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THE DIPLOMATIC HISTORY
OF AMERICA






Csj cO ^ ^



THE

DIPLOMATIC HISTORY



OF



AMERICA

ITS FIRST CHAPTER
145214931494



BY

HENRY HARRISSE



LONDON: 4, TRAFALGAR SQUARE

B. F. STEVENS, PUBLISHER

1897



o



H3



CHISW1CK PRESS ; CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.



TO

COLONEL JOHN HAY

AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES

TO ENGLAND
A DIPLOMATIST AND FRIEND OF

THIRTY YEARS STANDING
THIS WORK IS CORDIALLY DEDICATED

BY
THE AUTHOR



CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

I. THE PAPAL GRANTS TO PORTUGAL.

14521484 i

II. SPAIN ASKS THE POPE FOR A GRANT
OF THE NEWLY - DISCOVERED
REGIONS. 1493 n

III. THE THREE BULLS OF MAY, 1493 l ^

IV. ALLEGED PROTEST OF PORTUGAL

AT ROME 27

V. THE BULL OF DEMARCATION NOT

"RIDICULOUS" 40

VI. SPAIN SENDS AN EMBASSY OF

OBEDIENCE 49

VII. THE FOURTH BULL OF 1493 55
VIII. SIGNING OF THE TREATY OF TOR-

DESILLAS 70

IX. ALLEGED PARTITION OF THE GLOBE 74
X. COLUMBUS AND THE TREATY OF

TORDESILLAS 80

XI. SPANISH INTERPRETATION OF THE

TREATY OF TORDESILLAS . . 85
XII. FERRER S THEORY 91

XIII. THE FIRST TRACING OF THE

DEMARCATION LINE .... 98

XIV. THE THEORY OF ENCISO . . . 103



viii Contents.

CHAP. PAGE

XV. WHAT is THE RIVER MARANON ? 109
XVI. ENCISO S GEOGRAPHICAL DESCRIP
TION 117

XVII. THE MARANON AND THE MAR-

ANHAO 124

XVIII. SPANISH RULING AT BADAJOZ . . 132
XIX. THE DEMARCATION LINE IN

SPANISH MAPS 141

XX. THE OFFICIAL MODEL MAP . . 145

CONCLUSIONS 152

NOTES 155



The Diplomatic History of
America ^ ;



i.

THE PAPAL GRANTS TO PORTUGAL.
14521484.

WHEN Christopher Columbus first re
turned to Europe after discovering
America, stress of weathercompelled him
to seek shelter in Portugal. On March 4,
1493, he cast anchor at the mouth of
the Tagus. Having asked Joao II. leave
to ascend the river as far as Lisbon, the
king, in reply, invited him to repair to
the Court. The interview took place
at Valparaiso, March 9, in the evening,
immediately upon his arrival,
B



2 "The Diplomatic History

After Columbus had related to the
king the objeft and results of his trans
atlantic voyage, His Majesty told him
that in consequence of the treaty which
he had concluded * with the sovereigns
of Spain, the discovery embraced coun
tries which belonged to Portugal. 2
, !The treaty referred to is evidently
that negotiated by Isabella of Castille
at Alcantara with Beatrice of Portugal,
the latter ailing in the name of Alfonso V.,
and which was signed at Evora, Sep
tember 8, H79- 3

This agreement did not warrant the
inferences drawn from it by Joao II.
As to historians, they have been led
into error by Ruy de Pina, a celebrated
Portuguese chronicler of the close of the
fifteenth century, whom they all copy
servilely. According to the statements
of Pina, Alfonso V., besides the posses
sion of the Portuguese islands in the
Atlantic Ocean, possessed, by virtue of
that treaty^ the exclusive right of making
discoveries and conquests in the regions



of America 3

extending at the south, from Capes Noun
and Bojador to the [countries of the]
Indians inclusively, including all the
adjacent seas, isles and coasts discovered
and to be discovered. 4

If such had actually been the tenor of
the Treaty of 1479, and considering the
vague idea which people then had of
the geography of the " adjacent seas,"
and the countries of the " Indians," the
claims of Portugal might perhaps have
exhibited a show of right. But such
was not the case. - This agreement, ac
cording to the authentic text, which we
borrow from a manuscript of the close
of the fifteenth century, grants in that
respect to Portugal only the sovereignty
of the Oceanic islands then possessed by
that kingdom, together with the sove
reignty of the islands which the Portu
guese might discover and acquire within
the limits of the sai d possessions : "emos
ditos termos." 5 In other words, this
prospective sovereignty was to be exer
cised only in the vicinity of the Azores,



4 The Diplomatic History

X Cape Verde Islands and Guinea. No
where in the treaty is to be found any
reference to parts extending " atee os
Indies" (as far as the Indians). And



islands, coasts, and adjacent seas"
are mentioned, the expression is meant
to apply exclusively to the islands, coasts
and seas which Portugal might discover
in the Atlantico- African regions.

