The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898/Volume 1/Papal Bulls of 1493

PAPAL BULLS OF 1493INTER CÆTERA—MAY 3

Alexander, etc., to the illustrious sovereigns, our very dear son in Christ, Ferdinand, King, and our very dear daughter in Christ, Helisabeth [Isabella], Queen, of Castile and Leon, Aragon, Sicily, and Granada health and apostolic benediction. Among other works well pleasing to his divine Majesty, and cherished of our heart, this assuredly ranks highest that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be everywhere increased and spread, as well as that the health of souls be procured, and barbarous nations overthrown and brought to the faith itself. Wherefore inasmuch as by the favor of divine clemency, through no fitting merits of ours, we have been raised to this holy see of Peter, recognizing that as true Catholic kings and princes such as we have always known you to be, and as your illustrious deeds already known to almost the whole world declare, you not only eagerly desire but with every effort, zeal, and diligence, without regard to hardships, expenses, dangers, with the shedding even of your blood, are laboring to that end; recognizing besides that already you have long ago dedicated to this purpose your whole soul and all your endeavors—as witnessed in these times with so much glory to the divine name in your recovery of the kingdom of Granada from the yoke of the Moors — we therefore not unrighteously hold it as our duty to grant you even of our own accord and in your favor those things, whereby daily and with heartier effort you may be enabled for the honor of God himself and the spread of the Christian rule to accomplish your saintly and praiseworthy purpose so pleasing to immortal God. In sooth we have learned that, according to your purpose long ago, you were in quest of some far-away islands and mainlands not hitherto discovered by others, to the end that you might bring to the worship of our Redeemer and profession of the Catholic faith the inhabitants of them with the dwellers therein; that hitherto, having been earnestly engaged in the siege and recovery of the kingdom itself of Granada, you were unable to accomplish this saintly and praiseworthy purpose; but at length, as was pleasing to the Lord, the said kingdom having been regained, not without the greatest hardships, dangers, and expenses, we have also learned that with the wish to fulfil your desire, you chose our beloved son Christopher Colon, whom you furnished with ships and men equipped for like designs, so as to make diligent quest for these far-away unknown countries through the sea, which hitherto no one has sailed; who in fine with divine aid nor without the utmost diligence sailing in the Ocean Sea, as said, through western waters towards the Indies, discovered certain very far-away islands and even mainlands, that hitherto had not been discovered by others. Therein dwell very many peoples living in peace, and, as reported, going unclothed, nor users of flesh meat. Moreover, as your aforesaid envoys are of opinion, these very peoples living in the said islands and countries believe in one God, Creator in heaven, besides being sufficiently ready in appearance to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good morals. Nor is hope lacking that, were they instructed, the name of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, would easily be introduced into the said countries and islands. Besides on one of these aforesaid chief islands the above-mentioned Christopher has already had put together and built a fortress[1] fairly well equipped, wherein he has stationed as garrison certain Christians, companions of his, who are to make search for other far-away and unknown islands and countries. In the islands and countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and very many other precious things of divers kinds and species. Wherefore, as becoming to Catholic kings and princes, after earnest consideration of all matters especially of the rise and spread of the Catholic faith, as was the fashion of your ancestors, kings of renowned memory, you have purposed with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said countries and islands with their inhabitants and the dwellers therein, and bring them to the Catholic faith. Hence in heartiest commendation in the Lord of this your saintly and praiseworthy purpose, desirous too that it be duly accomplished in the carrying to those regions of the name of our Savior, we exhort you very earnestly in the Lord and insist strictly—both through your reception of holy baptism, whereby you are bound to our apostolic commands, and through the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, that inasmuch as with upright spirit and through zeal for the true faith you design to equip and despatch this expedition, you purpose also, as is your duty, to lead the peoples dwelling in those islands to embrace the Christian profession; nor at any time let dangers or hardships deter you therefrom, with the stout hope and