas whatsoever, which hereafter, in the name of the said King Alfonso and of his successors and of the infante, in those parts and the adjoining, and in the more distant and remote parts, can be acquired from the hands of infidels or pagans, and that they are com­ prehended under the said letters of faculty. And by force of those and of the present letters of faculty the acquisitions already made, and what hereafter shall happen to be acquired, after they shall have been acquired, we do by the tenor of these presents decree and declare have pertained, and forever of right do belong and pertain, to the aforesaid king and to his successors and to the infante, and that the right of conquest which in the course of these letters we declare to be extended from the capes of Bojador and of Não, as far as through all Guinea, and beyond toward that southern shore,[48] has be­ longed and pertained, and forever of right belongs and pertains, to the said King Alfonso, his successors, and the infante, and not to any others. We also by the tenor of these presents decree and declare that King Alfonso and his successors and the infante aforesaid might and may, now and hence­ forth, freely and lawfully, in these [acquisitions] and concerning them make any prohibitions, statutes, and decrees whatsoever, even penal ones, and with imposition of any tribute, and dispose and ordain concerning them as con­ cerning their own property and their other dominions. And in order to con­ fer a more effectual right and assurance we do by these presents forever give, grant, and appropriate to the aforesaid King Alfonso and his succes­ sors, kings of the said kingdoms, and to the infante, the provinces, islands, harbors, places, and seas whatsoever, how many soever, and of what sort soever they shall be, that have already been acquired and that shall here­ after come to be acquired, and the right of conquest also from the capes of Bojador and of Não aforesaid.

Moreover, since this is fitting in many ways for the perfecting of a work of this kind, we allow that the aforesaid King Alfonso and [his] successors and the infante, as also the persons to whom they, or any one of them, shall think that this work ought to be committed, may (according to the grant made to the said King John by Martin V., of happy memory, and another grant made also to King Edward of illustrious memory, king of the same kingdoms, father of the said King Alfonso, by Eugenius IV., of pious memory, Roman pontiffs, our predecessors) make purchases and sales of any things and goods and victuals whatsoever, as it shall seem fit, with any Saracens and infidels, in the said regions; and also may enter into any contracts, transact business, bargain, buy and negotiate, and carry any com­ modities whatsoever to the places of those Saracens and infidels, provided they be not iron instruments, wood to be used for construction, cordage, ships, or any kinds of armor, and may sell them to the said Saracens and infidels; and also may do, perform, or prosecute all other and singular things [mentioned] in the premises, and things suitable or necessary in relation to these; and that the same King Alfonso, his successors, and the infante, in the provinces, islands, and places already acquired, and to be acquired by him, may found and [cause to be] founded and built any churches, monasteries, or other pious places whatsoever; and also may send over to them any ecclesi­ astical persons whatsoever, as volunteers, both seculars, and regulars of any of the mendicant orders (with license, however, from their superiors), and that those persons may abide there as long as they shall live, and hear con­ fessions of all who live in the said parts or who come thither, and after the confessions have been heard they may give due absolution in all cases, except those reserved to the aforesaid see, and enjoin salutary penance, and also administer the ecclesiastical sacraments freely and lawfully, and this we allow and grant to Alfonso himself, and his successors, the kings of Portugal, who shall come afterwards, and to the aforesaid infante. Moreover, we en­ treat in the Lord, and by the sprinkling of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom, as has been said, it concerneth, we exhort, and as they hope for the remission of their sins enjoin, and also by this perpetual edict of prohibition we more strictly inhibit, all and singular the faithful of Christ, ecclesiastics, seculars, and regulars of whatsoever orders, in whatsoever part of the world they live, and of whatsoever state, degree, order, condition, or pre-eminence they shall be, although endued with archiepiscopal, episcopal, imperial, royal, queenly, ducal, or any other greater ecclesiastical or worldly dignity, that they do not by any means presume to carry arms, iron, wood for construc­ tion, and other things prohibited by law from being in any way carried to the Saracens, to any of the provinces, islands, harbors, seas, and places what­ soever, acquired or possessed in the name of King Alfonso, or situated in this conquest or elsewhere, to the Saracens, infidels, or pagans; or even without special license from the said King Alfonso and his successors and the infante, to carry or cause to be carried merchandise and other things permitted by law, or to navigate or cause to be navigated those seas, or to fish in them, or to meddle with the provinces, islands, harbors, seas, and places, or any of them, or with this conquest, or to do anything by themselves or another or others, directly or indirectly, by deed or counsel, or to offer any obstruction whereby the aforesaid King Alfonso and his successors and the infante may be hindered from quietly enjoying their acquisitions and possessions, and prose­ cuting and carrying out this conquest.