Ruy de Pina says that Joao II. asked
and obtained from Pope Sixtus IV. the
confirmation of that clause of the treaty,
which assertion is exaft. We find
this confirmation in the Bull of June 21,
/ 148 1, but in the very terms of the Treaty
of 1479; that is, without the words:
" atee os Indios." And if we aftually
read in said Bull : " mare ipsum usque
ad Indos " (seas as far as the Indians), 6
it is only as regards spiritual jurisdiction
over those regions, granted, for the first
time, by that Bull of 1481, two years
after the treaty, to the Lusitanian Order
of Christ. The mistake committed by
Pina may have originated by confusing



of America 5

the tenor of the Bull with that of the
treaty, as well as by an erroneous inter
pretation of a single word in the Latin
text. Where we read " emos ditos
termos," the Bull says : " ultra in ditis
terminis," and the word ultra was inter
preted by Pina and others, in the sense
of beyond, whilst in reality it has no other
meaning here than that of hereafter.

In reply Columbus stated to Joao II.
that he had not seen the treaty; that
he only knew of the order of his sove
reigns to steer clear of The Mine 7 and of
the whole of Guinea, and that Their
Highnesses had caused the said order
to be made known in all the ports of
Andalusia before he set out on his voyage
of discovery. 8

The countries designated in that order,
and the reply of Columbus, show that
in Spain importance was given not so
much to the treaty as to the restrictions
tacitly contained in certain papal Bulls,
which we shall now proceed to examine.

The first Bull of that kind is one by



6 T he Diplomatic History

j^t 1 Nicholas V., dated June 18, 1452, which
/ authorizes Alfonso to attack and subju
gate all the countries of infidels, to reduce
\ all their inhabitants to slavery, and to seize
all their property. 9 Here no limits are
mentioned ; the authorization applies to
the countries inhabited by infidels, any
where in the world, and the authoriza
tion is not granted exclusively to the
Portuguese king, although no reference
is made therein to other Christian sove
reigns.

Another Bull from the same pope is

* dated January 8, 1454. In reply to the
intention expressed by Prince Henry
of Portugal to discover a route at the
south and east as far as the countries
of the Indians, Nicholas V. grants to
Alfonso V. all the regions discovered
and to be discovered south of Capes
Bojador and Noun, towards Guinea, and
all those which are " on the south coast
and on the east side." 10

An expression, which again requires
to be noted, is " usque ad Indos " (as far



of America 7

as the Indians). As in this Bull men
tion is made of the south and east of
Africa, we must infer that so early as
1454, that is to say, more than thirty
years before the expedition of Bartholo
mew Diaz, the Portuguese already enter
tained the project of rounding the African
continent at the south, and of reaching
by that route what they called the regions
of India. Everything, we must confess,
was calculated to prompt the desire.
Not only was there a current belief
dating from the highest antiquity that
such a feat could be accomplished, but
its practicability was made clear by the
old planispheres ; such, for instance, as
Marin Sanuto s, 1306, the Medicean,
1351, the one in the Biblioteca Palatina,
etc., all of which were soon to be con
firmed in that respect by the delineation
of the " Capo di Diab " in the famous
mappamundi of Fra Mauro (1457

*459)- u

A third Bull is the already mentioned

one of Sixtus IV., of June 21, 1481,



8 The Diplomatic History

/ whereby he concedes to the Order of
/ Christ spiritual jurisdiction over all the
countries conquered or to be conquered
south of Cape Bojador as far as the
[countries of the] Indians. This Bull
reproduces literally, as regards the regions
conceded, the terms of the Bull of
Nicholas V., of January 8, H54. 12

The series terminates with the Bull
of Innocentius VIII., of September 12,
1484, which is another confirmation of
the Bulls above mentioned, all of which
contain the expression which seems to
have been the point of dispute, viz. :
" usque ad Indos" (as far as the Indians).

