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We are fain to believe that Enciso
put in practice his geodetic notions, and
based his location of the Line upon
mathematical results, as we have just
done. At all events, besides the data
which we have extracted from his
" Suma" he sets forth geographical state
ments regarding the place where, on
his sphere, the divisional line was
located, viz. :

i st. From Cape St. Augustine to the

io8 *The Diplomatic History

Rio Maranon there are three hundred
of his leagues.

2nd. From this Rio Maranon to the
river called the Mar Dulce, there are
twenty-five leagues.

3rd. The limit between Spain and
Portugal is three hundred and seventy
leagues west of Fogo, terminating, on
the continent, between the Rio Maranon
and the Mar Dulce.

4th. That limit is near the Mar

It remains to be ascertained whether
these broad statements of Enciso agree
with his hydrographical data ; and, if
not, which of those elements of discus
sion the critic must seleft to solve the

of America 1 09



As we have just seen, Enciso states that
the terminus westwards of the 270
leagues additional conceded by Spain to
Portugal in 1494, stood "between the
Rio Marafion and the Rio de la Mar
Duke, but near the latter."

Strange as it may seem, the gist of the
entire question is in that single word
" Maranon," not only as regards Enciso,
but with all the cosmographers, states
men and historians of the first half,
at least, of the sixteenth century.

To comprehend the exaft bearing of
the statement, we must first group, in
chronological order, the earliest notices
known of the " Mar Dulce " and of the
" Marafion." These notices also require

1 1 o The Diplomatic History

to be subdivided into two sections, viz. :
written or verbal statements, and carto
graphical delineations.

The first official mention is contained
in the letters patent granted to Vincente
Yanez Pinzon for a second expedition,
September 5, 1501, in which Ferdinand
and Isabella say to him :

" You have discovered certain islands
and firm land to which you gave the
following names : Santa Maria de la
Consolation and Rostro hermoso; thence,
in ranging the coast north-westerly, the
large river which you named Santa
Maria de la Mar Dulce, with the islands
within the mouth of the said river, called
Marina tambula" 113

The next mention is in Peter Martyr s
first description of the discovery, written
only one year after the event :

" They [Vincente Yanez Pinzon and
Arias Pinzon] found the sea to be of
fresh water, and searching whence that
fresh water came, they found an estuary
which enters the sea fifteen leagues with

of America 1 1 1

the greatest violence. In front of it,
before reaching the sea, there are many
islands. That region is called Marina-

Peter Martyr repeated that account
in the original Latin edition of his first
Decade (Hispali, 1511), adding a detail
which is of considerable importance,
viz. : " The region in the east part of
that river is called Camomorus^ and the
west part, Paricora" 115

Later on, in his letter to Lope Hurtado
de Mendoza, December 1 8, 1 5 1 3, he en
larged on the great stream in this wise :

" After Columbus, the Spaniards, his
rivals, have discovered many rivers . . .
among which there is one of such extra
ordinary size that we find it difficult to
believe that its like exists in nature.
They pretend that it is eighty miles
wide . . . and not a maritime gulf,
since its waters are fresh. . . . Several
have ascended the river in their caravels
to a distance of fifty miles. Its native
name is Maragnon" 116

1 1 2 The Diplomatic History

This statement is corroborated in the
edition of the Decades published in 1 5 1 6,
whilst the geographical details of the
edition of 1511, are confirmed in the
second Decade where he says : "The
inhabitants call this river Maragnon^
and the adjacent regions Mariatambal^
Camamorus and Paricora"

We then find the data furnished by
the discoverer himself to Oviedo, before
1514, but not made known by the latter
until 1526, in these words :

" I have often heard the pilot Vincente
Yanez Pinzon say that he was the first
among Christians who saw the Rio
Mar anon , which he ascended in a cara
vel more than 20 leagues . . . and
that 40 leagues in the sea, he took in
fresh water from the said river." m

Nearly twenty years afterwards,
Oviedo added the following information:

" He [Pinzon] told me that they
landed in a province called Mariatanbal,
which is within the coast of the Maranon,
where there are many islands . . . and

of America 113

that he collected on the high sea fresh
water at a distance of thirty leagues
from shore, owing to the force and
fury with which that river enters the

sea." 118

The next point is to ascertain the
names first assigned to the mighty
stream. It is only through such an
inquiry that the critic may hope to
establish the identity existing between
the various representations in maps
(whatever may be their geographical
positions therein) and the early descrip
tions which we have given of the famous

It has been already seen that Vin-
cente Yafiez Pinzon called it " Saint
Mary of the Sea of Fresh Water," as
we suppose, from his having probably
discovered its estuary on the 25th of
March, which is the day of the Annun
ciation of the Virgin Mary. 119

This name was immediately abridged.
Juan de la Cosa, less than three months
after the return of Vincente Yanez Pinzon

1 1 4 The Diplomatic History

to Spain, 120 already calls the wonderful
river " Mar de agua do9e."

