MAY 4, 1493

ALEXANDER EPISCOPUS, Servus Servorum Dei, Charissimo in Christo Filio Ferdinando Regi, et charissime in Christo Filiae Elisabeth Reginae Castellae, Legionis, Aragonum, Siciliae et Granatae illustribus, salutem et Apostolicam benedictionem.
Alexander the 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.
1. Inter caetera Divinae Majestati beneplacita opera, et cordis nostri desiderabilis, illud profecto potissimum extitit, ut Fides Catholica, Christiana Religio, nostris praesertim temporibus exaltetur, ac ubilibet amplietur et dilatetur, animarumque salus procuretur, ac barbaricae nationes deprimantur, et ad Fidem ipsam reducantur. Unde cum ad hanc sacram Petri Sedem, divina favente clementia (meritis licet imparibus), evecti fuerimus, cognoscentes vos tamquam veros catholicos Reges et Principes, quales semper fuisse novimus, et a vobis praeclare gesta toti pene jam Orbi notissima demonstrant, nedum id exoptare, sed omni conatu, studio et diligentia, nullis laboribus, nullis impensis, nullisque parcendo periculis, etiam proprium sanguinem effundendo efficere, ac omnem animum vestrum, omnesque conatus ad hoc jam dudum dedicasse, quemadmodum recuperatio regni Granatae a tyrannide Saracenorum hodiernis temporibus per vos, cum tanta Divini Nominis gloria facta, testatur; digne ducimus non immerito, et debemus illa vobis etiam sponte et favorabiliter concedere, per quae hujusmodi sanctum et 1audabile ab immortali Deo coeptum propositum in dies ferventiori animo ad ipsius Dei honorem et imperii Christiani propagationem prosequi valeatis. Sane accepirnus, quod vos dudum animum proposueratis aliquas insulas et terras firmas remotas et incognitas, ac per alios hactenus non repertas, quaerere et invenire, ut illarum incolas et habitatores ad colendum Redemptorem nostrum et Fidem Catholicam profitendum reduceretis, hactenus in expugnatione et recuperatione ipsius regni Granatae plurimum occupati, hujusmodi sanctum et laudabile propositum vestrum ad optatum finem perducere nequivistis, sed tandem, sicut Domino placuit, regno praedicto recuperato, volentes desiderium adimplere vestrum, dilectum filium Christophorum Columbum, virum utique dignum et plurimum commendandum, ac tanto negotio aptum, cum navigiis et hominibus ad similia instructis, non sine maximis laboribus et periculis ac impensis destinastis, ut terras firmas et insulas remotas et incognitas hujusmodi per mare ubi hactenus navigatum non fuerat, diligenter inquireret.
1. 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 been informed, indeed, that you intended to seek and discover some remote and unknown islands and mainlands which have not been found by any one so far, and bring their habitants and natives to the worship of our Redeemer and to the confession of the Catholic faith; but being hitherto mostly occupied with the conquest and recovery of said kingdom of Granada, you were unable to fulfil this holy and praiseworthy intention as you would have desired. But then, as soon as you had recaptured the aforesaid kingdom--according to God's pleasure--you wanted to fulfil your desire and you have dispatched our beloved son Christopher Columbus, a man particularly worthy and highly recommendable, and fitted for such an undertaking, with ships and skilled men, not without great efforts, perils and expenses, in order to search carefully for such remote and unknown mainlands and islands on the sea on which no one had sailed before.
2. Qui tandem, divino auxilio, facta extrema diligentia, in mare Oceano navigantes, certas insulas remotissimas, et etiam terras firmas, quae per alios hactenus repertae non fuerant, invenerunt, in quibus quamplurimae gentes pacifice viventes et, ut asseritur, nudi incedentes, nec carnibus vescentes, inhabitant, et, ut praefati nuntii vestri possunt opinari, gentes ipsae in insulis et terris praedictis habitantes, credunt unum Deum Creatorem in coelis esse, ac ad Fidem Catholicam amplexandum et bonis moribus imbuendum satis apti videntur, spesque habetur quod, si erudirentur, Nomen Salvatoris Domini nostri Jesu Christi in terris et insulis praedictis fateretur, ac praefatus Christophorus in una ex principalibus insulis praedictis, jam unam turrim satis munitam, in qua certos christianos, qui secum iverant, in custodiam, et ut alias insulas et terras firmas remotas et incognitas inquirerent, posuit, construi et aedificari fecit.
