Treaty of Tordesillas


The Treaty of Tordesillas was an agreement in which the division of territories that could be explored by Spain and Portugal was established . It was a type of agreement between nations to follow a series of guidelines and rules related to the division of the Atlantic Ocean and the territories that still had to be conquered in America.

  • When was it:  06/07/1494
  • Where was it:  Tordesillas, Spain

What is the Treaty of Tordesillas?

The Treaty of Tordesillas was a treaty in which the Atlantic Ocean was divided by means of an imaginary division that went from pole to pole, approximately 370 leagues West of the Cape Verde Islands, making Portugal have the eastern hemisphere and Spain the western hemisphere.


What did it consist of

The Treaty of Tordesillas was an agreement that was made to ensure that an externally discovered land of the European continent was divided in a rational and peaceful way between the empires of the Crown of Castile and the Portuguese Empire . It occurred shortly after the discovery of the New World occurred in the travels made by Christopher Columbus . It was a treaty that was made with the objective of avoiding a war for new territories but that in the end, benefited Portugal to a greater extent, who lost strategically located lands.


Characteristics of the Treaty of Tordesillas

Among the main characteristics of the Treaty of Tordesillas the following are mentioned:

  • A north-south boundary was established, covering an area of ​​approximately 370 leagues west of Cape Verde.
  • The Spanish could navigate in the area of Portugal but could not explore that place.
  • It was a treaty that was not respected in the end, benefiting Spain more than Portugal.
  • It was signed by the Catholic Monarchs , Isabel I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon and by Juan II of Avis who at that time was the King of Portugal.
  • The treaty was endorsed by the Church and the Pope .
  • He managed to finalize a series of disagreements over the lands that were discovered.
  • It was ratified by Pope Julius II in 1506 and after this it remained in force until the year 1750.

Which countries signed the Treaty of Tordesillas

The Treaty of Tordesillas was signed by Spain and Portugal on September 4, 1479.  It was signed by King Fernando II of Aragon and by Queen Isabel I of Castile and King Alfonso V of Portugal and it was a treaty that was in force for many years.

What establishes

The signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas established the recovery of peace and the delimitation of the territories and rights that existed over the Atlantic Ocean in which Spain was given power over the Canary Islands and Portugal was given the right over West Africa . The treaty also established that Portugal had every right to navigate and explore throughout the eastern hemisphere while the crown of Castile had the right to do the same but in the western hemisphere . It also established that SpainHe did not have the right to engage in fishing activities in Africa, a situation that had triggered different problems and conflicts in the past.


Its antecedents can be found in the year 1479 when the Treaty of Alcazabas was created , which established the end of the war for the throne of Castile , a conflict that had occurred between Isabel la Católica and Juana la Beltraneja. This treaty suffered a series of casualties due to the discovery of new lands by Christopher Columbus and the papal bulls that gave Castile the right to conquer new lands.

Another important precedent was the search for a solution for the occupation of areas and islands that were located in the Atlantic Ocean, a situation that was causing different types of conflicts between Spain and Portugal. In addition, the Alexandrian bulls that gave Castile a series of rights to be able to make conquests in the American continent and to establish the Catholic religion as the official religion of these lands. It is considered that these bulls were the ones that caused the establishment of Christianity in America and it was one of the main means of defense of Castile to be able to negotiate with Portugal.


Its history begins with the Treaty of Alcazabas signed between Castile , Portugal and Aragon , a treaty that achieved the end of the war of succession in Castile, achieving the resignation of Alfonso V of Portugal to the throne of Castile and of the Catholic Monarchs to that of Portugal. . It is important to remember that the discovery of America was made by Christopher Columbus and some time later, Juan II of Portugal made it known that these discovered lands belonged to him because they were located south of the parallel, and that, according to the Treaty of Alcazabas, they belonged to his territory.

Faced with this situation, the Catholic Monarchs refused and began to seek solutions to the problem. For this they went to Pope Alexander VI who issued a document known by the name of the Alexandrian bulls . Portugal did not like this either, so a series of meetings began in Tordesillas until the parties reached an agreement.


The main reason why the Treaty of Tordesillas was established was the discovery of new lands by Christopher Columbus , lands that King Juan II of Portugal wanted to conquer immediately using the Treaty of Alcazabas . Faced with this situation, Ferdinand II objected and thus began the disputes that would later be resolved by means of the treaty.

Consequences of the Treaty of Tordesillas

Among the main consequences that arose as a result of this treaty, the following are mentioned:

  • The American continent was colonized since through the document it was possible to distribute most of the American continent. This led to the establishment of different types of cultures in America.
  • A series of problems arose in order to adequately delimit the position of the line that divided the territory.
  • Portugal ignored some statutes of the treaty by invading lands that actually belonged to Spain and for this reason there were different types of conflicts.
  • A union was achieved between Spain and Portugal , countries that at one point had the same king.
  • Due to conflicts and misunderstandings regarding the division of lands the treaty was dissolved in 1750 .

Houses of the Treaty of Tordesillas

The houses of the Treaty of Tordesillas are two buildings that functioned as palaces and are currently located in the province of Valladolid in Spain. It was in this place where the different negotiations were carried out to establish the treaty in which the lands that had been discovered in America were distributed.

These palaces date from the 15th century and today, it is still possible to find the shield that represented the Catholic Monarchs on its façade. They were restored in 1994 and currently have the title of Assets of Cultural Interest since the Museum of the Treaty is located there, where you can see different cultural exhibitions.


The main importance of the Treaty of Tordesillas was that it was possible to put an end to the war of succession that had arisen after the death of King Enrique IV for the throne, in addition, with the treaty it was possible to establish the rights of navigation and conquest of the Ocean Atlantic thus avoiding a series of armed conflicts. It was an agreement that determined the current history of the American continent and international politics since through this agreement, it was possible to establish the first maritime and land border in the world.

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