European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648/Document 07
7. The Bull Inter Caetera (Pope Alexander VI.) May 4, 1493.
Like the bull Eximiae devotionis of May 3, the bull Inter caetera of May 4 is a restatement of part of the bull Inter caetera of May 3. Taken together the two later bulls cover the same ground as the bull Inter caetera of May 3, for which they form a substitute. The changes introduced into the bull Inter caetera of May 4, are, however, of great importance, and highly favorable to Spain. Instead of merely granting to Castile the lands discovered by her envoys, and not under Christian rule, the revised bull draws a line of demarcation one hundred leagues west of any of the Azores or Cape Verde Islands, and assigns to Castile the exclusive right to acquire territorial pos sessions and to trade in all the lands west of that line, which at Christmas, 1492, were not in the possession of any Christian prince. The general safe guard to the possible conflicting rights of Portugal is lacking. All persons are forbidden to approach the lands west of the line without special license from the rulers of Castile.
It is not probable that by this bull Alexander VI. intended to secure to Portugal an eastern route to the Indies, as some writers have maintained. In the bulls of May 3, the earlier papal grants to Portugal are said to have given her rights in the region of Guinea and the Gold Mine, but the Indies are not mentioned. The bull of May 4 does not name Portugal and refers to her only in the clause which excepts from the donation any lands west of the demarcation line, which at Christmas, 1492, might be in the possession of any Christian prince.
Text: MS. and facsimile. The original manuscript of the promulgated bull is in the Archives of the Indies at Seville, Patronato, 1-1-1, no. 3. A photograph of this manuscript is reproduced in the Boletín del Centro de Estudios Americanistas de Sevilla, año III., núm. 7 ( March-April, 1915). A facsimile of the text found in the Vatican registers is in J. C. Heywood , Documenta Selecta e Tabulario Secreto Vat icano ( 1893), whence it is reproduced in J. B. Thacher, Columbus ( 1903- 1904), II. 139-151. An authenticated transcript of the bull, belonging to Columbus, is partly reproduced in facsimile in the Autógrafos de Cristóbal Colón ( 1892), opp. p. 20, published by the Duchess of Berwick and Alba; and the copy entered in Columbus Book of Privileges is reproduced in the facsimiles of that work. (See F. G. Davenport, "Texts of Columbus's Privileges", American Historical Review, XIV. 764.)
Text: Printed. The Vatican text is in Heywood, op. cit.; Thacher, op. cit., II. 140-153; G. Berchet, Fonti Italiane ( 1892- 1893), I. 8-11 (pt. III. of the Raccolta di Documenti published by the Reale Commissione Colom biana) ; S. E. Dawson, "Line of Demarcation of Pope Alexander VI.", etc. ( 1899), pp. 529-531, in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 2d ser., 1899, vol. V., § 2, pp. 467 ff. The text of the promulgated bull, preserved in the Archives of the Indies, is printed in J. de Solorzano Pereira , De Indiarum Jure ( 1629- 1639), I. 608-610, and in Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages ( 1825- 1837), II. 28-34. The text in J. Ramos- Coelho , Alguns Documentos ( 1892), pp. 66-68, is from a manuscript in the National Archives at Lisbon. One or another of the above- mentioned texts will be found in various bullaria and other printed works.
Translations: English. The earliest English rendering is doubtless that published in 1555 in R. Eden translation of Peter Martyr (Pietro Martire d'Anghiera) , Decades of the Newe Worlde or West India. This version (together with the Latin text) is in J. Fiske, Discovery of America ( 1892), II. 580-593, and in A. B. Hart, American History told by Contemporaries ( 1897- 1901), I. 40-43. Other translations are in the Memorials of Columbus ( 1823), pp. 172-183, a translation of G. B. Spotorno, Codice Diplomatico Colombo-Americano ( 1823) ; B. F. Stevens , Christopher Columbus; his Own Book of Privileges, 1502 ( 1893), pp. 182-197; Dawson, op. cit., pp. 532-534; Thacher, op. cit., II. 141-153; and in Blair and Robertson, Philippine Islands ( 1903- 1909), I. 105-111. Spanish. Boletín del Centro de Estudios Ameri canistas de Sevilla,, año III., núm. 7 ( March-April, 1915) ; Navarrete, op. cit., II. 29-35.
