Oct 7/98: Religious doctrine & genocide-Burning papal bulls


Tony Castanha
Wednesday, October 7, 1998

"This conclusion [examining the process as to how historical entities are produced rather than taking for granted and assuming their production via 'divine' creation] led me to understand that the basic concept for the historian is that of 'invention,' because the concept of 'creation,' which assumes that something is produced EX NIHILO, can have meaning only within the sphere of religious faith. Thus I came to suspect that the clue to the problem of the historical appearance of America lay in considering the event as the result of an inspired invention of Western thought and not as the result of a purely physical discovery, brought about, furthermore, by accident. But in order to test this theory it was necessary to undertake a critical inquiry aimed at retracing the whole history, not of the "discovery of America," but of the IDEA THAT AMERICA HAD BEEN DISCOVERED. The result of this investigation, published in 1951, allowed me to see that, when carried to its logical conclusion, that idea implies a REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM, and therefore, that it is an inadequate way to understand the historical reality which it attempts to explain."
- Edmundo O'Gorman, The Invention of America, 1961

Aloha y Guaitiao,

E komo mai - welcome! This message is broken into two parts: Part I announces the papal bulls burning event, particularly the Honolulu event, and provides some background on the historical and contemporary meaning of these decrees and the movement to revoke them.

Steve Newcomb's article, "Five Hundred Years of Injustice," critiques the basis of the "Doctrine of Discovery" and is a must read in order to see how Christian dogma still forms the basis of international law with regard to indigenous peoples today.

Part II provides a historical introduction to the Inter Caetera bull of May 4, 1493, and the words of the bull in its entirety, for your printing and burning pleasure.


COME and PARTICIPATE at the annual global Papal Bulls burning on Monday October 12, 5pm, so-called "Columbus" or "Discoverer's Day." The event in Honolulu will take place at the Catholic Diocese Office of the Bishop, 1184 Bishop St. (Fort St. Mall right off Beretania).

Indigenous peoples and supporters call upon people of conscience in the Roman Catholic hierarchy to persuade the Vatican and Pope John Paull II to formally revoke these documents.

Speakers include Kaleo Patterson, Hawai'i Ecumenical Coalition; Nalani Minton, Indigenous Law Institute; Hank Raymond, Okanogan San Poil people; Ralph Summy, Spark Matsunaga Institute for Peace; Tony Castanha, Caribe/Boricua descendant. Sponsoring organizations in Hawai'i include the Hawai'i Ecumenical Coalition, Matsunaga Institute for Peace, Ka Pakaukau, Ahupua'a Action Alliance, Indigenous Law Institute, and the Pro-Kanaka Maoli Independence Working Group.

For more information contact: Nalani (nalanima@aol.com), Tony (castanha@hawaii.edu), Francis (fboyle@law.uiuc.edu) or Josh (joshua@hawaii.edu).


The papal bulls were decrees issued by the Vatican hierarchy which essentially sanctioned the fifteenth century Portuguese and Spanish invasions and genocide campaigns into Africa and the Amerikas. Though many bulls had been historically handed down, we are primarily concerned with two decrees: the 1452 bull issued by Pope Nicolas V to Portuguese King Alfonso and the May 4, 1493 Inter Cetera bull issued to the king and queen of Spain by Pope Alexander VI. Both decrees established Christian dominion and subjugation of non-Christian "heathen" peoples and their lands. The 1493 bull had divided the world in half, everything 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands went to Spain, everything east to Portugal.


This action would help restore the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples. The Christian/heathen ideology of the bulls forms the basis of the Doctrine of Discovery and the Law of "Christian" Nations (see Newcomb below) and, subsequently, forms the core of U.S. Federal Indian law today. These documents continue to be used by Nation-States to subjugate and deny the rights of indigenous peoples.

A movement to revoke the papal bulls has been ongoing for a number of years. At the Parliament of World Religions in 1994 over 60 indigenous delegates drafted a Declaration of Vision. It reads, in part:

We call upon the people of conscience in the Roman Catholic hierarchy to persuade Pope John II to formally revoke the Inter Cetera Bull of May 4, 1493, which will restore our fundamental human rights. That Papal document called for our Nations and Peoples to be subjugated so the Christian Empire and its doctrines would be propagated. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Johnson v. McIntosh 8 Wheat 543 (in 1823) adopted the same principle of subjugation expressed in the Inter Cetera Bull. This Papal Bull has been, and continues to be, devastating to our religions, our cultures, and the survival of our populations.

