Treaty of Tordesillas

Front page of the Portuguese-owned treaty
Front page of the Portuguese-owned treaty

Historical Context

The treaty signed at Tordesillas in Spain in 1494 between Spain and Portugal divided up newly discovered lands between the two sea-faring powers along a meridian 370 leagues backed up by Papal bulls.

This line stretched pole to pole west of the Verde Islands. Spain was to take all lands to the west, including Christopher Columbus' new discoveries, and Portugal to the east, including the coast of Africa. It later enabled Portugal to claim the coast of Brazil. Other European nations never accepted the treaty or its terms.

Document Info


Location signed: Tordesillas, Valladolid, Spain

Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa

Related Events

  • 1494-06-07 Treaty of Tordesillas: Spain and Portugal divide the new world along a meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands, off the west coast of Africa

Historical Documents