trust in your hearts that almighty God will further your undertakings. Moreover, in order that with greater readiness and heartiness you enter upon an undertaking of so lofty a character as has been entrusted to you by the graciousness of our apostolic favor, we, moved thereunto by our own accord, not at your instance nor the request of anyone else in your regard, but of our own sole largess and certain knowledge as well as in the fulness of our apostolic power, by the authority of almighty God conferred upon us in blessed Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ which we hold on earth, do by tenor of these presents give, grant, and assign forever to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, all and singular the aforesaid countries and islands thus unknown and hitherto discovered by your envoys and to be discovered hereafter, providing however they at no time have been in the actual temporal possession of any Christian owner, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and towns as well as all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances of the same wherever they may be found. Moreover we invest you and your aforementioned heirs and successors with them, and make, appoint, and depute you owners of them with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind, with this proviso however, that by this gift, grant, assignment, and investiture of ours no right conferred on any Christian prince is hereby to be understood as withdrawn or to be withdrawn. Moreover we command you in virtue of holy obedience, that, employing all due diligence in the premises, as you promise—nor do we doubt your compliance therewith to the best of your loyalty and royal greatness of spirit—you send to the aforesaid countries and islands worthy, God-fearing, learned, skilled, and experienced men in order to instruct the aforesaid inhabitants and dwellers therein in the Catholic faith, and train them in good morals. Besides, under penalty of excommunication late sententie to be incurred ipso facto,[2] should anyone thus contravene, we strictly forbid all persons of no matter what rank, estate, degree, order, or condition, to dare, without your special permit or that of your aforesaid heirs and successors, to go for the sake of trade or any other purpose whatever to the said islands and countries discovered and found by your envoys or persons sent thither. And inasmuch as some kings of Portugal, by similar apostolic grant made to them, discovered and took possession of islands in the waters of Africa, Guinea, and the Gold Mine,[3] as well as elsewhere, for which reason divers privileges, favors, liberties, immunities, exemptions, and indults were granted to them by this apostolic see, we through similar accord, authority, knowledge, and fulness of our apostolic power, by a gift of special favor, do empower you and your aforesaid heirs and successors, in the islands and countries discovered and to be discovered by you, to use, employ, and enjoy freely and legally, as is right, in all things and through all things, the same as if they had been especially granted to you and your aforesaid heirs and successors, all and singular these favors, privileges, exemptions, liberties, faculties, immunities, and indults, whereof the terms of all we wish understood as being sufficiently expressed and inserted, the same as if they had been inserted word for word in these presents. Moreover we similarly extend and enlarge them in all things and through all things in favor of you and your aforesaid heirs and successors, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances as well as all those things that have been granted in the letters above or other things whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. We trust in him from whom derive empires and governments and everything good, that with the guidance of the Lord over your deeds, should you pursue this saintly and praiseworthy undertaking, in a short while your hardships and endeavors will result in the utmost success to the happiness and glory of all Christendom. But inasmuch as it would be difficult to have these present letters sent to all places where desirable, we wish, and with similar accord and knowledge do decree that to copies of them, signed by the hand of a notary public commissioned therefor and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical officer or ecclesiastical court, the same respect is to be shown in court and outside as well as anywhere else, as would be given to these presents, should they be exhibited or shown. Let no one, therefore, infringe, or with rash boldness contravene this our exhortation, requisition, gift, grant, assignment, investiture, deed, constitution, deputation, mandate, inhibition, indult, exemption, enlargement, will, and decree. Should any one 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 in Rome at St. Peter's, on the third day of May in the year one thousand four hundred and ninety-three, of the incarnation of our Lord, in the first year of our pontificate.