The Legacy of Fifteenth Century Religious Prejudice

Steve Newcomb, Shawnee/Lenape Legal Scholar

When Christopher Columbus first set foot on the white sands of Guanahani island, he performed a ceremony to "take possession" of the land for the king and queen of Spain, acting under the international laws of Western Christendom. Although the story of Columbus' "discovery" has taken on mythological proprtions in most of the Western world, few people are aware that his act of "possession" was based on a religious doctrine now known as the Doctrine of Discovery. Even fewer people realize that today--five centuries later--the United States government stil uses this archaic Judeo-Christian doctrine to deny the rights of Native American Indians.

Origins of the Doctrine of Discovery

To understand the connection between Christendom's principle of discovery and the laws of the United States, we need to begin by examining a papal document issued forty years before Columbus' historic voyage. In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued to King Alfonso V of Portugal the bull Romanus Pontifex, declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world, and specifically sanctioning and promoting the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories.

Under various theological and legal doctrines formulated during and after the Crusades, non-Christians were considered enemies of the Catholic faith and, as such, less than human. Accordingly, in the bull of 1452, Pope Nicholas directed King Alfonso to "capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ," to "put them into perpetual slavery," and "to take all their possessions and property." [Davenport: 20-26] Acting on this papal privilege, Portugal continued to traffic in African slaves, and expanded its royal dominions by making "discoveries" along the western coast of Africa, claiming those lands as Portuguese territory.

Thus, when Columbus sailed west across the Sea of Darkness in 1492--with the express understanding that he was authorized to "take possession" of any lands he "discovered" that were "not under the dominion of any Christian rulers"--he and the Spanish sovereigns of Aragon and Castile were following an already well established tradition of "discovery" and conquest. [Thacher: 96] Indeed, after Columbus returned to Europe, Pope Alexander VI issued a papal document, the bull Inter Cetera of May 3, 1493, "granting" to Spain--at the request of Ferdinand and Isabella--the right to conquer the lands which Columbus had already found, as well as any lands which Spain might "discover" in the future.

In the Inter Cetera document, Pope Alexander stated his desire that the "discovered" people be "subjugated and brought to the faith itself." [Davenport: 61] By this means, said the pope, the "Christian Empire" would be propagated. [Thatcher: 127] When Portugal protested this concession to Spain, Pope Alexander stipulated in a subsequent bull--issued May 4, 1493--that Spain must not attempt to establish its dominion over lands which had already "come into the possession of any Christian lords." [Davenport: 68] Then, to placate the two rival monarchs, the pope drew a line of demarcation between the two poles, giving Spain rights of conquest and dominion over one side of the globe, and Portugal over the other.

During this quincentennial of Columbus' jouney to the Americas, it is important to recognize that the grim acts of genocide and conquest by Columbus and his men against the peaceful Native people of the Caribbean were sanctioned by the above mentioned documents of the Catholic church. Indeed, these papal documents were frequently used by Christian European conquerors in the Americas to justify an incredibly brutal system of colonization--which dehumanized the indigenous people by regarding their territories as being "inhabited only by brute animals." [Story: 135-6]

The lesson to be learned is that the papal bulls of 1452 and 1493 are but two clear examples of how the "Christian Powers," or "different States of Christendom," viewed indigenous peoples as "the lawful spoil and prey of their civilized conquerors." [Wheaton: 270-1] In fact, the Christian "Law of Nations" asserted that Christian nations had a divine right, based on the Bible, to claim absolute title to and ultimate authority over any newly "discovered" Non-Christian inhabitants and their lands. Over the next several centuries, these beliefs gave rise to the Doctrine of Discovery used by Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland--all Christian nations.

