European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648/Document 10

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10.

Compact between Spain and Portugal, signed by the Catholic Sovereigns at Madrid, May 7, 1495.


INTRODUCTION.

The rulers of Spain and Portugal did not put into effect the provision of the treaty of Tordesillas[1] for despatching caravels within ten months in order to determine the line of demarcation. On May 7, 1495, the Spanish monarchs signed an agreement that during the following September commissioners should assemble on the frontier of the two kingdoms to decide upon the method of fixing the line; that upon notification by either party, the other party must cause the said line to be determined in accordance with the method approved by the commissioners; that the departure of the caravels should be postponed, and orders given to place the line on all hydrographical maps made in either kingdom.

The main stipulations of this compact were not carried out. Apparently it was not until 1512 that either monarch planned an expedition to determine the line.[2] The earliest of existing maps on which the line of demarcation appears, is the Cantino map, of 1502. On the Munich-Portuguese map of 1519, and on the Weimar-Spanish ( 1527) and Ribero ( 1529) maps, this line does duty also as the prime meridian.[3]


BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Text: MS. The original manuscript of the compact signed by Ferdinand and Isabella at Madrid on May 7, 1495, is in the National Archives at Lisbon, gav. 10, maço 5, no. 4. A manuscript nearly identical but dated April 15, and lacking the royal signatures, which have been cut out, is in the Archives of the Indies, at Seville, Patronato 2-1-1/18, no. 8.

Text: Printed. The text of the manuscript dated April 15 is in Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages ( 1825- 1837), tom. II., no. 91, pp. 170-173.

Translation. A translation of the text as printed in Navarrete is in Blair and Robertson, Philippine Islands ( 1903- 1909), I. 131-135.

References. See references of Doc. 9.


TEXT.[4]

Don Fernando e Doña Ysabel, por la graçia de Dios rrey e rreyna de Castilla [etc.]:

