European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies to 1648

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

13.
Treaty between Spain and Portugal, concluded at Vitoria, February 19, 1524. Ratification by the Emperor, February 27, 1524.

INTRODUCTION.

The attainment of India by the Portuguese incited the Spaniards to discover a strait leading westward to the Spice Islands. This was the purpose of Columbus's fourth voyage ( 1502-1504), and of several other Spanish expeditions, planned or undertaken in the following decade. The King of Portugal kept jealous watch of these enterprises and his protests caused at least one projected expedition of this kind to be postponed.1

In 1518 the Portuguese captain Magellan, who had served in the Far East, deeming himself ungratefully treated by King Emmanuel, transferred his allegiance to King Charles of Spain.2 On the ground that the Spice Islands ( Moluccas) lay on the Spanish side of the line of demarcation, he persuaded Charles to employ him to lead an expedition thither by the western route.3 Despite the King of Spain's assurances that his commanders were charged to respect existing international agreements touching the line of demarcation,4 Portugal strove to frustrate Magellan's negotiations, and, failing in this, to obstruct the execution of his project.5

These attempts failed and in November, 1521, the Spanish expedition, having discovered on the voyage the Ladrones and the Philippine Islands, reached the Moluccas, where the native rulers concluded treaties with the

____________________
1
His effectual protest against Pinzon's expedition planned in 1506 is noticed in H. Harrisse, Discovery of North America ( 1892), p. 730. For an account of early attempts to find a western passage to the Spice Islands see J. T. Medina, Sebastián Caboto ( 1908), tom. I., c. 8.
2
Charles was elected emperor in the following year.
3
Magellan's instructions, his memorial on the latitude and longitude of the Moluccas, and other related documents are printed in the fourth volume of Navarrete, Viages, and summarized in the first volume of Blair and Robertson, Philippine Islands. See also Algs. Docs., pp. 423-430, and Medina, Documentos para la Historia de Chile, I., II. The belief that the Moluccas lay within the Spanish area was entertained by the Spanish government as early as 1512. Cf. Doc. 12, introduction and note 5.
4
See the letter from Charles to King Emmanuel, Feb. 28, 1519, Algs. Docs., pp. 422- 423, and Blair and Robertson, Philippine Islands, I. 277-279.
5
Guillemard, Magellan, pp. 111-139. Letters to King Emmanuel from the Portuguese ambassador, Sept. 28, 1518, and from the Portuguese factor at Seville, July 18, 1519, are published in the original and in translation in Lord Stanley, First Voyage ( Hakluyt Soc., no. LII., 1874), pp. xxxv-xlvi, and appendixes 1 and 2. A translation of the former letter is in Guillemard, op. cit., pp. 114-116, and a partial translation of the second letter in the same work, pp. 130-134. The text of the second letter is in Algs. Docs., pp. 431-435.

-118-

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