The Doctrine of Discovery in U.S. Law

In 1823, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was quietly adopted into U.S. law by the Supreme Court in the celebrated case, JOHNSON v. McINTOSH (8 Wheat., 543). Writing for the unanimous court, Chief Justice John Marshall observed that Christian European nations had assumed "ultimate dominion" over the lands of America during the Age of Discovery, and that--upon "discovery"--the Indians had lost "their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations," and only retained a right of "occupancy" in their lands. In other words, Indian nations were subject to the ultimate authority of the first nation of Christendom to claim possession of a given region of Indian lands. [Johnson: 574; Wheaton: 270-1]

According to Marshall, the United States--upon winning its indepen- dence in 1776--became a successor nation to the right of "discovery" and acquired the power of "dominion" from Great Britain. [Johnson: 587-9] Of course, when Marshall first defined the principle of "discovery," he used language phrased in such a way that it drew attention away from its religious bias, stating that "discovery gave title to the government, by whose subject, or by whose authority, the discovery was made, against all other European governments." [Johnson: 573-4] However, when discussing legal precedent to support the court's findings, Marshall specifically cited the English charter issued to the explorer John Cabot, in order to document England's "complete recognition" of the Doctrine of Discovery. [Johnson: 576] Then, paraphrasing the language of the charter, Marshall noted that Cabot was authorized to take possession of lands, "notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens, and, at the same time, admitting the prior title of any Christian people who may have made a previous discovery." [Johnson: 577]

In other words, the Court affirmed that United States law was based on a fundamental rule of the "Law of Nations"--that it was permissible to virtually ignore the most basic rights of indigenous "heathens," and to claim that the "unoccupied lands" of America rightfully belonged to discovering Christian European nations. Of course, it's important to understand that, as Benjamin Munn Ziegler pointed out in The International Law of John Marshall, the term "unoccupied lands" referred to "the land in America which, when discovered, were 'occupied by Indians' but 'unoccupied' by Christians." [Ziegler: 46]

Ironically, the same year that the JOHNSON v. McINTOSH decision was handed down, founding father James Madison wrote: "Religion is not in the purview of human government. Religion is essentially distinct from civil government, and exempt from its cognizance; a connection between them is injurious to both."

Most of us have been brought up to believe that the United States Constitution was designed to keep church and state apart. Unfortunately, with the Johnson decision, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was not only written into U.S. law but also became the cornerstone of U.S. Indian policy over the next century.

From Doctrine of Discovery to Domestic Dependent Nations

Using the principle of "discovery" as its premise, the Supreme Court stated in 1831 that the Cherokee Nation (and, by implication, all Indian nations) was not fully sovereign, but "may, perhaps," be deemed a "domestic dependent nation." [Cherokee Nation v. Georgia] The federal government took this to mean that treaties made with Indian nations did not recognize Indian nations as free of U.S. control. According to the U.S. government, Indian nations were "domestic dependent nations" subject to the federal government's absolute legislative authority--known in the law as "plenary power." Thus, the ancient doctrine of Christian discovery and its subjugation of "heathen" Indians were extended by the federal government into a mythical doctrine that the U.S. Constitution allows for governmental authority over Indian nations and their lands. [Savage: 59-60]

The myth of U.S. "plenary power" over Indians--a power, by the way, that was never intended by the authors of the Constitution [Savage: 115-17]--has been used by the United States to:

The above cases are just a few examples of how the United States government has used the JOHNSON v. McINTOSH and Cherokee Nation v. Georgia decisions to callously disregard the human rights of Native peoples. Indeed, countless U.S. Indian policies have been based on the underlying, hidden rationale of "Christian discovery"--a rationale which holds that the "heathen" indigenous peoples of the Americas are "subordinate to the first Christian discoverer," or its successor. [Wheaten: 271]

As Thomas Jefferson once observed, when the state uses church doctrine as a coercive tool, the result is "hypocrisy and meanness." Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court's use of the ancient Christian Doctrine of Discovery--to circumvent the Constitution as a means of taking Indian lands and placing Indian nations under U.S. control--has proven Madison and Jefferson right.

Bringing an End to Five Hundred Years of Injustice to Indigenous Peoples

In a country set up to maintain a strict separation of church and state, the Doctrine of Discovery should have long ago been declared unconstitutional because it is based on a prejudicial treatment of Native American people simply because they were not Christians at the time of European arrival. By penalizing Native people on the basis of their non-Christian religious beliefs and ceremonial practices, stripping them of most of their lands and most of their sovereignty, the JOHNSON v. McINTOSH ruling stands as a monumental violation of the "natural rights" of humankind, as well as the most fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples.

As we move beyond the quincentennial of Columbus' invasion of the Americas, it is high time to formally renounce and put an end to the religious prejudice that was written into U.S. law by Chief Justice John Marshall. Whether or not the American people--especially the Christian right--prove willing to assist Native people in getting the Johnson ruling overturned will say a lot to the world community about just how seriously the United States takes its own foundational principles of liberty, justice, and religious freedom.