Gratis by order [of our most holy lord the Pope.]

B. Capotius
D. Sorrano

Coll. A. de Compania
N. Casanova

EXIMIÆ — MAY 3

Alexander, etc., to the illustrious sovereigns, our very dear son in Christ Ferdinand, King, and our very dear daughter in Christ Elizabeth [Isabella], Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Granada, health, etc. The sincereness and whole-souled loyalty of your exalted attachment to ourselves and the church of Rome deserve to have us grant in your favor those things whereby daily you may the more easily be enabled to the honor of Almighty God and the spread of Christian government as well as the exaltation of the Catholic faith to carry out your saintly and praiseworthy purpose and the work already undertaken of making search for far-away and unknown countries and islands. For this very day through our own accord and certain knowledge, as well as fulness of our apostolic power, we have given, granted, and assigned forever, as appears more fully in our letters drawn up therefor, to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, all and singular the far-away and unknown mainlands and islands lying to the west in the Ocean Sea, that have been discovered or hereafter may be discovered by you or your envoys, whom you have equipped therefor not without great hardships, dangers, and expense; providing however these countries be not in the actual possession of Christian owners. But inasmuch as by this apostolic see have been granted divers privileges, favors, liberties, immunities, exemptions, faculties, letters, and indults to some kings of Portugal, who also by similar apostolic grant and donation in their favor, have discovered and taken possession of other countries and islands in the waters of Africa, Guinea, and the Gold Coast, with the desire to empower by our apostolic authority, as also is right and fitting, you and your aforesaid heirs and successors with graces, prerogatives, and favors of no less character; moved also thereto wholly by our own similar accord, not at your instance nor the petition of any one else in your favor, but through our own sole liberality as well as the same knowledge and fulness of our apostolic power, we do by tenor of these presents, as a gift of special favor, empower you and your aforesaid heirs and successors to the end that in the islands and countries, already discovered by you or in your name and to be discovered hereafter, you may freely and legally, as is proper, use, employ, and enjoy in all things and through all things exactly the same as if they had been granted especially to you and your aforesaid heirs and successors, all and singular the graces, privileges, exemptions, liberties, faculties, immunities, letters, and indults that have been granted to the kings of Portugal, the terms whereof we wish to be understood as sufficiently expressed and inserted, the same as if they had been inserted word for word in these presents. Moreover we extend similarly and enlarge these powers in all things and through all things to you and your aforesaid heirs and successors, to whom in the same manner and form we grant them forever, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances as well as all grants of similar kind made by letters to the kings of Portugal, as well as other things whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. But as it would be difficult to have these present letters sent to all places where desirable, we wish and with similar accord and knowledge do decree that to copies of them, signed by the hand of a public notary commissioned therefor, and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical officer or ecclesiastical court, the same respect is to be shown in court and outside as well as anywhere else as would be given to these presents should they be exhibited or shown. Let no one therefore, etc., infringe, etc., this our indult, extension, enlargement, grant, will, and decree. Should any one, etc. Given at Rome at St. Peter's, in the year, etc., one thousand four hundred and ninety-three, the third day of May, the first year of our pontificate.

Gratis by order of our most holy lord the Pope.

Jo. Nilis.