And we decree that whosoever shall infringe these orders [shall incur the following penalties], besides the punishments pronounced by law against those who carry arms and other prohibited things to any of the Saracens, which we wish them to incur by so doing; if they be single persons, they shall incur the sentence of excommunication; if a community or corporation of a city, castle, village, or place, that city, castle, village, or place shall be thereby subject to the interdict; and we decree further that transgressors, collectively or individually, shall not be absolved from the sentence of excommunication, nor be able to obtain the relaxation of this interdict, by apostolic or any other authority, unless they shall first have made due satisfaction for their trans­ gressions to Alfonso himself and his successors and to the infante, or shall have amicably agreed with them thereupon. By [these] apostolic writings we enjoin our venerable brothers, the archbishop of Lisbon, and the bishops of Silves and Ceuta, that they, or two or one of them, by himself, or another or others, as often as they or any of them shall be required on the part of the aforesaid King Alfonso and his successors and the infante or any one of them, on Sundays, and other festival days, in the churches, while a large multitude of people shall assemble there for divine worship, do declare and denounce by apostolic authority that those persons who have been proved to have incurred such sentences of excommunication and interdict, are excom­ municated and interdicted, and have been and are involved in the other pun­ ishments aforesaid. And we decree that they shall also cause them to be denounced by others, and to be strictly avoided by all, till they shall have made satisfaction for or compromised their transgressions as aforesaid. Offenders are to be held in check by ecclesiastical censure, without regard to appeal, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances and all other things whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. But in order that the present letters, which have been issued by us of our certain knowledge and after mature deliberation thereupon, as is aforesaid, may not hereafter be impugned by anyone as fraudulent, secret, or void, we will, and by the authority, knowledge, and power aforementioned, we do likewise by these letters, decree and declare that the said letters and what is contained therein cannot in any wise be im­ pugned, or the effect thereof hindered or obstructed, on account of any defect of fraudulency, secrecy, or nullity, not even from a defect of the ordinary, or of any other authority, or from any other defect, but that they shall be valid forever and shall obtain full authority. And if anyone, by whatever authority, shall, wittingly or unwittingly, attempt anything inconsistent with these orders we decree that his act shall be null and void. Moreover, because it would be difficult to carry our present letters to all places whatsoever, we will, and by the said authority we decree by these letters, that faith shall be given as fully and permanently to copies of them, certified under the hand of a notary public and the seal of the episcopal or any superior ecclesi­ astical court, as if the said original letters were exhibited or shown; and we decree that within two months from the day when these present letters, or the paper or parchment containing the tenor of the same, shall be affixed to the doors of the church at Lisbon, the sentences of excommunication and the other sentences contained therein shall bind all and singular offenders as fully as if these present letters had been made known and presented to them in person and lawfully. Therefore let no one infringe or with rash boldness contravene this our declaration, constitution, gift, grant, appropriation, de­ cree, supplication, exhortation, injunction, inhibition, mandate, and will. But if anyone should 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 Saint Peter's, on the eighth day of January, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord one thousand four hundred and fifty-four, and in the eighth year of our pontificate.


  1. The whole passage from Ruy de Pina, Chronica d'El Rei Dom Joaõ II., in J. F. Corrêa da Serra , Collecçaõ de Livros Ineditos de Historia Portugueza, pub. by the Academia Real das Sciencias, Lisbon, II. 178-179, is translated in a foot-note to the translation of the "Journal of the First Voyage of Columbus", in J. E. Olson and E. G. Bourne , The Northmen, Columbus, and Cabot ( 1906), pp. 255-256, in J. F. Jameson series of Original Narratives of Early American History.