Por quanto en la capitulaçion e asiento[5] que se hizo entre nos y el Serenisimo Rey de Portugal e de los Algarbes de aquende e de allend el mar en Africa, e Señor de Guinea, nuestro muy caro e muy amado hermano, sobre la partiçion del mar oçeano, fue asentado e capitulado entre otras cosas que, desde el dia de la fecha de la dicha capitulaçion fasta diez meses primeros siguientes, ayan de ser en la ysla de la Grand Canaria caravelas nuestras y suyas, con astrologos, pilotos, e marineros, e personas que nos y el acordaremos, tantos de la una parte como de la otra, para yr a fazer e señalar la linea de la partiçion del dicho mar, que ha de ser a trezientas e setenta leguas de las yslas del Cabo Verde a la parte del poniente, por linea derecha del polo Artico al polo Antartico, que es de norte a sul, en que somos concordados en la partiçion del dicho mar por la dicha capitulaçion, segund mas largamente en ella es contenido; e agora nos, considerando como la linea de la dicha partiçion se puede mejor hazer e justificar por las dichas trezientas e setenta leguas, siendo primeramente acordado e asentado por los dichos astrologos, pilotos, e marineros e personas, antes de la yda de las dichas cara­ velas, la forma e orden que en el demarcar e señalar de la dicha linea se aya de tener, e asi por se escusar debates e diferençias que sobre ello, entre las per­ sonas que así fueren, podrian aconteçer, si despues de ser partidos lo oviesen alla de ordenar; e viendo asimismo que yendo las dichas caravelas e personas antes de se saber ser hallada ysla o tierra en cada una de las dichas partes del dicho mar, a que luego ordenadamente ayan de yr, no aprovecharia; por tanto, para que todo se mejor pueda haser, e con declaraçion e certificaçion de anbas las partes, avemos por bien e por esta presente carta nos plaze, que los dichos astrologos, pilotos, e marineros e personas en que nos acordaremos con el dicho rrey, nuestro hermano, tantos de la una parte como de la otra, e que razonablemente para esto puedan bastar, se ayan de juntar e junten en alguna parte de la frontera destos nuestros rreynos con el dicho rreyno de Portugal, los quales ayan de consultar, acordar, e tomar asiento dentro de todo el mes de Setienbre[6] primero que verna deste año de la fecha desta carta la manera en que la linea de la partiçion del dicho mar se aya de haser por las dichas tresientas e setenta leguas por rrota derecha al poniente de las dichas yslas del Cabo Verde del polo Artico al polo Antartico, que es de norte a sul, como en la dicha capitulaçion es contenido; y aquello en que se concordaren, siendo todos conformes e fuere asentado e senalado por ellos, se aprovara e con­ firmara por nos y por el dicho rrey, nuestro hermano, por nuestras cartas- patentes; y si antes o[7] despues que fuere tornado el dicho asiento por los dichos astrologos, pilotos, e marineros que asi fueren nonbrados, yendo cada una de las partes por la parte del dicho mar que pueden yr segund lo con­tenido en la dicha capitulaçion, e guardandose en[8] ello lo que en ella se contiene, fuere hallado e[9] se hallare ysla[10] o tierra que parezca a qualquier de las partes ser en parte donde se pueda haser la dicha linea segund la forma dela dicha capitulaçion, e mandando rrequirer la una parte a la otra que manden señalar la linea suso dicha, seremos nos y el dicho rrey, nuestro hermano, obligados de mandar haser e señalar la dicha linea, segund la orden del asiento que fuere tomado por los astrologos, pilotos, e marineros, e per­ sonas suso dichas que asi fueren nonbrados dentro de diez meses primeros contados del dia que qualquier de las partes rrequiriere a la otra; y en caso que no sea en el medio dela dicha linea, lo que asi se hallare se hara declara­ çion quantas leguas ay dello a la dicha linea, asy de nuestra parte como de la parte del dicho Serenisimo Rey, nuestro hermano, no dexando por ende en qualquier ysla o tierra que mas acerca dela dicha linea despues por el tienpo se hallare haser la dicha declaraçion; e por se haser lo que dicho es no se dexara de tener la manera suso dicha, hallandose ysla o tierra debaxo de la dicha linea, como dicho es, e hasta el dicho tienpo de los dichos diez meses despues que la una parte rrequiriere a la otra, como dicho es, nos plaze por esta nuestra carta prorrogar e alargar la yda de las dichas caravelas e personas, syn enbargo del termino que cerca dello en la dicha capitulaçion fue asentado e capitulado; e bien asi nos plase e avremos por bien, para mas notificaçion e declaraçion de la partiçion del dicho mar que entre nos y el dicho rrey nuestro hermano por la dicha capitulaçion es fecha, e para que nuestros subditos e naturales tengan mas ynformaçion por donde de aqui adelante ayan de navegar e descobrir, e asi los subditos e naturales del dicho rrey nuestro hermano, de mandar, como de fecho mandaremos, so graves penas, que en todas las cartas de marear que en nuestros rreynos e señorios se hisieren de aqui adelante los que ovieren de yr por el dicho mar oçeano, se ponga la linea de la dicha partiçion, figurandose del dicho polo Artico al dicho polo Antartico, que es de norte a sul, en el conpas delas dichas trezientas e setenta leguas delas dichas yslas del Cabo Verde por rrota derecha ala parte del poniente, como dicho es, dela forma que acordaren la medida della los dichos astrologos e pilotos e marineros que asi se juntaren, siendo todos conformes; e queremos e otorgamos que esta presente carta, ni lo en ella contenido, no perjudique en cosa alguna delas que son contenidas e asentadas en la dicha capitulaçion, mas que todas e cada una dellas se cunplan e guarden para todo sienpre en todo e por todo syn falta alguna, asy e tan enteiramente como en la dicha capitulaçion son asentadas; por quanto esta carta mandamos asi faser, solamente para que los dichos astrologos e personas se junten e dentro del dicho tienpo tomen asiento dela orden e manera en que la dicha demarcaçion se aya de haser, e para prorrogar e alargar el tienpo dela yda delas dichas caravelas e personas fasta tanto que sea sabido ser hallada en cada una delas dichas partes la dicha ysla o tierra a que ayan de yr, e para mandar poner enlas dichas cartas de marear la linea dela dicha partiçion;--como todo mas cunplidamente de suso es contenido. Lo qual todo que dicho es pro­ metemos e seguramos por nuestra fe palabra rreal de cunplir e guardar e mantener syn arte, ni cautela, ni fingimiento alguno, asy e a tan enteramente como en ella es contenido. E por firmeza de todo lo que dicho es, mandamos dar esta nuestra carta, firmada de nuestros nonbres e sellada con nuestro sello de plomo, pendiente en filos de seda a colores. Dada en la nuestra villa de Madrid, a siete dias del mes de Mayo, año del nasçimiento de nuestra Senor Jhesu Christo de mill e quatroçientos e noventa e çinco años.