D. Gallettus.

INTER CÆTERA — MAY 4

Alexander, etc., to the illustrious sovereigns, our very dear son in Christ, Ferdinand, King, and our very dear daughter in Christ, Helisabeth [Isabella], Queen of Castile and Leon, Aragon, Sicily, and Granada, health, etc. Among other works well pleasing to his divine Majesty and cherished of our heart, this assuredly ranks highest: that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian law be exalted and everywhere increased and spread as well as that the health of souls be procured, and barbarous nations overthrown and brought to the faith itself. Wherefore inasmuch as by the favor of divine clemency, through no fitting merits of ours, we have been raised to so holy a see as Peter's, recognizing that as true Catholic kings and princes such as we have always known you to be, and as your illustrious deeds already known to almost the whole world declare, you not only eagerly desire but with every effort, zeal, and diligence, without regard to hardships, expenses, dangers, with the shedding even of your blood, are laboring to that end; that besides you have already long ago dedicated to this purpose your whole soul and all your endeavors, as witnessed in these times with so much glory to the divine name in your recovery of the kingdom of Granada from the yoke of the Moors, we therefore not unrighteously hold it as our duty to grant you even of our own accord and in your favor those things whereby daily and with heartier effort you may be enabled for the honor of God himself and the spread of the Christian rule to accomplish your saintly and praiseworthy purpose so pleasing to immortal God. In sooth we have learned that according to your purpose long ago you were in quest of some far-away islands and mainlands not hitherto discovered by others, to the end that you might bring to the worship of our Redeemer and the profession of the Catholic faith the inhabitants of them with the dwellers therein; that hitherto having been earnestly engaged in the siege and recovery of the kingdom itself of Granada you were unable to accomplish this saintly and praiseworthy purpose; but at length, as was pleasing to the Lord, the said kingdom having been regained, not without the greatest hardships, dangers, and expenses, that with the wish to fulfil your desire, you chose our beloved son, Christopher Colon, a man assuredly worthy and of the highest recommendations as well as furnished with ships and men equipped for like designs, to make diligent quest for these far-away, unknown mainlands and islands through the sea, where hitherto no one has sailed; who in fine, with divine aid, nor without the utmost diligence, sailing in the Ocean Sea discovered certain very far-away islands and even mainlands that hitherto had not been discovered by others, wherein dwell very many peoples living in peace, and, as reported, going unclothed, nor users of flesh meat; and, as your aforesaid envoys are of opinion, these very peoples living in the said islands and countries believe in one God, Creator in heaven, besides being sufficiently ready in appearance to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good morals. Nor is hope lacking that, were they instructed, the name of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, would easily be introduced into the said countries and islands. Besides on one of these aforesaid chief islands the said Christopher has already had put together and built a well-equipped fortress, wherein he has stationed as garrison certain Christians, companions of his, who are to make search for other far-away and unknown islands and mainlands. In certain islands and countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and very many other precious things of divers kinds and species. Wherefore, as becoming to Catholic kings and princes, after earnest consideration of all matters, especially of the rise and spread of the Catholic faith, as was the fashion of your ancestors, kings of renowned memory, you have purposed with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their inhabitants and the dwellers therein, and bring them to the Catholic faith. Hence in heartiest commendation in the Lord of this your saintly and praiseworthy purpose, desirous too that it be duly accomplished in the carrying to those regions of the name of our Savior, we exhort you very earnestly in the Lord and insist strictly both through your reception of holy baptism, whereby you are bound to our apostolic commands, and in the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, inasmuch as with upright spirit and through zeal for the true faith you design to equip and despatch this expedition, you purpose also as is your duty to lead the peoples dwelling in those islands and countries to embrace the Christian religion; nor at any time let dangers nor hardships deter you therefrom, with the stout hope and trust in your hearts that Almighty God will further your undertakings. Moreover, moved thereunto by our own accord, not at your instance nor the request of any one else in your regard, but wholly of our own largess and certain knowledge as well as fulness of our apostolic power, by the authority of Almighty God conferred upon us in blessed Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ, which we hold on earth, in order that with greater readiness and heartiness you enter upon an undertaking of so lofty a character as has been entrusted to you by the graciousness of our apostolic favor, by tenor of these presents should any of said islands have been found by your envoys and captains, we do give, grant, and assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and towns, as well as all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south, by drawing and establishing a line from the Arctic pole, namely the north, to the Antarctic pole, namely the south, no matter whether the said mainlands and islands are found and to be found in the direction of India or towards any other quarter, the said line to the west and south to be distant one hundred leagues from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cabo Verde. With this proviso however that none of the islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered beyond that said line towards the west and south, be in the actual possession of any Christian king or prince up to the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ just past in the present year one thousand four hundred and ninety-three. Moreover we make, appoint and depute you and your said heirs and successors owners of them with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind; with this proviso however that through this gift, grant, and assignment of ours no right conferred on any Christian prince, who may be in actual possession of said islands and mainlands up to the said birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, is hereby to be considered as withdrawn or to be withdrawn. Moreover we command you in virtue of holy obedience that, employing all due diligence in the premises, as you promise, nor do we doubt your compliance therein to the best of your loyalty and royal greatness of spirit, you send to the aforesaid main-lands and islands worthy, God-fearing, learned, skilled, and experienced men, in order to instruct the aforesaid inhabitants and dwellers therein in the Catholic faith and train them in good morals. Besides under penalty of excommunication late sententie to be incurred ipso facto, should any one thus contravene, we strictly forbid all persons of whatsoever rank, even imperial and royal, or of whatsoever estate, degree, order, or condition, to dare, without your special permit or that of your aforesaid heirs and successors, to go, as charged, for the purpose of trade or any other reason to the islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered, towards the west and south, by drawing and establishing a line from the Arctic pole to the Antarctic pole, no matter whether the mainlands and islands found and to be found lie in the direction of India or towards any other quarter whatsoever, the said line to the west and south to be distant one hundred leagues from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cabo Verde, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances and other decrees whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. We trust in him from whom derive empires and governments and everything good, that with his guidance, should you pursue this saintly and praiseworthy undertaking, in a short while your hardships and endeavors will result in the utmost success, to the happiness and glory of all Christendom. But inasmuch as it would be difficult to have these present letters sent to all places where desirable, we wish, and with similar accord and knowledge do decree, that to copies of them, signed by the hand of any public notary commissioned therefor, and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical officer or ecclesiastical court, the same respect is to be shown in court and outside as well as anywhere else as would be given to these presents, should they thus be exhibited or shown. Let no one therefore, etc., infringe, etc., this our recommendation, gift, grant, assignment, constitution, deputation, decree, mandate, prohibition, and will. Should any one, etc. Given at Rome at St. Peter's in the year, etc., one thousand four hundred and ninety-three, the fourth of May, and the first year of our pontificate.

