BULL OF POPE ALEXANDER VI
SEPTEMBER 26, 1493
POPE ALEXANDER VI
Alexander, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to the illustrious sovereigns, his very dear son in Christ, Ferdinand, king, and his very dear daughter in Christ, Isabella, queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, and Granada, health and apostolic benediction.
A short while ago of our own accord, and out of our certain knowledge, and fullness of our apostolic power, we gave, conveyed, and assigned forever to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, all islands and mainlands whatsoever, discovered and to be discovered, toward the west and south, that were not under the actual temporal dominion of any Christian lords. Moreover, we invested therewith you and your aforesaid heirs and successors, and appointed and deputed you as lords of them with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind, as more fully appears in our letters given to that effect, the terms whereof we wish to be understood as if they were inserted word for word in these presents. But since it may happen that your envoys and captains, or vassals, while voyaging toward the west or south, might bring their ships to land in eastern regions and there discover islands and mainlands that belonged or belong to India, with the desire moreover to bestow gracious favors upon you, through our similar accord, knowledge, and fullness of power, by apostolic authority and by tenor of these presents, in all and through all, just as if in the aforesaid letters full and express mention had been made thereof, we do in like manner amplify and extend our aforesaid gift, grant, assignment, and letters, with all and singular the clauses contained in the said letters, to all islands and mainlands whatsoever, found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered, that are or may be or may seem to be in the route of navigation or travel toward the west or south, whether they be in western parts, or in the regions of the south and east and of India.
We grant to you and your aforesaid heirs and successors full and free power through your own authority, exercised through yourselves or through another or others, freely to take corporal possession of the said islands and countries and to hold them forever, and to defend them against whosoever may oppose, With this strict prohibition however to all persons, of no matter what rank, estate, degree, order or condition, that under penalty of excommunication latae sententiae, which such as contravene are to incur ipso facto, no one without your express and special license or that of your aforesaid heirs and successors shall, for no matter what reason or pretense, presume in any manner to go or send to the aforesaid regions for the purpose of navigating or of fishing, or of searching for islands or mainlands--notwithstanding apostolic constitutions and ordinances, and any gifts, grants, powers, and assignments of the aforesaid regions, seas, islands, and countries, or any portion of them, made by us or our predecessors to any kings, princes, infantes, or any other persons, orders, or knighthoods, for no matter what reasons, even for motives of charity or the faith, or the ransom of captives, or for other reasons, even the most urgent; notwithstanding also any repealing clauses, even though they are of the most positive, mandatory, and unusual character; and no matter what sentences, censures, and penalties of any kind they may contain; providing however these grants have not gone into effect through actual and real possession, even though it may have happened that the persons to whom such gifts and grants were made, or their envoys, sailed thither at some time through chance. Wherefore should any such gifts or grants have been made, considering their terms to have been sufficiently expressed and inserted in our present decree, we through similar accord, knowledge, and fullness of our power do wholly revoke them and as regards the countries and islands not actually taken into possession, we wish the grants to be considered as of no effect, notwithstanding what may appear in the aforesaid letters, or anything else to the contrary.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, on the twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord one thousand four hundred and ninety-three, the second year of our pontificate.
Gratis by order of our most holy lord the Pope.
Alexander episcopus, servus servorum Dei: carissimo in Christo filio Ferdinando regi et carissime in Christo filie Elisabeth regine Castelle, Legionis, Aragonum, et Granate, illustribus, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem.
Dudum siquidem omnes et singulas insulas et terras firmas, inventas et inveniendas versus occidentem et meridiem, que sub actuali dominio temporali aliquorum dominorum Christianorum constitute non essent, vobis heredibusque et subcessoribus vestris Castelle et Legionis regibus, imperpetuum, motu proprio et ex certa scientia ac de apostolice potestatis plenitudine donavimus, concessimus, et assignavimus, vosque ac heredes et successores prefatos de illis investivimus, illarumque dominos cum plena, libera, et omnimoda potestate, auctoritate, et jurisdictione, constituimus et deputavimus, prout in nostris inde confectis litteris, quarum tenores, ac si de verbo ad verbum, presentibus insererentur haberi volumus pro sufficienter expressis, plenius continetur. Cum autem contingere posset quod nuntii et capitanei aut vassalli vestri, versus occidentem aut meridiem navigantes, ad partes orientales applicarent, ac insulas et terras firmas que Indie fuissent vel essent, repperirent, nos, volentes etiam vos favoribus prosequi gratiosis, motu et scientia ac potestatis plenitudine similibus, donationem, concessionem, assignationem, et litteras predictas, cum omnibus et singulis in eisdem litteris contentis clausulis, ad omnes et singttlas insulas et terras firmas, inventas et inveniendas ac detectas et detegendas, que navigando aut itinerando versus occidentem aut meridiem hujusmodi sint vel fuerint aut apparuerint, sive in partibus occidentalibus vel meridionalibus et orientalibus et Indie existant, auctoritate apostolica, tenore presentium, in omnibus et per omnia, perinde ac si in litteris predictis de eis plena et expressa mentio facta fuisset, extendimus pariter et ampliamus, vobis ac heredibus et successoribus vestris predictis, per vos vel alium seu alios, corporalem insularum ac terrarum predictarum possessionem, propria auctoritate libere apprehendendi ac perpetuo retinendi, illasque adversus quoscunque impedientes etiam defendendi, plenam et liberam facultatem concedentes, ac quibuscunque personis etiam cujuscunque dignitatis, status, gradus, ordinis, vel condicionis, sub excommunicationis late sententie pena, quam contrafacientes eo ipso incurrant, districtius inhibentes, ne ad partes predictas ad navigandum, piscandum, vel inquirendum insulas vel terras firmas aut quovis alio respectu seu colore ire vel mittere quoquo modo presumant absque expressa et spetiali vestra ac heredum et successorum predictorum licentia, Non obstantibus constitutionibus et ordinationibus apostolicis, ac quibusvis donationibus, concessionibus, facultatibus, et assignationibus per nos vel predecessores nostros quibuscunque regibus, principibus, infantibus, aut quibusvis aliis personis aut ordinibus et miliciis, de predictis partibus, maribus, insulis, atque terras, vel aliqua eorum parte, etiam ex quibusvis causis, etiam pietatis vel fidei aut redemptionis captivorum, et aliis quantuncunque urgentissimis, et cum quibusvis clausulis etiam derogatoriarum derogatoriis, fortioribus, efficacioribus, et insolitis, etiam quascunque sententias, censuras, et penas in se contiuentibus, que suum per actualem et realem possessionem non essent sortite effectum, licet forsan aliquando illi quibus donationes et concessiones hujusmodi facte fuissent, aut eorum nuntii, ibidem navigassent, quas tenores illarttm etiam presentibus pro suffirienter expressis et insertis habentes, motu, scientia, et potestatis plenitudine similibus, omnino revocamus, ac quo ad terras et insulas per eos actualiter non possessas pro infectis haberi volumus, nec non omnibus illis que in litteris predictis voluimus non obstare, ceterisque contrariis quibuscunque.
Datum Rome apud Sanctum Petrum, anno Incarnationis Dominice millesimo quadtingentesimo nonagesimo tertio, sexto kalendas Octobris, pontificatus nostri anno secundo.
Gratis de mandato sanctissimi domini nostri pape.
Another in the series of Papal Bulls dividing up the world between the Catholic kingdoms of Spain and Portugal. The Papacy had an interest in bringing the newly discovered colonies under Catholic rule.
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