2. They navigated on the Ocean Sea with God's help and the greatest diligence and they actually discovered some very remote islands and also mainlands which have not been found by any one else before and in which several peoples live peacefully, going unclothed--reportedly--and not eating flesh. As far as your above-said envoys could judge, these peoples inhabiting the said islands and lands believe that one God-Creator is in Heaven; they seem to be well fitted to embrace the Catholic faith and to be imbued with good morals; and there is hope that, were they instructed, the name of the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, could be easily introduced into these lands and islands. The aforementioned Christopher has already caused a fort, fairly strong, to be built up and constructed in one of the principal islands and he has left it to the custody of some Christians, his companions, who are to seek for further remote and unknown islands and continents.
3. In quibus quidem. insulis et terris jam repertis aurum, aromata et aliae quamplurimae res praetiosae diversi generis et diversae qualitatis reperiuntur.
3. And in some islands and lands which have already been discovered gold, spices and very many precious things of various categories and qualities have been found.
4. Unde omnibus diligenter, et praesertim Fidei Catholicae exaltatione et dilatatione (prout decet catholicos Reges et Principes) consideratis, more progenitorum vestrorum clare memoriae Regum, terras firmas et insulas praedictas, illarumque incolas et habitatores, vobis, divina favente clementia, subjicere et ad Fidem Catholicam reducere proposuistis.
4. Wherefore, all things considered maturely and, as it becomes Catholic kings and princes, considered with special regard for the exaltation and spread of the Catholic faith--as your forefathers, kings of illustrious memory, used to do--you have decided to subdue the said mainlands and islands, and their natives and inhabitants, with God's grace, and to bring them to the Catholic faith.
5. Nos igitur hujusmodi vestrum sanctum et laudabile propositum plurimum in Domino commendantes, ac cupientes ut illud ad debitum finem perducatur, et ipsum Nomen Salvatoris nostri in partibus illis inducatur, hortamur vos quamplurimum in Domino, et per sacri lavacri susceptionem, qua mandatis Apostolicis obligati estis, et viscera misericordiae Domini nostri Jesu Christi attente requirimus, ut cum expeditionem. hujusmodi omnino prosequi, et assumere proba mente orthodoxae Fidei zelo intendatis, populos in hujusmodi insulis et terris degentes ad Christianam religionem suscipiendam inducere velitis et debeatis, nec pericula, nec labores ullo unquam tempore vos deterreant, firma spes fiduciaque conceptis, quod Deus Omnipotens conatus vestros feliciter prosequetur.
5. We recommend heartily in the Lord such a holy and laudable proposition and we wish it to be led to a due end, whereby the name of our Saviour would be introduced in those countries; we therefore exhort you very earnestly in the Lord and by your reception of Holy Baptism, in virtue of which you are bound to obey Apostolic orders, and by the bowels of mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ we especially enjoin that, as you intend to carry out such an expedition with a willing mind and zeal for orthodox faith, you should and must cause peoples dwelling in those islands and continents to accept the Christian religion. And no perils or hardships will ever deter you therefrom if you conceive your intention in faith and hope that Almighty God will follow with success your effort.