Gratis by order of our most holy lord the Pope.

D. Gallectus.

For the registrar:

A. de Muciarellis.

Collator, L. Amerinus.

EXTENSION OF THE APOSTOLIC GRANT AND DONATION OF THE INDIES—SEPTEMBER 25

Alexander, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to the illustrious sovereigns, his very dear Son in Christ Fernando [Ferdinand], King, and his very dear Daughter in Christ Isabel, Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Granada, health and Apostolic benediction. A short while ago through our own accord, certain knowledge, and fulness of our Apostolic power, we gave, conveyed, and assigned forever to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, all islands and mainlands whatsoever, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south, that were not under the actual temporal rule of any Christian owner. Moreover, investing therewith you and your aforesaid heirs and successors, we appointed and deputed you as owners of them with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind, as more fully appears in our letters given to that effect, the terms whereof we wish to be understood the same as if they had been inserted word for word in these presents. But it may happen that your Envoys, Captains, or vassals, while voyaging towards the west or south might land and touch in eastern waters and there discover islands and mainlands that at one time belonged or even yet belong to India.

With the desire then to give you token of our graciousness, through similar accord, knowledge, and fulness of our power, by tenor of these presents and our apostolic authority, we do extend and enlarge our aforesaid gift, grant, assignment, and letters, with all and singular the clauses contained therein, so as to secure to you all islands and mainlands whatsoever that are found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered, are or were or seem to be in the route by sea or land to the west or south, but are now recognized as being in the waters of the west or south and east and India. Moreover in all and through all, the same as if in the aforesaid letters full and express mention had been made thereof, we convey to you and your aforesaid heirs and successors full and free power through your own authority, exercised through yourselves or by the action of another or of others, to take corporal possession of the said islands and countries and to hold them forever, as well as to defend your right thereto against whomsoever may seek to prevent it. With this strict prohibition however to all persons, of no matter what rank, estate, degree, order or condition, that under penalty of excommunication latae sententiae, wherein such as contravene are to be considered as having fallen ipso facto, no one without your express leave or that of your aforesaid heirs and successors shall, for no matter what reason or pretense, presume in any manner to go or send to the aforesaid regions for the purpose of fishing, or of searching for any islands or mainlands. Notwithstanding any apostolic constitutions and ordinances or whatsoever gifts, grants, powers, and assignments of the aforesaid regions, seas, islands and countries, or any portion of them, may have been made by us or our predecessors in favor of whatsoever kings, princes, infantes, or whatsoever other persons, orders or knighthoods, who for any reason whatever may now be there, even for motives of charity or the faith, or the ransom of captives. Nor shall it matter how urgent these reasons may be, even though, based on repealing clauses, they may appear of the most positive, mandatory, and unusual character; nor even should there be contained therein sentences, censures, and penalties of any kind whatever, providing however these have not gone into effect through actual and real possession; nay even though it may have happened on occasion that the persons, to whom such gifts and grants were made, or their envoys, sailed thither through chance. Wherefore should any such gifts or grants have been made, considering the terms of our present decree to have been sufficiently expressed and inserted, we through similar accord, knowledge, and fulness of our power do wholly revoke the former. Moreover as regards countries and islands not in actual possession of others, we wish this to be considered as of no effect, notwithstanding what may appear in the aforesaid letters, or anything else to the contrary. Given at Rome at St. Peter's, on the twenty-fifth day of September in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord one thousand four hundred and ninety-three, the second year of our pontificate.

  1. Referring to the fort built by Columbus (December, 1492) at La Navidad, a port on the northern coast of Hispaniola (Hayti). Upon the admiral's return, a year later, he found that the garrison whom he had left in this fort had been destroyed by hostile Indians.
  2. That is, by some act so clear or manifest that no formal sentence of excommunication is requisite.
  3. The Gold Coast of Africa, named by its Portuguese discoverers (about 1471) Oro de la Mina (this is the Minere Auri of our text).