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

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

14.*
*Draft of an unconcluded treaty between Spain and Portugal, 1526.

INTRODUCTION.

In fulfillment of the terms of the treaty of Vitoria,1 the "junta of Badajoz" was held on the Spanish-Portuguese frontier between Badajoz and Elvas from April 11 to the end of May, 1524, when the Spanish commissioners voted against its further continuance.2 The conference was without result. In the case on possession neither side would act as plaintiff. In the case on ownership its failure was, indeed, inevitable; for in the then existing state of knowledge it was impossible to prove the fundamental question of the length of an equatorial degree, and hence to locate the line of demarcation or determine the longitude of the Moluccas. The Portuguese commissioners insisted that the 370 leagues should be measured from the eastern islands of the Cape Verde group, while the Spaniards were determined that the measurement should begin at the most westerly of these islands. As measured on the Portuguese and Spanish maps respectively, the distance from the eastern Cape Verde Islands to the Moluccas differed by 46°. The Portuguese located the Moluccas 21° east of the demarcation line; the Spaniards, a greater distance west of that meridian.

The conference having ended, diplomatic negotiations were resumed; and it was not till the lapse of nearly five years that the dispute was terminated,3 in a manner altogether different from that which was at first proposed. The most important stages in this negotiation, up to 1526, are indicated in the following draft of a treaty, which was probably drawn up at Seville,4 and was not concluded.


BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Text: MS. The draft is in the Archives of the Indies, Patronato, 1-2-2/16, no. 3, ramo 12. It has not, it is believed, been printed or translated hitherto.

References: See references to Doc. 13.

____________________
1
Doc. 13.
2
Documents relating to this conference are in Navarrete, Viages ( 1825- 1838), IV.; Blair and Robertson, Philippine Islands, I. 165-221; Medina, Documentos para la Historia de Chile, II.; id., El Portugués Esteban Gómez al Servicio de España, 1518-1535 ( 1908), pp. 133 ff. For accounts of the conference, see A. de Herrera, Historia General, dec. III., lib. VI., cc. 6-8; and Pastells edition of Colin, Labor Evangélica, II. 606-612.
3
By the treaty of Saragossa, Docs. 15 and 16.
4
Herrera, op. cit., dec. IV., lib. V., c. 10; ed. 1728- 1730, II. 93.

-131-

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