Peter Martyr, in his first description,
as reported by Angelo Trevisan in a
letter addressed December 1501, to Do-
menico Malipiero, fails to name the
river. But everything tends to show
that it was then generally called, as par
excellence, " the Great River." In the
maps of Cantino (1502), Canerio (1503),
and Ruysch (1508), it is labelled " Rio
grande ; " and there can be no mistake
regarding its identity, as in Canerio we
read close to it : " todo este mar he de
agua do9e." Peter Martyr himself,
although aware of its native name c< Mar-
aiion," inscribes the river in the map
added to the first Latin edition of his
first Decade as " rio grande."

In the great suit brought by the heirs
of Columbus against the Spanish Crown,
rogatory commissions (Protanzas) were
executed at Seville and Santo Domingo.
The sixth question was whether Vincente
Yanez Pinzon in 1501 "had entered the

of America 1 1 5

mouth of the great river whence came
the fresh water which enters the sea." 121
A number of witnesses who had been
with Pinzon in that voyage of discovery
spoke in their depositions of the famous
stream, but without giving it any other
name than " El Rio Grande del agua
dulze que entra en la mar" (the Great
River of the fresh water which enters
the sea). One, however, the pilot Juan
Rodriguez (Diego de Lepe s brother)
referred to " la costa en que entra el Rio
Grande y el Marano " (the coast in
which enters the Great River and the
Marano). The verb used here in the
singular indicates that " Rio Grande "
and " Marafion " were terms used syno
nymously. This we find demonstrated
still more explicitly by Luis del Valle,
in his deposition of O6tober i, 1515,
when he said : " fueron a dar al Rio
Grande que se llama Maranon " (they
went in quest of the Great River which
is called Maranon). These two names
were thus applied to the same river;

1 1 6 The Diplomatic History

but " Rio de Santa Maria de la Mar
Dulce " had been dropped, and replaced
by the name " Maranon." This altera
tion is corroborated by Oviedo when he
says of the Maranon that " for a time it
was called Mar dulfe." 122

Henceforth, in the current language
of seamen the great river went only by
the name of Maranon. Rodriguez de la
Calba, Garcia Ferrando, Cristobal Garcia,
Fernandez Colmenero, all companions
of Pinzon or of Diego de Lepe, both of
whom claimed to have discovered it,
when interrogated in 1515, and de
scribing its natural wonders, mention
but one stream in that locality, and
always call it " El Ryo Maranon."

of America 117



To sum up the preceding : There are on
the north coast of the South American
continent a river and its estuary, both so
wonderful as to be considered unique
in the world. They were discovered by
Vicente Yanez Pinzon, and called Rio
de Santa Maria de la Mar -Duke. This
was abbreviated first into Mar Dulce,
then into Rio Grande, and afterwards the
river went by the name of El Maranon^
which was its native name.

As to the stream, Enciso describes it
as follows :

" This river, which is called the Sea of
Fresh Water, hath 40 leagues in bredth
at the mouth, and carieth such abundance
of water that it entreth more than 20

1 1 8 The Diplomatic History

leagues into the sea, and mingleth not
itselfe with the salt water ; this bredth
goeth 25 leagues within the land, and
after it is divided into partes, the one
going towards the south-east, and the
other towards the south-west. That
which goeth towards the south east is
very deepe and of much water, and hath
a chanel ^ a league of breadth, that a
carack may go up through it and the
tydes be so swift that the ships have need
of good cables."