References. Same as for Doc. 5.
Alexander episcopus, servus servorum Dei: carissimo in Christo filio Fernando regi, et carissime in Christo filie Elisabeth regine Castelle, Legionis, Aragonum, Sicilie, et Granate, illustribus, salutem et apostolicam benedic tionem.
Inter cetera Divine Majestati beneplacita opera et cordis nostri desidera bilia, illud profecto potissimum existit, ut fides Catholica et Christiana religio nostris presertim temporibus exaltetur, ac ubilibet amplietur et dilatetur, animarumque salus procuretur, ac barbare nationes deprimantur et ad fidem ipsam reducantur. Unde cum ad hanc Sacram Petri Sedem, divina favente clementia, meritis licet imparibus, evocati fuerimus, cognos centes vos, tanquam veros Catholicos reges et principes, quales semper fuisse novimus, et a vobis preclare gesta toti pene jam orbi notissima demonstrant, nedum id exoptare, sed omni conatu, studio, et diligentia, nullis laboribus, nullis impensis, nullisque parcendo periculis, etiam proprium sanguinem effundendo, efficere, ac omnem animum vestrum omnesque conatus ad hoc jam dudum dedicasse--quemadmodum recuperatio regni Granate a tyrannide Saracenorum hodiernis temporibus per vos, cum tanta Divini Nominis gloria facta, testatur--digne ducimur non immerito, et debemus illa vobis etiam sponte et favorabiliter concedere, per que hujusmodi sanctum et laudabile ac immortali Deo acceptum propositum in dies ferventiori animo ad ipsius Dei honorem et imperii Christiani propagationem prosequi valeatis. Sane ac cepimus quod vos, qui dudum animo proposueratis aliquas insulas et terras firmas, remotas et incognitas ac per alios hactenus non repertas, querere et invenire, ut illarum incolas et habitatores ad colendum Redemptorem nostrum et fidem Catholicam profitendum reduceretis, hactenus in expugnatione et recuperatione ipsius regni Granate plurimum occupati, hujusmodi sanctum et laudabile propositum vestrum ad optatum finem perducere nequivistis; sed tandem, sicut Domino placuit, regno predicto recuperato, volentes desiderium adimplere vestrum, dilectum filium Cristophorum Colon, virum utique dignum et plurimum commendandum, ac tanto negotio aptum, cum navigiis et hominibus ad similia instructis, non sine maximis laboribus et periculis ac expensis, destinastis, ut terras firmas et insulas remotas et incognitas hujus modi per mare, ubi hactenus navigatum non fuerat, diligenter inquireret; qui tandem, divino auxilio, facta extrema diligentia, in mari oceano navi gantes, certas insulas remotissimas, et etiam terras firmas, que per alios hactenus reperte non fuerant, invenerunt, in quibus quamplurime gentes, pacifice viventes, et, ut asseritur, nudi incedentes, nec carnibus vescentes, inhabitant; et, ut prefati nuntii vestri possunt opinari, gentes ipse in insulis et terris predictis habitantes credunt unum Deum Creatorem in cells esse, ac ad fidem Catholicam amplexandum et bonis moribus imbuendum satis apti videntur, spesque habetur quod, si erudirentur, nomen Salvatoris, Domini nostri Jhesu Christi, in terris et insulis predictis facile induceretur; ac pre fatus Cristophorus in una ex principalibus insulis predictis jam unam turrim satis munitam, in qua certos Christianos qui secum iverant, in custodiam, et ut alias insulas et terras firmas remotas et incognitas inquirerent, posuit, construi et edificari fecit; in quibusquidem insulis et terris jam repertis, aurum, aromata, et alie quamplurime res preciose diversi generis et diverse qualitatis reperiuntur. Unde omnibus diligenter, et presertim fidei Catholice exalta tione et dilatatione, prout decet Catholicos reges et principes, consideratis, more progenitorum vestrorum, clare memorie regum, terras firmas et insulas predictas illarumque incolas et habitatores, vobis, divina favente clementia, subjicere et ad fidem Catholicam reducere proposuistis. Nos igitur hujusmodi vestrum sanctum et laudabile propositum plurimum in Domino commen dantes, ac cupientes ut illud ad debitum finem perducatur, et ipsum nomen Salvatoris nostri in partibus illis inducatur, hortamur vos plurimum in Domino, et per sacri lavacri susceptionem, qua mandatis apostolicis obligati estis, et viscera misericordie Domini nostri Jhesu Christi attente requirimus, ut cum expeditionem hujusmodi omnino prosequi et assumere prona mente orthodoxe fidei zelo intendatis, populos in hujusmodi insulis et terris degentes ad Christianam religionem suscipiendam inducere velitis et debeatis, nec pericula, nec labores ullo unquam tempore vos deterreant, firma spe fiduciaque conceptis, quod Deus Omnipotens conatus vestros feliciter