YO, EL REY. YO, LA REYNA.

YO, FERNAND ALVARES de Toledo, secretario del rey e dela rreyna, nuestros señores, la fes escrevir por su mandado.

[Registrada].


TRANSLATION.[11]

Don Ferdinand and Doña Isabella, by the grace of God king and queen of Castile, etc.:

Inasmuch as, among other things in the treaty and compact regarding the division of the ocean sea, negotiated between ourselves and the Most Serene King of Portugal and the Algarves on either side of the sea in Africa, and lord of Guinea, our most dear and beloved brother, it was agreed and covenanted that, within the first ten months following the date of this treaty, our caravels and his, accompanied by astrologers, pilots, sailors, and others, agreed upon by ourselves and himself--a like number on either side--should be in the island of the Grand Canary in order to proceed to the determination and drawing of the divisional line of the said sea, which must be three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands, in a straight north and south line from the Arctic to the Antarctic pole, as covenanted between us by the said treaty of the division of the said sea, as is more fully set forth therein, and inasmuch as we now consider that the line of the said division at the distance of the said three hundred and seventy leagues can be determined and calculated better if the said astrologers, pilots, sailors, and others come to a definite conclusion and agreement regarding the manner and order of procedure to be observed in the determination and marking of the said line before the sailing of the said caravels, by so doing avoiding disputes and controversies that might arise regarding it among those going, if these had to be arranged after the departure; and inasmuch as it would be quite useless for the said caravels and persons to go before knowing that any island or mainland had been found in each one of the said parts of the said sea, and to which they must proceed immediately and orderly: Now therefore, in order that all this may be done to better advantage, and with the full and free consent of both sides, we agree and by this present letter consent that the said astrologers, pilots, sailors, and others determined upon with the said king, our brother--a like number on either side, and of sufficient number for this matter--must assemble, and they shall assemble, along any part of the frontier of these our kingdoms and the kingdom of Portugal. During the whole month of [September] first following the date of this letter these men shall consult upon, covenant concerning, and determine the manner of making the said divisional line of the said sea at the distance of the said three hundred and seventy leagues west of the said Cape Verde Islands, by means of a straight north and south line from the Arctic to the Antarctic pole, as is set forth in the said treaty. And whatever they determine upon unanimously, and whatever is concluded and marked out by them, shall be approved and confirmed through our letters-patent, by us and by the said king our brother. And if [before or] after the said astrologers, pilots, and sailors, appointed as abovesaid, shall have arrived at a conclusion, each one of the said parties going to that part of the said sea, according to the permission of the said treaty, and thereby observing the contents of said treaty, any island or mainland shall be found, which either of the parties consider to be so situated that the said line can be determined in accordance with the stipulations of the said treaty, and the one party shall cause notification to be given the other party that they shall cause the line abovesaid to be marked out, we and the said king our brother shall be obliged to have the said line determined and marked out in accordance with the method determined upon by the astrologers, pilots, and sailors, and others abovesaid, and appointed as abovesaid, within the period of the first ten months reckoned from the date that either of the parties notified the other. And should it prove that the land thus found is not cut by the said line, a declaration of its distance from the said line shall be given, both on our own part and that of the said most serene king our brother. They shall not, however, neglect to make the said declara­ tion regarding any island or mainland which shall be found afterwards, during the period, nearer the said line. And in doing the aforesaid, they shall not neglect to observe the manner aforesaid, whenever any island or mainland is found in the neighborhood of the said line as aforesaid, and up to the said time of the said ten months after the notification of one party by the other, as aforesaid. It is our pleasure in this our letter to postpone and defer the departure of the said caravels and persons, notwithstanding the limit set and determined in the above-mentioned treaty in regard to it. And we therefore are pleased and consider it advantageous--for the better notification and declaration of the division of the said sea made by the said treaty between ourselves and the said king our brother, and in order that both our subjects and natives and the subjects and natives of the said king our brother may be better informed henceforth as to the regions wherein they may navigate and discover--to order (as in truth we shall order), under severe penalties, that the line of the said division be placed on all hydrographical maps made hereafter in our kingdoms and seigniories by those journeying in the said ocean sea. This line shall be drawn straight from the said Arctic to the said Antarctic pole, north and south, at the distance of the said three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands, as aforesaid, being measured as determined unanimously by the said astrologers, pilots, and sailors meeting as abovesaid. And we purpose and stipulate that neither this present letter nor anything contained therein, be prejudicial in any manner to the contents and compacts of the said treaty, but rather that they, all and singular, be observed throughout, in toto without any failure, and in the manner and entirety set forth in the said treaty; inasmuch as we have caused the present letter to be made in this manner, simply in order that the said astrologers and persons shall assemble and, within the said time, shall determine the order of procedure and the method to be observed in making the said line of demarcation, and in order to postpone and defer the departure of the said caravels and persons until the said island or mainland whither they must go is known to have been found in each one of the said parts, and in order to command that the line of the said division be placed on the said hydrographical maps, all of which is set forth most fully in the above. We promise and engage on our kingly faith and word to fulfill and observe all of the foregoing, without any artifice, deceit, or pretense in the manner and in the entirety set down in the above. And in confirmation of the above, we cause this our letter to be given, signed with our names, and sealed with our leaden seal hanging from threads of colored silk.