This description answers exactly to that
of the Amazona proper, and the identifi
cation is rendered still more precise by
the name Mar Dulce. But Enciso singu
larly complicates the question when he
states that the Line of Demarcation
" lies between the Rio Maranon and the
Mar Dulce, and near the Mar Dulce,
which is 25 leagues distant from the
Rio Maranon." In the opinion of
that cosmographer, therefore, the Mar
Dulce and the Maranon are two
different rivers, and not one only like

of America 119

the authorities quoted in the preceding

But what is this Maranon ? It cannot
be the Amazona, that being the Mar
Dulce, which Enciso describes as being
entirely distinct from the Maranon. A
first thought identified it with the eastern
mouth of the Amazona, now called the
Para river, reasoning in this wise :

Enciso says that from the Rio Ma
ranon to the river called Mar Dulce, there
is a distance of 25 leagues. Twenty-five
leagues of Enciso are equal to 27^7 of
our leagues. If we carry these 27^7
along the coast of Brazil, from Cape
Maguari, which is the western point of
the entrance of the Rio Para, we reach
the northern part of Mexiana island, in
the middle of the great mouth of the
Amazona. This would confirm, in a
measure, Enciso s statement. But the
hypothesis, which is so plausible at first
sight, had to be abandoned, on account
of the following objections :

Enciso states that the Mar Dulce at

I2O The Diplomatic History

its mouth is 60 leagues wide. Where
can we find this enormous aperture, if its
eastern mouth is subtracted from it, and
ascribed to the Maranon, which Enciso
describes as an entirely different river? 123
Nor can it be said that he meant to em
brace in those 60 leagues the extent of
the estuaries of the Amazona, together
with the area of fresh water in the sea
there, first, because his Maranon has
an estuary of its own, which he says
is " more than fifteen leagues wide ; "
then, because his Mar Dulce would no
longer be 60 but 100 leagues broad, viz. :
60 for itself -f- 15 for the Maranon -f
25 for the distance between these two
rivers, according to his own calculation.
Further, we are not convinced that
Enciso, or any navigator for many years
afterwards knew of the existence of the
eastern mouth of the Amazona or Para
river. All the descriptions and state
ments which we have quoted draw no
distinction whatever between the two
entrances of the Amazona. They refer

of America 121

to only one river there, which Peter
Martyr writes 124 of as "more than eighty
miles," and even " more than thirty
leagues " wide ; 125 whilst Pinzon him
self speaks of "a width of forty leagues. " J
These different figures, together with
the long omission in maps, as well as
in written accounts, of any other river
in the vicinity, prove that the navigators
of the period had overlooked the entrance
of the Para river. Oviedo is the first
writer who describes the eastern mouth
of the Amazona, and gives it a separate
name, viz. : Rio de Navidad. 127 And this
must have been done after 1 536, as at that
date no such name appears in the Padron
general, or Government Model Chart of
Chaves, 128 as described by Oviedo.

Let us also recollect the passage in
Enciso s description of the Mar Dulce,
where, after stating how wide it is even
twenty-five leagues from its mouth, he
adds that there the river is " divided
into parts, the one going towards the
south-east, and the other towards the

122 The Diplomatic History

south-west. 1 Had he known the exacT:
topography of that region, he would have
been aware of the fact that the south
east branch of the great stream likewise
runs northward, and forms an estuary
quite as wonderful as the western one. 129
This shows that in the days of Enciso
only the western branch of the Amazona
had been visited, and that by navigators
who sighted, without entering, the waters
which run eastwards and border the south
part of Marajo Island.

Finally, if Enciso s Marahon was the
eastern mouth of the Amazona, the Line
of Demarcation would no longer lie in
47 24 on his sphere, and 47 24 or 45
38 on our own (according to the method
adopted to determine this Line of De
marcation, viz. : either by its longitude
on Enciso s sphere, or by placing it 370
of Enciso s leagues west of Fogo) as must
be inferred from the data extracted from
his " Suma," but between 49 and 50 on
our sphere, and of course on his sphere,
as both spheres are concentrical.

of America 123

Is it that Enciso had in view not the
Maranon or Mar Dulce at all, but the
maritime region, situate east of the
eastern branch of the Amazona, and
designated on our maps under the name
of " Maranhao " ?