  2. The treaty of Alcaçovas. See below, Doc. 3.
  3. According to Ruy de Pina, "that conquest" was the "islands of Cipango and Antilia". Vignaud points out ( Histoire Critique, I. 368 ff.) that there is no evidence that the Indies were mentioned in this interview, but, as Vander Linden remarks, Columbus placed the island of Cipango in the "sea of the Indies". American Historical Review, XXII. 12, note 30.
  4. Elmina, on the Gold Coast; known also as S. Jorge da Mina, or, in English, St. George of the Mine. In 1482 Diogo d'Azambuja, acting under royal orders, built a fort there to protect Portuguese commerce. J. de Barros, Da Asia, I. ( 1778), dec. I., liv. III., cc. 1, 2. Cf. Doc. 4, introduction.
  5. Journal of the First Voyage of Columbus, in Olson and Bourne, The Northmen, Columbus, and Cabot, p. 254. The royal letter prohibiting Columbus from going to the Mine is in Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages ( 1825-1837), tom. III., no. 11, pp. 483-484.
  6. An incomplete text of the bull and the letters from the kings of Portugal and Castile to the Pope are in Raynaldus, Annales Ecclesiastici, VI. 359-364. The full text of the bull is in C. Cocquelines, Bullarum Collectio, tom. III. ( 1741), pt. II. pp. 296 ff. A French translation (incomplete) is in M. A. P. d'Avezac, Îles de l'Afrique ( 1848), pt. II., pp. 152-153. A facsimile and transliteration of the letter of the King of Portugal to the Pope have been printed by Eugenio do Canto ( Lisbon, 1910). The sermon preached by Clement VI. on the occasion of the appointment of Luis to the lordship of the Canaries is extant, see L. von Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste, I. ( 1901) 91, note. For other references, see Ch. de La Roncière, Histoire de la Marine Française, II. ( 1900), 104-106.
  7. Summaries of the statement of the Bishop of Burgos at the Council of Basel, and of the bull of July 31, 1436, are in Alguns Documentos, pp. 3, 4. The article of the treaty of Alcaçovas by which the Canaries were awarded to Castile is to be found ibid., pp. 44-45, and see Doc. 3, introduction.
  8. Ch. de Lannoy and H. Vander Linden, L'Expansion Coloniale: Portugal et Espagne ( 1907), pp. 43, 44.
  9. Quoted in the introduction to Azurara, Guinea, II. xxii (ed. Beazley and Prestage, Hakluyt Soc., Vol. C., 1899).
  10. Bull of July 31, 1436, Algs. Docs., p. 4; bull of Jan. 5, 1443, ibid., p. 7.
  11. Navarrete, Viages, I. xxxvii-xxxix. Cf. Doc. 3, note 2.
  12. The letter is printed in Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, I. 141-151. A Portuguese translation made from the manuscript of the Historia is in Viscount de Santarem, Quadro Elementar ( 1842- 1876), II. 352-367.
  13. "La tierra que llaman Guinea, que es de nuestra conquista." Las Casas, op. cit., I. 150.
  14. Nunes de Leão (do Liam), Cronicas, p. 221.
  15. Nunes do Liam does not give the precise date of the sending of the embassy but places it after the beginning of the year 1454 and before June of that year. He names Juan de Guzman and Fernando Lopez of Burgos as the ambassadors, whereas the letter of Apr. 10, 1454, names Juan de Guzman and Juan Alfonso of Burgos as the am­ bassadors who will bear the letter to the King of Portugal. Fernando Lopez was sent by Henry IV. as ambassador to Portugal in Aug., 1454. Santarem, Quadro Elementar, I. 354.
  16. Nunes do Liam, Cronicas, p. 222.
  17. Santarem, Quadro Elementar, I. 353, 354.
  18. On the papacy as an international power, see R. de Maulde-la-Clavière, La Diplo­ matie au Temps de Machiavel ( 1892), tom. I., ch. 2.
  19. The canon law on the subject is in Decretal. Gregor. IX., lib. V., tit. VI., cc. 6, 11, 12, and 17; Extravag. Joann. XXII., tit. VIII., c. 1; Extravag. Commun., lib. V., tit. II., c. 1.
