Pope Sets Line of Demarcation

Pope Alexander VI signs, dividing the non-European world

The Battle for Land

On May 4th, 1493, Pope Alexander VI set the Line of Demarcation, a line dividing the non-European in two. Ferdinand and Isabella wanted the Pope to support them in dividing the New World among themselves (Spain) and Portugal. Conflicts emerged over the new land that Christopher Columbus was exploring. To settle this, the Pope drew an imaginary line, splitting the Americas. The lands discovered west of the line belonged to Spain and Portugal won control of the eastern side. After the line was set by the pope, Portugal rejected it and an agreement had to be made. After discussion, a treaty was written and signed by both countries. This document became the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed a year later in 1494 on June 7th, 1494. Looking forward, this agreement allowed both countries to peacefully explore the land that they own. Because of this, Brazil today speaks Portuguese because it was once owned and explored by Portugal. Most countries in Central America and South America are Spanish-speaking countries because they were once ruled and explored by Spain. This Line of Demarcation determined which countries could explore where, and made a lasting impact on their culture. Many European counties did not follow the rules of this line and treaty, since they are Protestant.

by Maya Dube

Other group members: Julia, Catherine and Andrea