124 ^ e Diplomatic History



AT the outset, the reader should spread
before his eyes a modern chart of South
America, and notice on the north coast
of Brazil, in 45 longitude west, a fluvial
region, including a gulf, called Maranhdo
or Maranham. At the same time he
must observe, 5 west of it, the mouths
of the Amazona river. 130

We possess six maps of the first half of
the sixteenth century, which all set forth,
in the same longitude, on the north coast
of the South American continent, a very
large river entering the ocean, and called
Maranhon and Mar anon. These are :

The Mantua Planisphere (1525).
The Laurentiana mappamundi (1526).
The Anonymous Weimar map (1527).

of America 125

The two Ribeiros (1529).
Wolfenbuttel B. (circa i53o). 131

A remarkable peculiarity in that class
of maps is the position assigned to the
mouths and entire basin of the river
called therein Maranon. It corresponds
with the locality of the Gulf of Maranhao
in modern charts. Although Maranon
and Maranhao (or Maranham) are names
which greatly resemble each other, they
belong in facl: to regions entirely differ
ent and far apart. Yet it is incontest
able that the makers of those maps,
which are all of Sevillian origin, had
in view, exclusively, not the Gulf of
Maranhao, but the Mar Duke of Pinzon,
or real Amazona. This is shown by the
delineation in the Weimar map of 1527,
where the river is represented as being
of immense size, extending over twenty
degrees of latitude, and issuing out of
very high mountains ; by the total
absence in that class of maps of any other
large river west of their Maranon ; by
the west coast of the latter being labelled

1 26 The Diplomatic History

" Costa de Paricura " ; 132 and especially
by the legend inscribed in the Ribeiro
of Weimar under the representation of
the great stream : " The river Maranon
is very large, and ships enter it in fresh
waters, which they [first find] 20 leagues
in the sea." 133

It is scarcely necessary to say that in
nature the Maranhao and its adjoining
parts do not present any of the hydro-
graphical characteristics of the Rio de la
Mar Dulce of Pinzon, or of the Maranon
of Peter Martyr and even of Ribeiro
himself. Those characteristics, as re
ported by Pinzon, and corroborated by
the professional experience of seamen,
are among the most noted phenomena
in nature, viz : Fresh water found on
the high sea at such a great distance
from the mouths of the river, and the
tidal wonder, called by the Indians Pro-
roroca^ which suddenly puts ships in the
greatest danger of being wrecked.

The rivers which fall into the gulf
of Maranhao, viz. : the Paranahyba, the

of America 127

Tapicura, the Monim, and the Mearim,
are secondary streams, and the body of
waterwhich they discharge is scarcelyfelt
in the sea, which remains salt almost to
the shores of the gulf. 134

Nowhere, except in the region extend
ing from Caviana Island to the Cara-
paporis Channel, that is, more than eighty
leagues west of the Maranhao region,
is the prororoca ever felt. 135 Indeed,
it; is a question whether the name of
paricura given still by the natives to the
western border of the Amazona, is not
another term for the phenomenon. If
so, it would be one more proof that this
characteristic belongs to a maritime
region different from the Gulf of Mar

These facts force upon us the con
viction that the early Spanish cosmo-
graphers have inscribed by mistake the
Rio de la Mar Dulce, or real Maranon,
in the longitude and place of the Mar
anhao. Whether the error originated
with the latter name having been given

128 The Diplomatic History

originally by the natives to the gulf now
so called, or with a cartographical mis
conception dating very far back, and
constantly repeated, as was so often the
case in those days, we are unable to say.

One thing is certain, viz., that at an
early period there were Spanish maps,
now lost, which also exhibited a
Marafion where afterwards was located
the Maranhao. But in the opinion of their
makers it was not intended to supplant
the Rio de la Mar Dulce or Amazona ;
for in that class of maps they set forth
at the same time about five degrees west
of the pseudo-Maranon, or Maranhao of
to-day, fluvial delineations intended ex
pressly to represent Pinzon s great stream.
This is shown by the Italian Maggiolo
map of 1519, which, for its southern
regions, is clearly based upon a Spanish

In that valuable Italian map, besides
the Marafion, 136 inscribed in a locality
which corresponds with that of the
Maranhao, Maggiolo has delineated

of America 129

west of it, at a certain distance, a very
extensive estuary, dotted with islands,
and bearing the inscription : " La mar
dolce," which is the abbreviated form of
the name given by Pinzon to the great
river which he had discovered. Further,
the western banks of it are called " Costa
de Paricura," which, as we have seen*
Peter Martyr says positively 137 was the
name of the region commencing with
the western border of that river. The
identification therefore is complete.