  20. On the relations of the Church to commerce, see E. Nys, Les Origines du Droit International ( 1894), pp. 284-286, and especially G. B. Depping, Histoire du Commerce ( 1830), ch. 10. Depping mentions a king of Aragon's attempt to persuade the Pope that his trade with the infidels was in the interest of the Christian faith. In 1485 the orator of the Portuguese embassy of obedience to Pope Innocent VIII. argued that commercial intercourse led to the conversion of the Ethiopians, and that the trade established with the Ethiopians at Elmina had prevented them from furnishing supplies to the Moors (see below, Doc. 1, note 30). An interesting passage in the bull Sedis apostolicae, issued by Julius II. on July 4, 1505, shows that the then King of Portugal was using the same kind of argument to persuade the Pope to absolve from excommunication such Portuguese as might have traded unlawfully in Guinea or India. L. A. Rebello da Silva , Corpo Diplomatico Portuguez ( Acad. Real das Sciencias, Lisbon, 1862), I. 59-61.
  21. The bull Rex regum is printed in Algs. Docs., pp. 7, 8. The entire bull Dum diversas is printed in Jordão, Bullarium, pp. 22 ff.; a part is printed below, Doc. 1. note 37.
  22. Barros states that upon petition of Prince Martin V. Henry ( 1417- 1431) granted to the crown of Portugal the land that should be discovered from Cape Bojador to and including the Indies. ( Da I. Asia, dec. I., lib. I., cap. 7.) No such bull is known, but cf. below, note 42.
  23. The text is from the original manuscript of the bull, preserved in the National Archives at Lisbon, Coll. de Bullas, maço 7, no. 29.
  24. Prince Henry the Navigator (b. 1394-d 1460).
  25. Alfonso V., surnamed "the African" from his conquests in Morocco, ruled from 1438 to 1481. He stood high in the favor of Pope Nicholas because, after the fall of Constantinople and in response to the Pope's summons, he alone, of all the western monarchs, seriously prepared to aid in resisting the Turks. In April, 1454, in recognition of his efforts, the Pope sent him the consecrated golden rose. L. von Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste, I. ( 1901), 608; Jordão, Bullarium, p. 35.
  26. John I., surnamed "the Great", the founder of the house of Aviz, ruled from 1385 to 1433.
  27. The conquest of Ceuta in 1415, in which Prince Henry played a leading part, marks the beginning of the colonial expansion of Portugal. An account of the crusade against the city is given in Major, Life of Prince Henry, ch. 3.
  28. The Madeira Islands were rediscovered in 1418- 1420; the Azores, in 1427 or 1432 or 1437. J. Mees argues for the last date in his Histoire de la Découverte des Îles Açores in Recueil de Travaux publiés par la Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres, University of Ghent ( 1901), fasc. 27. The Cape Verde Islands were discovered in 1456, shortly after the issue of this bull. Azurara, Guinea (ed. Beazley and Prestage), 11. ix, lxxxv, lxxxvi, xcii-xcvi.
  29. The early voyages sent out by Prince Henry along the west coast of Africa were connected with the crusade which after the conquest of Ceuta the Portuguese carried on against the Saracens in Morocco (see Beazley, "Prince Henrv of Portugal and the African Crusade of the Fifteenth Century", in the American Historical Review, XVI. 11-23). They were undertaken partly to learn whether there were any Christian princes in the interior who would aid the prince against the Moors, and because the infante desired to have knowledge not only of Guinea "but also of the Indies and the land of Prester John" ( Azurara, Guinea, chs. 7, 16; ed. Beazley and Prestage, I. 55). The " In­ dians who are said to worship Christ" are clearly the subjects of Prester John. The question where the Portuguese supposed these Christian Indians to dwell--whether in Abyssinia or Asia--has aroused a controversy, which is summed up in Vignaud, Histoire Critique, I. 195 ff. A bit of evidence, apparently not noticed hitherto but conclusive for its date, is in the oration of obedience, delivered on Dec. 9, 1485, before Innocent VIII., by the Portuguese ambassador, Vasco Fernandes de Lueena. A copy of this oration, printed at Rome, probably in 1485, is in the British Museum. The pas­ sage is as follows: "Accedit tandem hiis omnibus baud dubia spes Arabici sinus perscrutandi, ubi Asiam incolentium regna et nationes, vix apud nos obscurissima fama cognite, sanctissimam Salvatoris fidem religiosissime colunt: a quibus jam si modo vera probatissimi geographi tradunt paucorum dierum itinere Lusitanorum navigatio abest." This statement concerning the goal of the Portuguese is opposed to Vignaud's conclusion that up to 1486 the Portuguese were seeking the Indies of Prester John in Africa.