prosequetur. Et, ut tanti negotii provinciam apostolice gratie largitate donati liberius et audacius assumatis, motu proprio, non ad vestram vel atterius pro vobis super hoc nobis oblate petitionis instanciam, sed de nostra mera liberalitate et ex certa scientia ac de apostolice potestatis plenitudine, omnes insulas et terras firmas inventas et inveniendas, detectas et detegendas versus occidentem et meridiem, fabricatido et constituendo unam lineam a polo Arctico scilicet septentrione ad polum Antarcticum scilicet meridiem, sive terre firme et insule invente et inveniende sint versus Indiam aut versus aliam quancunque partem, que linea distet a qualibet insularum, que vulgariter nuncupantur de los Azores et Caboverde, centum leucis versus occidentem et meridiem, ita quod omnes insule et terre firme reperte et reperiende, detecte et detegende, a prefata linea versus occidentem et meridiem, per alium regem aut principem Christianum non fuerint actualiter possesse usque ad diem nativitatis domini nostri Jhesu Christi proxime preteritum a quo incipit annus presens millesi mus quadringentesimus nonagesimus tertius, quando fuerunt per nuntios et capitaneos vestros invente alique predictarum insularum, auctoritate Omnipotentis Dei nobis in beato Petro concessa, ac vicariatus Jhesu Christi, qua fungimur in terris, cum omnibus illarum dominiis, civitatibus, castris, locis et villis, juribusque et jurisdictionibus ac pertinentiis universis, vobis heredibusque et successoribus vestris, Castelle et Legionis regibus, in per petuum tenore presentium donamus, concedimus, et assignamus, vosque et heredes ac successores prefatos illarum dominos cum plena, libera, et omnimoda potestate, auctoritate, et jurisdictione, facimus, constituimus, et deputamus; decernentes nichilominus per hujusmodi donationem, conces sionem, et assignationem nostram nulli Christiano principi, qui actualiter Prefatas insulas aut terras firmas possederit usque ad predictuni diem Nativi tatis Domini nostri Jhesu Christi, jus quesitum sublatum intelligi posse aut auferri debere. Et insuper mandamus vobis in virtute sancte obedientie, ut, sicut etiam pollicemini et non dubitamus pro vestra maxima devotione et regia magnanimitate vos esse facturos, ad terras firmas et insulas predictas viros probos et Deum timentes, doctos, peritos, et expertos, ad instruendum incolas et habitatores prefatos in fide Catholica et bonis moribus imbuendum destinare debeatis, omnem debitam diligentiam in premissis adhibentes, ac quibuscunque personis cujuscunque dignitatis, etiam imperialis et regalis, status, gradus, ordinis, vel conditionis, sub excommunicationis late sententie pena, quam eo ipso si contrafecerint, incurrant, districtius inhibemus, ne ad insulas et terras firmas, invetas et inveniendas, detectas et detegendas versus occidentem et meridiem, fabricando et constituendo lineam a polo Arctico ad polum Antarc ticum, sive terre firme et insule invente et inveniende sint versus Indiam aut versus aliam quancunque pattern, que linea distet a qualibet insularum, que vulgariter nuncupantur de los Azores et Caboverde, centum leucis versus occidentem et meridiem, ut prefertur, pro mercibus habendis vel quavis alia de causa, accedere presumant absque vestra ac heredum et successorum vestrorum predictorum licentia speciali, non obstantibus constitutionibus et ordinationibus apostolicis, ceterisque contrariis quibuscunque, in Illo a quo imperia et dominationes ac bona cuncta procedunt confidentes, quod, dirigente Domino actus vestros, si hujusmodi sanctum et laudabile propositum pro sequamini, brevi tempore, cum felicitate et gloria totius populi Christiani, vestri labores et conatus exitum felicissimum consequentur. Verum, quia difficile foret presentes litteras ad singula queque loca in quibus expediens fuerit deferri, volumus, ac motu et scientia similibus decernimus, quod illarum transumptis manu publici notarii inde rogati subscriptis, et sigillo alicujus persone in ecclesiastica dignitate constitute, seu curie ecclesiastice munitis, ea prorsus fides in judicio et extra ac alias ubilibet adhibeatur, que presentibus adhiberetur, si essent exhibite vel ostense. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostre commendationis, ortationis, requisitionis, donationis, concessionis, assignationis, constitutionis, deputationis, decreti, mandati, in hibitionis, et voluntatis, infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attemptare presumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei ac beatorum Petri et Pauli apostolorum ejus se noverit incursurum.