To revert to Enciso. He evidently
wrote his " Suma " with a map before
him, and the date of this work, together
with the facT: that he makes of the
Maranon and Mar Duke two different
streams, lead to the belief that this map
was akin to Maggiolo s prototype. If
so, it likewise represented the pseudo-
Maranon in or about the longitude
where the Maranhao is inscribed in our
admiralty chart, and at a certain distance
west of it could also be seen a very large
aperture dotted with islands, duly labelled

130 "The Diplomatic History

" Mar Duke," and, doubtless, near the
latter the Line of Demarcation. Thus
can we account for Enciso s statement
that the divisional line is " between the
Rio Maranon and the Mar Dulce, in
the proximity of the Mar Dulce." We
are constrained, therefore, to interpret
his Maranon as meaning the Maranhao,
and the Mar Dulce as intended for what
is now called the Amazona.

But the distance between these two
rivers is, in reality, five degrees, equal
to 100 leagues ; whilst Enciso s " Suma"
states that the Mar Dulce is only 25
leagues distant from the Maranon. This
latter figure may but be a typographical
error in the book ; and just as in its de
scription of the distance between San
Thome and the Port of Higueras the
" Suma" prints 57 instead of 1 17, and
950 leagues instead of 1,950, so it gives
here for the distance between the Mar
Dulce and the Maranon 25 instead of
75 leagues. 138

On the other hand it must be stated

of America 131

that Enciso s hydrographical data do not
agree with this hypothesis of ours.
These constrain us to place the Line of
Demarcation, on his sphere, in 47 24 ;
which, when transferred to our sphere,
yield the longitude of 45 38 ; whilst
the theory of an error of 50 leagues
in the statement of the "Suma" (25
instead of 75) would carry the Line of
Demarcation about two degrees further
west. But we feel convinced that Enciso
did not base his statements upon geo
detic data collected previously. In other
words, he borrowed his distances only
from the map which was spread before
him. When we notice how erroneous
are the longitudes and meridians in all
the charts of the time, our supposition
may well serve to explain the discrep
ancies which we have noted in Enciso s
statements, independently of typograph
ical errors in his " Suma."

132 The Diplomatic History



JUDGING from Enciso s statement that
the divisional line " was near the Mar
Duke," and from the place assigned to
that Line in the first Portuguese 139 and
Spanish maps which exhibit it, we are
led to infer that its true location was
then universally believed to be east of
the Amazona river, and in its prox
imity. How near exactly is a question
which, as we have already said, never
was and can never be settled. But we
may retrace the genesis, so to speak, of
its delineation by its appearance in the
early Spanish charts.

It is probable that the location of the
dividing Line remained for a number
of years in those maps, and, apparently,

of America 133

in the Padron general, or model chart,
where we understand Enciso to have
placed it. The position was unmistak
able, being close to the vast estuary
called the Sea of Fresh Water. The
technical statements of cosmographers,
however, as regards its longitude, were
doubtless erroneous and shifting, accord
ing to their geodetic theories, which
may not have been precisely the same
for all and at all times.

Withal, the question did not lie dor
mant with the Spaniards, both as regards
the East and West. We possess a letter
from Alonzo de Zuazo, in which, so
early as January 22, 1518, he called the
attention of Charles V. to his rights in
the matter. It seems that Zuazo had
undertaken to ascertain scientifically
where the Line of Demarcation actually

" While tracing the lines, says he, I
found that Your Majesty was suffering
great wrongs in the mainlands of
Brazil, From Cape St. Augustine, thirty

1 34 The Diplomatic History

leagues at most may belong to the King
of Portugal ; yet he possesses more than
two hundred, from which he receives
annually more than twenty thousand
ducats in dye wood (brazil} and slaves.
I, to ascertain the fadt, sent at my own
cost a pilot to the said Cape, and found
that its position on the maps exceeded
by a hundred and thirty leagues what
it should be eastwards [sic pro west
wards?]" 140

Zuazo then refers to the Spice Islands
in this wise :

"There is another secret. In the
East, Portugal possesses much which be
longs to Your Majesty. Even the City
of Malaca, which has 25,000 inhabit
ants, belongs to you." m

Zuazo s statements are erroneous in
more than one respeft, and he did not
see that it was impossible to carry the
Demarcation Line further eastwards in
Brazil without making it recede pro
portionately from the Moluccas.

The discovery accomplished by Ma-

of America 135

gellan, the year following, by giving
Spain a route to the Spice Islands, gave
a new impetus to the question. Until
then a difference of three or four
degrees in favour of Portugal was prac
tically of little importance. No settle
ment had yet been attempted in or
about that part of the north coast of
South America where the partition line
was supposed to pass. 142 Now the ques
tion involved the ownership of the Spice

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