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Upon Columbus’s arrival in Seville to report his discovery and claiming of Hispaniola, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain dispatched ambassadors to Pope Alexander VI, appealing to his authority as head of the Roman Catholic Church to validate Spanish claims and define Spanish and Portuguese spheres of exploration. Romania Metro Map The pope, a Spaniard, quickly issued three papal bulls over the summer of 1493, giving Spain Columbus’s discoveries and defining the line between Spain and Portugal’s claims as 100 leagues (1 league equals 3 miles) southwest of the Azores and Cape Verde islands.

Portuguese King Jao II was furious. The pope’s decision defined no westward limit, thus cutting into Portuguese claims in India, and limiting Portuguese navigation to routes around the Cape of Good Hope. Instead of relying on the Vatican’s pronouncements, the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies exchanged ambassadors in order to arrange a state treaty to address the problem. The Spanish accredited Garcia de Carvajal and Rodrigo Maldonado de Talavera, an expert on Columbus’s original proposal to cross the Atlantic, while Portugal sent Ruy de Sousa and Arias de Almadana.

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