On 7 june 1494 the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed. Spain and Portugal divided the newly discovered lands on the other side of the Atlantic. The line of demarcation, a meridian, was halfway between the islands of Cape Verde, and the ones discovered by Columbus in his first voyage. The lands on the east of the Meridian should belong to Portugal and those of the west to Spain. In 1529 the two countries divided the other side of the world with an antimeridian. During the Iberian Union between 1580 and 1640, however, all these territories belonged to Spain.

First page of the Portuguese copy of the Treaty. Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa.


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