The Treaty of Tordesillas, also known as the Treaty of Tordesilhas, was a document signed on June 7, 1494. This treaty was signed between the Spanish and Portuguese empires to divide the newly discovered lands outside of Europe. The treaty was agreed upon by the Pope Alexander VI and it aimed to resolve the disputes between Spain and Portugal over who had the right to claim the territories newly discovered by Christopher Columbus.
The treaty divided the newly discovered lands into two parts, with Spain having the right to claim the lands to the west of a meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands and Portugal having the right to claim the lands to the east of the same meridian. This meridian was later revised to 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands, which put Brazil in the Portuguese side of the line.
Interestingly, the line established by the treaty intersected South America, dividing the continent into two halves. In addition, the treaty did not consider the existence of any other European power that might discover and claim land outside of Europe.
The Treaty of Tordesillas was significant in shaping the future of the Americas and the world. Through this treaty, Spain and Portugal were able to claim territories and expand their empires. Additionally, it established the dominance of the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the Americas and marked the beginning of European colonization of the New World.
However, the treaty’s impact on indigenous peoples was devastating. The treaty allowed for the brutal subjugation and exploitation of native populations by European colonizers. Furthermore, it led to the transatlantic slave trade, in which millions of Africans were forcibly taken to the Americas to work in the colonies.
In conclusion, the Treaty of Tordesillas was a significant document in the history of the Americas and the world. It helped shape the future and expansion of the Spanish and Portuguese empires, but its impact on indigenous peoples and the transatlantic slave trade cannot be ignored.