Datum Romeapud Sanctum Petrum, anno Incarnationis Dominice mil lesimo quadringentesimo nonagesimo tertio, quarto nonas Maii, pontificatus nostri anno primo.
Gratis de mandato sanctissimi Domini nostri pape.
Alexander, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to the illustrious sovereigns, our very dear son in Christ, Ferdinand, king, and our very dear daughter in Christ, Isabella, queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Sicily, and Granada, health and apostolic benediction. Among other works well pleasing to the Divine Majesty and cherished of our heart, this assuredly ranks highest, that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be 22
cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself. Wherefore inasmuch as by the favor of divine clemency, we, though of insufficient merits, have been called to this Holy See of Peter, recognizing that as true Catholic kings and princes, such as we have known you always 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 shed ding even of your blood, are laboring to that end; recognizing also that you have long since dedicated to this purpose your whole soul and all your en deavors--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 Saracens-- we therefore are rightly led, and hold it as our duty, to grant you even of our own accord and in your favor those things whereby with effort each day more hearty you may be enabled for the honor of God himself and the spread of the Christian rule to carry forward your holy and praiseworthy purpose so pleasing to immortal God. We have indeed learned that you, who for a long time had intended to seek out and discover certain islands and main lands remote and unknown and 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 their residents and inhabitants, having been up to the present time greatly engaged in the siege and recovery of the kingdom itself of Granada were unable to accomplish this holy and praiseworthy purpose; but the said kingdom having at length been regained, as was pleasing to the Lord, you, with the wish to fulfill your desire, chose our beloved son, Christo pher Columbus, a man assuredly worthy and of the highest recommendations and fitted for so great all undertaking, whom you furnished with ships and men equipped for like designs, not without the greatest hardships, dangers, and expenses, to make diligent quest for these remote and unknown main lands and islands through the sea, where hitherto no one had sailed; and they at length, with divine aid and with the utmost diligence sailing in the ocean sea, discovered certain very remote 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, and not eating flesh. Moreover, as your aforesaid envoys are of opinion, these very peoples living in the said islands and countries believe in one God, the Creator in heaven, and seem sufficiently disposed to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good morals. And it is hoped that, were they instructed, the name of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, would easily be introduced into the said countries and islands. Also, on one of the chief of these aforesaid islands the said Christo pher has already caused to be put together and built a fortress fairly equipped, wherein he has stationed as garrison certain Christians, companions of his, who are to make search for other remote and unknown islands and mainlands. In the islands and countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and very many other precious things of divers kinds and qualities. Wherefore, as becomes 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 main lands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and to bring them to the Catholic faith. Hence, heartily commending in the Lord this your holy and praiseworthy purpose, and desirous that it be duly accomplished, and that the name of our Savior be carried into those regions, we exhort you very earnestly in the Lord and by your reception of holy baptism, whereby you are bound to our apostolic commands, and by the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, enjoin strictly, that inasmuch as with eager 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 or hardships deter you therefrom, with the stout hope and trust in your hearts that Al mighty God will further your undertakings. And, in order that you may enter upon so great an undertaking with greater readiness and heartiness endowed with the benefit of our apostolic favor, we, of 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 and out of the fullness 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, should any of said islands have been found by your envoys and captains, 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 villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be dis covered 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 be distant one hundred leagues towards the west and south from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cape