After Columbus returned from his first voyage in 1492, the Pope deemed it advisable to divide the sectors of exploration and colonization between Spain and Portugal, which were the only two countries actively exploring the world at that time, and which conveniently were also Catholic. Between Columbus’ second and third voyages, Pope Alexander VI issued a Papal bull authorizing the Treaty of Tordesillas on June 7, 1494. The treaty gave everything located beyond 370 leagues or exceeding 1,110 nautical miles west of Cape Verde to Spain for exploration, and everything east of this meridian went to Portugal.
The traditional trade route leading to Asia was overland, traveling east from the countries of Europe. Marco Polo established this trade route in the 13th century, but it required ships to carry the heavy loads of silks and spices. Henry the Navigator charted the course from Portugal to the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa. Five years after Columbus discovered the West Indies, Vasco da Gama rounded the southern point of Africa and discovered a sea route to India.
Because the lines of demarcation that were specified in the Treaty of Tordesillas did not encircle the Earth, the treaty was basically worthless. Concerned about a developing conflict between Portugal and Spain over the Maluku Islands or the Moluccas, formerly known as the Spice Islands, another treaty called the Treaty of Zaragoza was drafted. King John III of Portugal and Emperor Charles V of Spain signed the treaty on April 22, 1529. This gave control of discovery of most of Asia to Portugal, and the islands of the Pacific Ocean to Spain.
Photo Caption: Pope Alexander VI (visit Captain Hank Bracker Facebook account).
Captain Hank Bracker, who served with the U.S. Military Intelligence Corps, is the author of the multi-award winning book, “The Exciting Story of Cuba” has now written “Suppressed I Rise.” This book is for anyone interested in a very personal human view, of the history of World War II. A mother’s attempt to protect and raise her two young daughters in hostile NAZI Germany challenges her sensibilities and resourcefulness. Both books will be at the NYC Book Exhibit this summer between May 31st & June 2nd at the Jacob Javits Center, but are presently available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, BooksAMillion.com and many Independent Book Stores.