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Inter Cetera bulls on May 3 and 4 of 1993, it is important to keep in mind that the Doctrine of Discovery is still being used by countries throughout the Americas to deny the rights of indigenous peoples, and to perpetuate colonization throughout the Western Hemisphere. To begin to bring that system of colonization to an end, and to move away from a cultural and spirtual tradition of subjugation, we must overturn the doctrine at its roots. Therefore, I propose that non-Native people--especially Christians--unite in solidarity with indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere to impress upon Pope John Paul II how important it is for him to revoke, in a formal ceremony with indigenous people, the Inter Cetera bulls of 1493.

Revoking those papal documents and overturning the JOHNSON v. McINTOSH decision are two important first steps toward correcting the injustices that have been inflicted on indigenous peoples over the past five hundred years. They are also spiritually significant steps toward creating a way of life that is no longer based on greed and subjugation. Perhaps then we will be able to use our newfound solidarity to begin to create a lifestyle based on the first indigenous principle:



Indigenous peoples and supporters from around the world call upon people of conscience in the Roman Catholic hierarchy to persuade the Vatican and Pope John Paul II to revoke the papal bulls. In the Lili'uokalani-Gandhian-King tradition of non-violent action and resistance indigenous peoples and supporters are asked to symbolically burn copies (or tear it up if you wish) of the Inter Caetera bull of May 4, 1493, provided below.

In Honolulu, the main event will take place on Monday October 12, 5pm, at the Catholic Diocese Office of the Bishop (the Cathedral), 1184 Bishop St. (Fort St. Mall right off of Beretania).

Email instructions? Simply print out this message and clip off the Bull where it says "cut here." Then make copies, distribute and burn (or tear) from wherever you may be, or at your local Catholic church.


The historical introduction below is taken from Paul Gottschalk, The Earliest Diplomatic Documents on America: The Papal Bulls of 1493 and the Treaty of Tordesillas Reproduced and Translated, Berlin, 1927. The introduction and bull Inter Caetera of May 4, 1493 are provided by Frances Gardiner Davenport, ed., European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648, Washington, D.C., 1917.

Historical Introduction

Returning from his first voyage, Columbus landed on the Portuguese coast and was at once invited to Court. He reached Lisbon March 4, 1493, upon the invitation of the King of Portugal. On hearing his report, King John II claimed the newly discovered lands for Portugal by virtue of the Treaty of Alcacovas of 1479, sanctioned by the Bulls of Pope Sixtus IV, dated June 21, 1481. The text of the Treaty and the Bull contain some slight variations and thereby allow of different interpretations. It is difficult to decide, therefore, whether this claim of the Portuguese King was justified. Contemporary as well as modern historians have always differed widely in their opinions. It is generally believed that, with his famous message on his discoveries, Columbus dispatched to the Spanish Kings, who were at Barcelona, a report on the difficulties raised by the Portuguese King, but it is questioned whether this was sent from Lisbon by land or from Palos after having reached the latter port, March 14, 1493.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain reported the great news at once to Pope Alexander VI. It is again doubtful whether this was done by a special messenger or by a courier sent to Cardinal Bernardin de Carvajal and to Ruiz de Medina, then Spanish ambassadors at the Holy See, and whether this was done in consequence of the Portuguese claims or according to a general custom of that period. Pope Alexander VI, himself a Spaniard, granted the request to confer the lately discovered lands on the Crown of Spain by three Bulls issued on May 3 and May 4 1493 (all much in favor of Spain, and depriving Portugal of nearly all privileges bestowed upon it by the Bulls of 1452 and 1454, issued bu Nicholas V, and by that of 1481 of Sixtus IV and one of 1484 of Innocentius VIII). Some months later, on September 26, 1493, a fourth Bull was issued granting to Spain almost unlimited rights. But this act remained without consequence; for in the meantime, at the suggestion of the King of Spain, it was agreed that, to avoid complications already threatening, a conference should be held. Portuguese ambassadors were sent to Barcelona and, after many negotiations and some interruptions, a settlement was finally reached at the small Spanish town of Tordesillas and a treaty was signed on June 7, 1494. Obviously inspired by the corresponding passage in the second Bull Inter caetera, but not referring to this or any other bulls or treaties, it was provided that there should be drawn a line running from North to South, 370 leagues west from Cape Verde Islands, and that everything west of this line should belong to Spain, everything east of it to Portugal.