6. Et ut tanti negotii provintiam Apostolicae gratiae largitate donati, liberius et audacius assumatis, motu proprio, non ad vestram, vel alterius pro vobis super hoc nobis oblatae petitionis instantiam, sed de nostra mera liberalitate et ex certa scientia, ac de Apostolicae potestatis plenitudine, omnes insulas et terras firmas inventas et inveniendas, detectas et detegendas, versus Occidentem et Meridiem, fabricando et construendo unam lineam a Polo Arctico, scilicet Septentrione, ad Polum Antarcticum, scilicet Meridiem, sive terrae firmae et insulae inventwaeet inveniendxae sint versus Indiam aut versus aliam. quamcumque partem, quae linea distet a qualibet insularum, quae vulgariter nuncupantur de los Azores y Cabo Verde, centum leucis versus Occidentem et Meridiem, ita quod omnes insulae et terrae firmae repertae et reperiendae, detectae et detegendae a praefata linea versus Occidentem et Meridiem, per alium Regem. aut Principem christianum non fuerint actualiter possessae usque ad diem Nativitatis Domini nostri Jesu Christi proxime praeteritum, a quo incipit annus praesens millesimus quadrigentesimus nonagesimus tertius, quando fuerunt per nuntios et capitaneos vestros inventae aliquae praedictarum insularum, auctoritate Omnipotentis Dei nobis in beato Petro concessa, ac Vicariatus Jesu Christi qua fungimur in terris cum omnibus illarum dominiis, civitatibus, castris, locis et villis, juribusque et jurisdictionibus, ac pertinentiis universis, vobis haeredibusque et successoribus vestris (Castellaa et Legionis Regibus) in perpetuum tenore praesentium donamus et assignamus: vosque et haredes ac successores praefatos illarum dominos cum plena, libera et omnimoda potestate, auctoritate et jurisdictione facimus, constituimus et deputamus.
6. And in order that you may embark on an enterprise of such importance more readily and audaciously, endowed with the liberality of Apostolic favour, we give, concede and assign to you--out of our own initiative, not at your request or at a petition presented to us by somebody else on your behalf in this matter, but solely out of our largess, sure knowledge and plenitude of Apostolic power, by the authority of Almighty God bestowed upon blessed Peter and by the Vicariate of Jesus Christ which we discharge on earth--all the islands and mainlands, found or to be found, discovered or to be discovered westwards or southwards by drawing and establishing a line running from the Arctic to the Antarctic Pole [i.e., from the Northern to the Southern Pole] one hundred leagues West and South from any of the islands which are commonly called the Azores and Cape Verde, irrespective of whether the mainlands and islands are situated in the direction of India or in that of any other country; with the proviso, however, that these mainlands and islands found or to be found, discovered or to be discovered as situated to the West or South of the said line, be not actually possessed by some other Christian king or prince until the day from the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ [i.e., of the Christian era] immediately preceding the first day of this year one thousand four hundred and ninety three, in which some of the aforesaid islands were discovered by your envoys and captains. And we concede them by the strength of the present document perpetually with all their dominions, towns, castles, localities and villages and all rights, jurisdictions and appurtenances to you and to your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon; and we constitute, invest and depute you, your heirs and the said successors as lords thereof with full, free and integral power, authority and jurisdiction.
7. Decernentes nihilominus per hujusmodi donationem, concessionem et assignationem nostram nulli christiano Principi, qui actualiter praefatas insulas et terras firmas possederit usque ad dictum diem Nativitatis Domini nostri Jesu Christi jus quaesitum sublatum intelligi posse, aut auferri debere. Et insuper mandamus vobis; in virtute sanetae obedientiae (sicut pollicemini, et non dubitamus pro vestra maxima devotione et regia magnanimitate vos esse facturos) ad terras firmas et insulas praedictas viros probos et Deum timentes, doctos, peritos et expertos ad instruendum incolas et habitatores praefatos in Fide Catholica et bonis moribus imbuendum destinare debeatis, omnem debitam diligentiam in praemissis adhibentes.
7. But we ordain that by this our donation, concession and grant no claimed right, belonging to any Christian prince who had actually possessed the said islands and mainlands until the above-mentioned day from the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, can be understood as suppressed or taken away from him. Moreover, we enjoin you in virtue of holy obedience that you should dispatch-as you have already promised and as we do not doubt that you will, with your very great devotion and royal magnanimity, fulfil this promise-to the said mainlands and islands honest and God-fearing men, learned, skilled and experienced, to instruct the natives and inhabitants in Christian faith and to imbue them with good morals, and that you should apply all due diligence to this.
