|Spanish Pope Alexander VI|
Christopher Columbus’ return to Europe on March 3, 1493, was followed by an international conflict based on Portugal’s claim of sovereignty over the newly discovered territories.
Lines dividing the non-Christian world between Castile (modern Spain) and Portugal:
the 1494 Tordesillas meridian (purple) and the 1529 Zaragoza antimeridian (green)
The Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI gave Spain a head-start in the quest for domination over newly discovered regions of the world.
The Pope decreed that all lands discovered west of a meridian 100 leagues (one league is 3 miles or 4.8 km) west of the Cape Verde Islands should belong to Spain while new lands discovered east of that line would belong to Portugal.