The sanction, which by the terms of the Treaty was to be asked, was never given by Alexander VI and not before the 24th of January, 1506, was a Bull to such effect issued by Pope Julius II. Although much disputed and very differently interpreted, this Treaty remained in force until January 13, 1750, when the Treaty of Madrid annulled the boundary line. It would seem, however, that this boundary line, first provided for in the second Bull Inter Caetera and later corrected in the Treaty of Tordesillas, decided what parts of the western hemisphere as well as which regions of the eastern hemisphere were discovered, possessed and civilized by Spain and by Portugal respectively, and which still speak the language and show the influence of the culture of their first dis- coverers.

Introduction to the Bull Inter Caetera - May 4, 1493

Like the bull Eximiae devotionis of May 3, the bull Inter caetera of May 4 is a restatement of part of the bull Inter caetera of May 3. Taken together the two later bulls cover the same ground as the bull Inter caetera of May 3, for which they form a substitute. The changes introduced into the bull Inter caetera of May 4, are, however, of great importance, and highly favorable to Spain. Instead of merely granting to Castile the lands discovered by her envoys, and not under Christian rule, the revised bull draws a line of demarcation one hundred leagues west of any of the Azores or Cape Verde Islands, and assigns to Castile the exclusive right to acquire territorial possessions and to trade in all lands west of that line, which at Christmas, 1492, were not in the possession of any Christian prince. The general safeguard to the possible conflicting rights of Portugal is lacking. All persons are forbidden to approach the lands west of the line without special license from the rulers of Castile.

It is not probable that by this bull Alexander VI intended to secure to Portugal an eastern route to the Indies, as some writers have maintained. In the bulls of May 3, the earlier papal grants to Portugal are said to have given her rights in the region of Guinea and the Gold Mine, but the Indies are not mentioned. The bull of May 4 does not name Portugal and refers to her only in the clause which excepts from the donation any lands west of the demarcation line, which at Christmas, 1492, might be in the possession of any Christian prince.


