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Christian History: This week, Pope Draws Imperial Borders; Methodists Ordain Women; Scopes Arrested

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Pope Sets Borders for European Empires – May 4, 1493

This week marks the anniversary of when Pope Alexander VI released a papal bull titled “Inter caetera” which drew up borders for the Spanish and Portuguese empires.

Pope Alexander’s edict came in response to the discovery of the Americas the year before and was meant in part to help deter warfare between the two Catholic countries.

The pope concluded that all territory west and south of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands belonged to Spain.

However, Portugal objected to the borders given, claiming that the Spanish-born pontiff had shown a bias against them. The following year, Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, which pushed the line to 370 west of the Cape Verde islands, allowing more land for Portugal.

In the modern day, the Inter caetera is considered controversial for its call for the two kingdoms to colonize and subjugate all native populations within their territory.

“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,” stated the pope.

Continue Reading (4= May 5)

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