8. Ac quibuscumque personis, cujuscumque dignitatis, etiam Imperialis et Regalis, status, gradus, ordinis vel conditionis, sub excommunicationis latae sententiae poena, quam eo ipso si contra fecerint incurrant, districtius inhibemus, ne ad insulas et terras firmas inventas et inveniendas, detectas et detegendas versus Occidentem et Meridiem, fabricando et construendo lineam a Polo Arctico ad Polum Antarcticum, sive terrae firmae et insulae inventae et inveniendae sint versus Indiam aut versus aliquam quamcumque partem, quae linea distet a qualibet insularum, quae vulgariter nuncupantur de los Azores y Cabo Verde, centum leucis, versus Occidentem et Meridiem, ut praefertur, pro mercibus habendis, vel quavis alia de causa, accedere praesumant, absque vestra ac haeredurn et suecessorum vestrorum praedictorum licentia speciali.
8. And we strictly forbid any persons of whatever dignity, even Imperial or royal, status, rank, order or condition--under the penalty of an excommunication "latae sententiae" which they will incur "ipso facto" in case of contravention--to dare, without your special licence or that of your aforesaid heirs and successors, to approach, for the purpose of trade or for any other reason, the islands and mainlands found or to be found, already discovered or to be discovered towards the west and south by drawing and establishing a line from the Arctic to the Antarctic Pole to run at a distance of one hundred leagues from any of the islands commonly called the Azores and Cape Verde, irrespective of whether these mainlands and islands already discovered or to be discovered are situated towards India or towards any other country.
9. Non obstantibus Constitutionibus et Ordinationibus Apostolicis, caterisque contrariis quibuscumque. In illo a quo Imperia et dominationes ac bona cuncta procedunt confidentes, quod dirigente Domino actus vestros, si hujusmodi sanctum et laudabile propositum prosequamini, brevi tempore cum felicitate et gloria totius populi Christiani vestri labores et conatus exitum felicissimum consequentur.
9. This we ordain and forbid notwithstanding any Apostolic Bulls, ordinances or other documents to the contrary, confident in Him, from Whom empires, dominions and all possessions proceed, that if He will direct your acts and you will pursue this holy and praiseworthy undertaking, within a short time your toils and efforts shall attain the most felicitous result to the happiness and glory of all Christendom.
10. Verum quia difficile foret praesentes littera ad singula quaeque loca, in quibus expediens fuerit deferri, volumus, ac motu et scientia similibus decernimus, quod illarum transumptis manu publici Notarii inde rogati subscriptis, et sigillo alicujus personae in ecclesiastica dignitate constitutae, seu Curiae ecelesiasticae munitis, ea prorsus fides in judicio et extra ac alias ubilibet adhibeatur, ut praesentibus adhiberetur, si essent exhibitae vel ostensae.
10. As it would be difficult to have this present document sent to all places where it might be useful, we wish and decree, from a similar initiative and knowledge, that to copies of it, signed by the hand of a public notary commissioned therefor and provided with the seal of any person endowed with an ecclesiastical dignity or an ecclesiastical office, the same credence should be given before justice extrajudicially, and anywhere else, as would be given to the present document, if submitted or shown.
11. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostrae commendationis hortationis, requisitionis, donationis, concessionis, assignationis, constitutionis, deputationis, decreti, mandati, inhibitionis et voluntatis infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attentare prasumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei ac Beatorum, Petri et Pauli Apostolorum ejus se noverit incursurum.
11. Let no one, therefore, infringe or with rash daring contravene this instrument of our recommendation, exhortation, examination. 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.
Datum Romae apud Sanctum Petrum, anno Incarnationis Dominicae millesimo quadrigentessimo nonagesimo tertio, quarto nonas Maii, Pontificatus nostri anno primo.
Given at Rome, at Saint 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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