In reality, Columbus only claimed
to have landed in India ; since his letter
to Ferdinand and Isabella apprising them
of the success of his expedition states
that "in thirty-three days he had reached
the Indies." 18 The Latin version of this
letter, which was made at the time,
even specifies the region discovered as
being " the islands of India beyond the
\Ganges." u



of America 9

It must be stated, however, that the
word " Indies " was then a geographical
expression extremely vague, for the
Spaniards as well as for the Portuguese
and Italians. It seems to have been in
their eyes the entire region extending
from the east coast of Africa to China
and Japan. 15 But in the present instance
Portugal should have taken into account
that the papal grants covered only the
countries to be discovered by her navi
gators in an area extending from the
western African coast towards the south,
and as far as the shores of the adjoining seas I
eastwards : " Occeanum Mare meridion-
alis et orientales plagas ; " whilst Colum
bus had accomplished his discoveries
exclusively on the opposite side of the
world. This faft could not escape the
attention of the cosmographers of the
Crown of Portugal. We must infer,
therefore, that Joao II. considered him
self as possessing, by virtue of those
Bulls, exclusive rights over that immense
portion of the globe stretching from



io The Diplomatic History

Guinea to the southern extremity of the
coast of Africa, and thence eastwards to
the most remote parts of India. It also
follows that in his opinion, the memor
able deed of Christopher Columbus
consisted only in having visited those
countries by a new route. Hence the
demands, more or less justifiable, of that
king.



of America 1 1



II.

SPAIN ASKS THE POPE FOR A GRANT
OF THE NEWLY-DISCOVERED REGIONS.

H93-

COLUMBUS landed at Palos in the after
noon of Friday, March 15, 1493. He
apparently remained in the place two
weeks, since his arrival at Seville is
recorded only on March 3i, 16 on Palm
Sunday. It was there that he received
from the Catholic Sovereigns a letter
bidding him come to Barcelona.

We do not know exaftly when he
arrived at the court. Las Casas, 17 doubt
less copying the " Historic " of Fernando
Columbus, 18 says that it was in the
middle of April. It was rather, in our
opinion, towards the end of the month ;
for the invitation required at least a



1 2 The Diplomatic History

week to come from Barcelona to Seville,
and Columbus, in his turn, was obliged
to cross over nearly the entire peninsula,
slowly, on account of the six or seven
Indians who went with him and whom
he was obliged to exhibit to the crowds
which thronged all along the route.

[f we are to believe Fernando
Columbus, 19 it was his father who ad
vised Ferdinand and Isabella to appeal
to the Pope for the adjustment of the
difficulties just raised by Portugal on
account of his discovery of the New
World. This is another inexa<5t state
ment of the "Historic."

The mode employed by Columbus,
when he reached Europe, to convey the
great news to the Spanish sovereigns is
surrounded with mystery. We must

Relieve, however, that between March 4
and 12, he sent to them from the Ras-
tellb, in the Tagus, by the land route
(Elvas, Toledo, Tortosa, etc.) a written

iccount of his discovery, and that with
out waiting for his arrival in Barcelona




of America 13

they despatched at once a courier to
Rome, bearing the news for the Pope,
and letters for their resident ambassa
dors there, Bernardin de Carvajal and
Ruiz de Medina.

The news, however, was already known,
not through mere rumours, but actually
by written communications, first at
Florence by the end of March, 20 then on
April 1 1 21 and i8 22 at Venice, where the
legate was already in possession, even at
such an early date, of Columbus s own
account " dated on board his caravel, in
sight of the Canary island, February 15."
Let us recall, by the way, that this date and
address are taken literally from the official
account translated April 29, 1493, f rom
Spanish into Latin, by Leandro de Cosco,
at Rome, where it was immediately
printed. Now at these dates Columbus
had not yet arrived in Barcelona, or, if
at one of them he was actually there, it
could not be early enough to permit the
legate at Venice to have received by
April 1 8, from Rome, the account



14 The Diplomatic History

brought by Columbus himself to the
Spanish court. Again, we can scarcely
admit that he would have communi
cated his official report to strangers, and
even to the Pope, before submitting it
to his sovereigns. It was therefore by
Ferdinand and Isabella that this docu
ment was forwarded to Rome, and in the
package containing the diplomatic dis
patch which they must have sent on this
occasion to their ambassadors.

Columbus, in sending his report to
Ferdinand and Isabella (under cover to
their treasurer, Gabriel Sanchez), may
have informed them at the same time of
the claims which Portugal intended to
put forward ; but neither documents
nor chronicles known at this day con
tain the least information on the sub
ject. Nor are there any traces of pro
ceedings to that end on the part of
the ambassadors of Joao II. at the Court
of Spain in 1493. And the action of
Ferdinand and Isabella in bringing the
matter immediately before the Pope



of America 15

was natural in the fifteenth century
when Christian princes were accustomed
to place their territorial conquests or
discoveries at the feet of his Holiness
before entering on absolute possession. 23



1 6 T6e Diplomatic History



III.