  30. Cadamosto, the Venetian, called the Portuguese caravels the best sailing ships at sea. "They were usually 20-30 metres long, 6-8 metres in breadth; were equipped with three masts, without rigging-tops, or yards; and had lateen sails stretched upon long oblique poles, hanging suspended from the mast-head. . . . They usually ran with all their sail, turning by means of it, and sailing straight upon a bow-line driving before the wind. When they wished to change their course it was enough to trim the sails." Beazleys introduction to Azurara, Guinea, II. cxii-cxiii.
  31. A vague knowledge of a land called Guinea ("Ganuya", "Ginuia "), south of the great desert, inhabited by negroes and rich in gold, existed in Europe long before the time of Prince Henry. The name "provincia Ganuya" appears on the mappemonde of the Medicean or Laurentian atlas of 1351, reproduced in facsimile in T. Fischer, Raccolta di Mappamondi, pt. V. ( 1881), and, with clearer lettering, in Santarem, Atlas de Mappemondes ( 1849- 1852), no. 24, and is fully discussed in T. Fischer, Sammlung Mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten ( 1886), pp. 127-147. "Ginuia" is indicated on the Catalan mappemonde of 1375, of which an available reproduction is opposite p. 78 in S. Ruge, Zeistalter der Entdeckungen ( 1881), in W. Oncken, Allgemeine Geschichte.
  32. The Senegal, or Western Nile, or Nile of the Negroes. When this river was dis­ covered in 1445 it was believed to be a branch of the Nile. The maps referred to in the preceding note show a water connection between the Atlantic, Guinea., and the Nubian Nile. Hostium is for ostium.
  33. The first natives captured beyond Cape Bojador were brought to Portugal by Antam Gonçalves in 1441 or 1442. Azurara, Guinea, chs. 12 and 13.
  34. This word appears in this same form in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Decretal. Gregor. IX., lib. V., tit. VI., c 6, ed. E. Friedberg, who gives as variant forms lignamina and ligneamina.
  35. A royal charter, dated Oct. 22, 1443, forbidding any one to pass beyond Cape Bojador without a license from Prince Henry, is printed in Algs. Docs., pp. 8-9.
  36. The Papal bull of June 18,1452 ( Nicholas V.). The provisions of this bull areas follows:
    ". . . Nos igitur considerantes, quod contra Catholicam fidem insurgentibus, Chris­ tianamque religionem extinguere molientibus, ea virtute, et alia constantia a Christi fidelibus est resistendum, ut fideles ipsi fidei ardore succensi virtutibusque pro posse succincti detestandum illorum propositum, non solum obice intentionis contraire impe­ diant, si ex oppositione roboris iniquos conatus prohibeant, et Deo, cui militant, ipsis assistente, perfidorum substernant molimenta, nosque divino amore communiti, Chris­ tianorum charitate invitati, officiique pastoralis astricti debito, ea, quae fidei, pro qua Christus Deus noster sanguinem effudit, integritatem, augmentumque respiciunt nobis fidelium animis vigorem, tuamque Regiam Magestatem in hujusmodi sanctissimo pro­ posito confovere merito cupientes, tibi Sarracenos, et paganos, aliosque infideles, et Christi inimicos quoscunque, et ubicunque constitutos regna, ducatus, comitatus, princi­ patus aliague dominia, terras, loca, villas, castra, et quaecunque alia possessiones, bona mobilia et immobilia in quibuscunque rebus consistentia, et quocunque nomine censeantur, per eosdem Sarracenos, paganos, infideles, et Christi inimicos detenta, et possessa, etiam cujuscunque seu quorumcunque regis, seu principis, aut regum, vel principum regna, ducatus, comitatus, principatus, aliaque dominia, terrae, loca, villae, castra, possessiones, et bona hujusmodi fuerint, invadendi, conquerendi, expugnandi, et subjugandi, illorumque personas in perpetuam servitutem redigendi, regna quoque, ducatus, comitatus, princi­ patus, aliaque dominia, possessiones, et bona hujusmodi, tibi et successoribus tuis Regibus Portugailiae, perpetuo applicandi, et appropriandi, ac in tuos, et eorundem successorum usus et utilitates convertendi plenam et liberam, auctoritate apostolica, tenore praesen­ tium concedimus facultatem. . . ." Jordão, Bullarium, p. 22.
