Tordesillas, Treaty of

(1494)
   Following the voyage to the West Indies by Columbus in Spain's service, a treaty between Spain and Portugal, which in effect divided the known world between the two Iberian states, was signed. A line of demarcation was set 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands, which gave Portugal claim to Brazil, yet to be discovered. Lands found by either country in the bounds of the other had to be surrendered. Portugal's lands were to the east of the line, Spain's to the west. A commission of representatives of the states' pilots, mariners, and astrologers would establish the line. This commission was assigned the task of sailing two caravels to the west within 10 months until they found land or had established the line. Bickering over the issue of how to determine the line of the Treaty of Tordesillas continued until at least 1777.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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  • Tordesillas — /tawrdd dhe see lyahs/, n. a town in NW Spain, SW of Valladolid: treaty (1494) defining the colonial spheres of Spain and Portugal. 6604 …   Useful english dictionary

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