THE THREE BULLS OF MAY, 1493.

THE efforts of Bernardin de Carvajal and
Ruiz de Medina, the regular Spanish
ambassadors at Rome, were crowned
with success about a month after they
had received the instructions sent from
Barcelona by the Spanish sovereigns. 24
The two diplomatists were instructed to
obtain, according to the general custom, 25
the donation of the newly-discovered
countries. The Church was then ac
knowledged to be the only power pos
sessing such a right, either in conse
quence of the pretended edidt of Con-
stantine conferring on Pope Sylvester
the sovereignty over all the islands of
the globe ; or by virtue of the authority
of the Almighty alleged to have been



of America 17

given to popes in the person of Saint
Peter, and which they claim to enjoy in
this world as the vicars of Jesus Christ.

Alexander VI. made the requested
grant by three Bulls, amounting in
substance to two only, all of which
have reached us. These are " privi
leges," which were issued in the parti
cular form of the small Bulls, called by
the pontifical chancery tituli^ or gracious
ads.

The first of these privileges (A), or
Bull inter catera of May 3, I493, 27
grants to Spain the countries which
Columbus had recently discovered, and
those which he hoped yet to discover in
the West. This donation is made, " be
cause of all works, the most agreeable to
divine Majesty is that the Christian re
ligion should be exalted and spread every
where ; that the salvation of the human
soul should be secured in all countries,
and that barbarous nations should be
subjugated and converted to the Catholic
faith."



1 8 The Diplomatic History

The second of those privileges (B), or
first 28 Bull eximite devotionis, has been
taken by the few historians who have
mentioned it as a simple invoice sent
with Bulls A and C when they were
forwarded to Spain. The mistake doubt
less arose from the fact that Raynaldi,
who published it, 29 borrowed his text
from the register called Common Letters
(Littera communes), which certain critics
imagine to contain correspondence. But
it is a real Bull, certainly issued with the
same formalities as A and C, although
in substance it is only a sort of con
densation of A. The pontifical privi
leges were often accompanied by a
second littera^ shorter than the first, and
of which it was, in fact, the notification.
In the present instance, this is shown by
the phrase, " prout in nostris inde con-
fectis literis plenius continetur " (as is
more amply contained in our letters
executed to that effect), which is a re
ference to Bull A, and corresponds with
the expression in English and American



of America 19

legal documents : " as will more fully
appear by referring to the original
deed."

Yet, this litter a was not exaclly an
abridgment of the primary Bull, re
sembling, for instance, the abstracts of
testaments, grants, bills of sale, or con
veyances, which our recorders deliver
constantly. The pontifical chancery
drafted anew important Bulls, but in a
condensed form, which, precisely like the
prototype, were transcribed in full in its
registers. These were also legalized, not
simply as being " true copies," or mere
abstracts, but as authentic originals.

The present B, which is one of those
original documents, bears in the registers
the visa of Johannes Nilis, notary of
the auditors of the Rota, and that of
Domenico Galleti, apostolical scribe. It
might be called a Papal Bull for common
use. Copied many times over by a notary
public, and sealed by certain ecclesiastical
dignitaries, these were doubtless carried
by the officers of the Spanish or Portu-



2o The Diplomatic History

guese Crown in their maritime expedi
tions, to be exhibited at the first requisi
tion, whilst the originals, both of this
instrument and of the ample and more
solemn Bull, were preserved in the Royal
archives.

As this small Bull, so to speak, is more
concise and clearer without being less
complete, so far as the subject-matter is
concerned, than the Bull inter ccetera^ of
May 3 (A), we give it here in English.
Upon the whole, this document may be
considered the starting-point of the diplo
matic History of America.

" Alexander, etc. To our most dear beloved
son in Christ, King Ferdinand, and to our
most dear beloved daughter in Christ, Isabella,
Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Granada,
illustrious sovereigns, Greeting, etc.

" The sincerity of your remarkable affection
and the purity of the faith with which you
venerate us and the Church of Rome, justly
deserve that We should kindly grant unto
you the means of prosecuting your godly and
laudable purpose and the enterprise initiated



of America 21

for the search of lands and distant and un
known islands under circumstances more and
more advantageous for the glory of the Al
mighty God, the enlarging of the Empire of
Christ and the propagation of the Catholic
faith.