    It will be noticed that this bull sanctions the enslaving of the infidels. Two interesting bulls respecting slaves from the Canary Islands, printed in appendix II. of Carácter de la Conquista y Coloni­ zación de las Islas Canarias: Discurios leídos ante la Real Academia de la Historia ( 1901) by Don Rafael Torres Campos, show that Eugenius IV., the immediate prede­ cessor of Nicholas V., not only wished to protect from slavery and annoyance those aborigines who had embraced the faith, but also expressed a fear that dread of captivity would deter others from conversion.
  37. The phrase motu proprio, etc., had long been a mere form, which exempted the recipient of the bull from the ordinary taxes. J. Haller, "Die Ausfertigung der Pro­ visionen", Quellen und Forschuttgen, II. (1), ( 1899), p. 3. "Eine päpstliche Verleihung erfolgt fast immer nur auf Grund einer eingereichten Supplik. Der Empfänger also hat die Initiative zu ergreifen auch da, wo es sich scheinbar um einen spontanen Act des Papstes, ein motu proprio handelt. Denn auch diese Art der Verleihubg ist schon früh eine blosse Form geworden, bestimmt, dem Empfänger Abgabenfreiheit und andere Vorrechte zu verschaffen."
  38. Cape Bojador, in 26° 7' N., was rounded by Gil Eannes in 1434. Azurara, Guinea (ed. Beazley and Prestage), II. x.
  39. During a long period prior to Prince Henry's expeditions, Cape Na or Nam was the southern limit of Portuguese coast navigation. This cape was therefore probably not the Cape Non situated to the north of the Canary Islands, in 28° 47' N., but must have been south of Cape Bojador, where, indeed, it is placed on some maps of the early fifteenth century. See the article on "España en Berbería" by M. Jiménez de la Espada in the Boletín de la Sociedad Geográfica de Madrid, tom IX. ( 1880), p. 316. The fact that throughout this and the following text Cape Nam is mentioned after Cape Bojador may indicate that it lay to the south of it.
  40. Probably no definite locality is intended.
  41. The reference is to the bull Praeclaris tuae, issued by Eugenius IV. on May 25, 1437, and summarized in Algs. Docs., p. 5. The bull of Martin V. here mentioned may have been issued in 1424 or 1425 in connection with the Spanish-Portuguese controversy over the Canaries. Such a bull is referred to in Cod. Vatic. 4151, f. 18 ( Kretschmer, Entdeckung Amerika's, 1892, p. 220 note) and in Algs. Docs., p. 3. Cf. above, note 23.
  42. The executory instrument (executoria) issued by Dom Jayme, archbishop of Lisbon, and Alvaro, bishop of Silves, as executors (juizes executores) of this bull, is preserved in the National Archives at Lisbon, Coll. de Bullas, maço 32, no. 10. The similar instrument issued by João, bishop of Ceuta, is in the same archives, Coll. de Bullas, maço 33, no. 14. Both instruments include the text of the bull.
  43. In the dating of Papal bulls, up to the Pontificate of Innocent XII. ( 1691-1700), the 25th of March was usually reckoned as the beginning of the year. A. Giry, Manuel de Diplomatique ( 1894), p. 696. According to our present reckoning, therefore, this bull dates from the year 1455.
  44. Pietro da Noceto was the private secretary and confidant of Nicholas V. L. von Pastor , Geschichte der Päpste, I. ( 1901), 365.
    The bull bears the usual official endorsement "Registrata in camera apostolica".
  45. In this translation the editor has been aided by Bollan's translation, mentioned in the bibliography, and by valuable suggestions from C. G. Bayne, C. S. I.
  46. I. e., if we bestow these favors, in order that.
  47. It is probable that a viginti quinque annis should be translated "from twenty-five years [of age]", i. e., from 1419. Cf. Bourne, Essays, p. 178.
  48. Vignaud, Toscanelli, p. 61, translates "extending thence beyond towards the dis­ tant shores of the south".