Verde. With this proviso how ever that none of the islands and mainlands, found and to be found, dis covered 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 from which the present year one thousand four hundred and ninety-three begins. And we make, appoint, and depute you and your said heirs and successors lords of them with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind; with this proviso how ever, that by this our gift, grant, and assignment no right acquired by any Christian prince, who may be in actual possession of said islands and main lands prior to the said birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, is hereby to be understood to be withdrawn or taken away. Moreover we command you in virtue of holy obedience that, employing all due diligence in the premises, as you also promise--nor do we doubt your compliance therein in accordance with your loyalty and royal greatness of spirit--you should appoint to the aforesaid mainlands and islands worthy, God-fearing, learned, skilled, and experienced men, in order to instruct the aforesaid inhabitants and residents in the Catholic faith and train them in good morals. Furthermore, under penalty of excommunication late sententie to be incurred ipso facto, should anyone 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 suc cessors, to go for the purpose of trade or any other reason to the islands or 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 toward any other quarter whatsoever, the said line to be distant one hundred leagues towards the west and south, as is aforesaid, from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cape Verde; apostolic constitutions and ordinances and other decrees whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. We trust in Him from whom empires and governments and all good things proceed, that, should you, with the Lord's guidance, pursue this holy and praiseworthy undertaking, in a short while your hardships and endeavors will attain the most felicitous result, 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 desir able, we wish, and with similar accord and knowledge do decree, that to copies of them, signed by the hand of a public notary commissioned there for, 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 any where else as would be given to these presents should they thus be exhibited or shown. Let no one, therefore, infringe, or with rash boldness contravene, this our recommendation, exhortation, requisition, gift, grant, assignment, constitution, deputation, decree, mandate, prohibition, and will. Should any one presume to attempt this, 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 St. Peter's, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 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.
June. For the referendary, For J. BUFOLINUS, A. DE MUCCIARELLIS. A. SANTOSEVERINO. L. PODOCATHARUS.
- Doc. 6.
- Doc. 5. For some unknown reason the bull of May 4 was antedated by several weeks. It was expedited in June, and thus is actually to the bull, Eximiae devo tionis, which, also antedated, was expedited in July. Vander Linden, "Alexander VI. and the Demarcation". American Historical Review, XXII. 3-8.
- The following text is from the original manuscript of the promulgated bull, pre served in the Archives of the Indies at Seville, Patronato, 1-1-1, no. 3. Variant readings are given from the text of the Vatican register, reproduced in facsimile in Heywood, Documeta Selecta. Words in this bull, not in the bull Inter caetera of May 3, 1493, are printed in italics.
- The Vatican text reads vestri.
- The Vatican text reads lex.
- The Vatican text reads deducantur.
- The Vatican text reads tam.
- Cf. Doc. 5, note 7.
- The Vatican text reads duximus.
- Note the several intances of the introduction of this adjective.
- Cf. Doc. 5, note 8.
- Cf. ibid., note 9.
- The Vatican text reads quibusdam.
- The Vatican text reads et.
- Cf. Doc. 1, note 38.
- Of the many commentaries on the phrase, "versus occidentem et meridiem", the best appears to be that of Vander Linden, in his article on "Alexander VI. and the Demarcation" in the American Historical Review, XXII. 1-20.
- It is highly probable that this line was suggested by Columbus. Cf. Dawson, Lines of Demarcation, pp. 491-493; and Vander Linden, op cit.
- A discussion of ancient and medieval measures of length, including the marine league, is in Dawson, Lines of Demarcation, pp. 502-517, 545, 546. Kretschmer calcu lates that, reckoning a league as equal to four Roman or Italian miles, each equal to about 1480 metres, and counting from San Antonio, the most westerly of the Cape Verde Islands, the longitude of the first demarcation line was 31° west. Entdeckung, p. 303.
- The Vatican text reads in.
- The Vatican text omits Domino.
- The reading of these names is due to Professor Vander Linden, whose article in the American Historical Review, XXII. 1-20, contains information concerning the signa tories of this bull.
- See Doc. 5, note 19.