The Bull Inter Caetera (Alexander VI.) May 4, 1493

Alexander, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to the illustrious sovereigns, our very dear son in Christ, Ferdinand, king, and our very dear daughter in Christ, Isabella, queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Sicily, and Granada, health and apostolic benediction. Among other works well pleasing to the Divine Majesty and cherished of our heart, this assuredly ranks highest, that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself. Wherefore inasmuch as by the favor of divine clemency, we, though of insufficient merits, have been called to this Holy See of Peter, recognizing that as true Catholic kings and princes, such as we have known you always to be, and as your illustrious deeds already known to almost the whole world declare, you not only eagerly desire but with every effort, zeal, and diligence, without regard to hardships, expenses, dangers, with the shedding even of your blood, are laboring to that end; recognizing also that you have long since dedicated to this purpose your whole soul and all your endeavors--as witnessed in these times with so much glory to the Divine Name in your recovery of the kingdom of Granada from the yoke of the Saracens--we therefore are rightly led, and hold it as our duty, to grant you even of our own accord and in your favor those things whereby with effort each day more hearty you may be enabled for the honor of God himself and the spread of the Christian rule to carry forward your holy and praiseworthy purpose so pleasing to immortal God. We have indeed learned that you, who for a long time had intended to seek out and discover certain islands and mainlands remote and unknown and not hitherto discovered by others, to the end that you might bring to the worship of our Redeemer and the profession of the Catholic faith their residents and inhabitants, having been up to the present time greatly engaged in the siege and recovery of the kingdom itself of Granada were unable to accomplish this holy and praiseworthy purpose; but the said kingdom having at length been regained, as was pleasing to the Lord, you, with the wish to fulfill your desire, chose our beloved son, Christopher Columbus, a man assuredly worthy and of the highest recommendations and fitted for so great an undertaking, whom you furnished with ships and men equipped for like designs, not without the greatest hardships, dangers, and expenses, to make diligent quest for these remote and unknown mainlands and islands through the sea, where hitherto no one had sailed; and they at length, with divine aid and with the utmost diligence sailing in the ocean sea, discovered certain very remote islands and even mainlands that hitherto had not been discovered by others; wherein dwell very many peoples living in peace, and, as reported, going unclothed, and not eating flesh. Moreover, as your aforesaid envoys are of opinion, these very peoples living in the said islands and countries believe in one God, the Creator in heaven, and seem sufficiently disposed to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good morals. And it is hoped that, were they instructed, the name of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, would easily be introduced into the said countries and islands. Also, on one of the chief of these aforesaid islands the said Christopher has already caused to be put together and built a fortress fairly equipped, wherein he has stationed as garrison certain Christians, companions of his, who are to make search for other remote and unknown islands and mainlands. In the islands and countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and very many other precious things of divers kinds and qualities. Wherefore, as becomes Catholic kings and princes, after earnest consideration of all matters, especially of the rise and spread of the Catholic faith, as was the fashion of your ancestors, kings of renowned memory, you have purposed with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and to bring them to the Catholic faith. Hence, heartily commending in the Lord this your holy and praiseworthy purpose, and desirous that it be duly accomplished, and that the name of our Savior be carried into those regions, we exhort you very earnestly in the Lord and by your reception of holy baptism, whereby you are bound to our apostolic commands, and by the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, enjoy strictly, that inasmuch as with eager zeal for the true faith you design to equip and despatch this expedition, you purpose also, as is your duty, to lead the peoples dwelling in those islands and countries to embrace the Christian religion; nor at any time let dangers or hardships deter you therefrom, with the stout hope and trust in your hearts that Almighty God will further your undertakings. And, in order that you may enter upon so great an undertaking with greater readiness and heartiness endowed with benefit of our apostolic favor, we, of our own accord, not at your instance nor the request of anyone else in your regard, but out of our own sole largess and certain knowledge and out of the fullness of our apostolic power, by the authority of Almighty God conferred upon us in blessed Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ, which we hold on earth, do by tenor of these presents, should any of said islands have been found by your envoys and captains, give, grant, and assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south, by drawing and establishing a line from the Arctic pole, namely the north, to the Antarctic pole, namely the south, no matter whether the said mainlands and islands are found and to be found in the direction of India or towards any other quarter, the said line to be distant one hundred leagues towards the west and south from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cape Verde. With this proviso however that none of the islands and mainlands, found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered, beyond that said line towards the west and south, be in the actual possession of any Christian king or prince up to the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ just past from which the present year one thousand four hundred ninety-three begins. And we make, appoint, and depute you and your said heirs and successors lords of them with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind; with this proviso however, that by this our gift, grant, and assignment no right acquired by any Christian prince, who may be in actual possesssion of said islands and mainlands prior to the said birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, is hereby to be understood to be withdrawn or taking away. Moreover we command you in virtue of holy obedience that, employing all due diligence in the premises, as you also promise--nor do we doubt your compliance therein in accordance with your loyalty and royal greatness of spirit--you should appoint to the aforesaid mainlands and islands worthy, God-fearing, learned, skilled, and expeienced men, in order to instruct the aforesaid inhabitants and residents in the Catholic faith and train them in good morals. Furthermore, under penalty of excommunication "late sententie" to be incurred "ipso facto," should anyone thus contravene, we strictly forbid all persons of whatsoever rank, even imperial and royal, or of whatsoever estate, degree, order, or condition, to dare without your special permit or that of your aforesaid heirs and successors, to go for the purpose of trade or any other reason to the islands or mainlands, found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered, towards the west and south, by drawing and establishing a line from the Arctic pole to the Antarctic pole, no matter whether the mainlands and islands, found and to be found, lie in the direction of India or toward any other quarter whatsoever, the said line to be distant one hundred leagues towards the west and south, as is aforesaid, from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cape Verde; apostolic constitutions and ordinances and other decrees whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. We trust in Him from whom empires and governments and all good things proceed, that, should you, with the Lord's guidance, pursue this holy and praiseworthy undertaking, in a short while your hardships and endeavors will attain the most felicitious result, to the happiness and glory of all Christendom. But inasmuch as it would be difficult to have these present letters sent to all places where desirable, we wish, and with similar accord and knowledge do decree, that to? copies of them, signed by the hand of a public notary commissioned therefor, and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical officer or ecclesiastical court, the same respect is to be shown in court and outside as well as anywhere else as would be given to these presents should they thus be exhibited or shown. Let no one, therefore, infringe, or with rash boldness contravene, this our recommendation, exhortation, requisition, gift, grant, assignment, constitution, deputation, decree, mandate, prohibition, and will. Should anyone presume to attempt this, be it known to him that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord one thousand four hundred and ninety-three, the fourth of May, and the first year of our pontificate.


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