" Now therefore, We, out of our own
motion, certain knowledge and the plenitude
of our Apostolic power, have given, granted
and assigned unto you for ever all lands in
general and in particular and far remote and
unknown islands, situate westwards towards
the Ocean, discovered or to be discovered in
the future by you or your messengers sent for
that purpose, not without great labour, great
perils and heavy expenditures, [that is] the
lands which are not actually possessed by any
Christian prince, with the dominions, cities,
castles, places, farms, rights and jurisdiction
appertaining thereof, to you, your heirs and
successors, as is set forth more at length
in our [Apostolic] Letters drawn to that
effect. 80

" And as on the other hand, diverse privi
leges, favours, liberties, immunities, exemp
tions, powers, letters [/.<?., Bulls] and conces
sions were granted by the Holy See to several
Kings of Portugal who in the countries of



22 The Diplomatic History

Africa, Guinea, the Gold Mine and elsewhere,
have also discovered and acquired islands by
virtue of similar grants and donations to them
granted by the Holy See, We, desiring in full
justice and convenience that you, your heirs
and successors already named, should not enjoy
less favours, prerogatives and privileges, We, of
our own motion, and not at a request addressed
to us by you or one of you, but of our own
entire volition, knowledge and fullness of
Apostolic power, do by our pontifical authority
and by these presents, and by virtue of the
special gift of grace, grant that you, your heirs
and successors already mentioned, may in all
the islands and main lands thus discovered by
you or in your name, at the present day, and
to be discovered in the future, freely and
legitimately use, profit and enjoy, wholly and
everywhere, in general and in particular, the
favours, privileges, exemptions, liberties,
powers, immunities, letters and concessions
granted in the same manner to the Kings of
Portugal, all the clauses of which We desire
to be considered as if they were inserted word
for word in these presents, and sufficiently set
forth and inserted just as if they had been
specially granted to you, your heirs and suc
cessors already mentioned, and we extend the



of America 23

same wholly and for every part, to you, your
heirs and successors already mentioned, grant
ing and conveying the same in like form for
ever, notwithstanding the pontifical edicts and
ordinances as well as grants made in the letters
granted to the Kings of Portugal, and not
withstanding all impediments whatever.

<c But forasmuch as it would be very
difficult for the present letters to be carried to
all such places as should be expedient, We
will and decree of our like volition and know
ledge, that the transcripts of these presents,
penned by a notary public thereunto required
and provided with the seal of any person
clothed with ecclesiastical dignity, or the seal
of an ecclesiastical court, the same faith and
credit shall be given thereunto in judgment
or elsewhere and every where, just as if these
presents were shown and exhibited.

" It shall therefore be lawful for no man to
infringe the tenor of our favors, extension,
grant, concession, determination and degree,
etc. And if any one should presume to at
tempt it, let him know that he shall thereby
incur the indignation of God Almighty and
of his holy apostles Peter and Paul. 31

" Given at St. Peter s of Rome, in the year
one thousand and ninety three, the fifth of the



24 The Diplomatic History

nones of May [/ .<?., May 3 d ], the first year of
our pontificate [i.e., 1493].

" Gratis, by order of our most saintly
sovereign, the pope.

"D. GALLETI.

Io. Nilis." 32

By the Bulls A and B, just described,
it is seen that Alexander VI. had granted
to the Catholic Sovereigns the islands
and continents recently discovered, as
well as those which might be discovered
thereafter by their agents, but which
were not yet under the sway of other
Christian princes. And by those islands
and continents the Pope intended the
western regions, towards [the countries
of] the Indians, in the Oceanic sea:
" per partes occidentales ut dicitur ver
sus Indos, in mari Occeano."
* Apparently, within the twenty-four
hours which followed the publication of
the two Bulls, Alexander VI., May 4,
published a third, Bull C. 83 By this
the Atlantic dominion of Spain, which,
according to the two Bulls of May 3,



of America 25

might have commenced, striftly speak
ing, with the very seaboards of Europe,
and extended uninterruptedly westwards
(excluding, however, the possessions of
Christian princes), was made to begin
to the west of a meridian one hundred
leagues west and south of the Azores
and of Cape Verde : " Quae linea distet
a qualibet insularum, qua? vulgariter
nuncupantur de los Azores y Cabo Verde
[sic] centum leucis versus occidentem
et meridiem." These terms, half Latin,
half Spanish, have puzzled geographers.
In faft, they are vague or contradictory.
True it is that the expression in the same
Bull : " a polo Arftico, scilicet Septem-
trione ad polum Antarfticum" (from the
Ardtic pole, that is, the north pole, to
the Antardlic one), indicates clearly that
the space conceded by the Bull extended
north and south of the Azores and Cape
Verde. But this rather complicates the
difficulty, as there is a difference of at


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