[Given in our town of Madrid, the seventh day of the month of May, in the year of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1495.

I, THE KING. I, THE QUEEN.

I, FERNANDO ALVAREZ de Toledo, secretary of the king and of the queen, our lord and lady, have caused it to be written, by their command.

  1. Doc. 9.
  2. Cf. Doc. 12, note 5.
  3. All of the above-mentioned maps, and some others on which the demarcation line appears, are included among the Maps illustrating Early Discovery and Exploration in America, 1502-1530, reproduced by photography from original manuscripts, and issued, together with text and key maps, under the direction of E. L. Stevenson ( 1903, 1906).
  4. The following text is taken from the original manuscript of the compact signed by Ferdinand and Isabella at Madrid, May 7, 1495, preserved in the National Archives at Lisbon, gav. 10, maço 5, no. 4; from an eighteenth-century copy of this manuscript in the same archives (same pressmark); and from the nearly identical manuscript, dated Apr. 15, preserved in the Archives of the Indies. Since a part of the first of these manuscripts is indecipherable, considerable use has been made of the two last-mentioned texts.
  5. The Treaty of Tordesillas, Doc. 9.
  6. The draft signed in April reads Julio.
  7. The words antes o are not in the draft of the compact drawn up in April.
  8. From this point the compact of May 7 is legible except for a few words.
  9. The words fuere hallado e are not in the draft made in April.
  10. Between the words hallare and ysla the draft made in April contains the words de aqui adelante.
  11. This translation is reprinted from Blair and Robertson, Philippine Islands, I. 131- 135. A few changes, indicated by brackets, have been made to bring it into conformity with the text of May 7.