Alexander vi., Pope.
, a native of Valencia, Spain
, was elected Pope
, and assumed the name of Alexander vi.
He was born in 1431; made Pope
Aug. 11, 1492; and died Aug. 8. 1503.
His mother was a Borgia, and Caesar and Lucretia Borgia
were two of his five illegitimate children by his mistress, Rosa Vanozza
His death, some historians say, was caused by his accidentally taking a poisoned draught intended for a large party of cardinals whom he had invited to a banquet.
On the return of Columbus
from his first voyage of discovery, the Portuguese,
who had previously explored the Azores
and other Atlantic islands, instantly claimed a title to the newly discovered lands, to the exclusion of the Spaniards.
Simultaneous with the order given to Columbus
to return to Hispaniola
, an ambassador was sent to Rome
to obtain the Pope
's sanction of their claims to the regions discovered, and to make a conquest of the West Indies
assented without much hesitation to the proposal, and, on May 3, 1493, he issued a bull, in which the lofty pretensions of the Bishop
to be the sole arbiter of the world were fully set forth, and a grant given to Ferdinand and Isabella of all the countries inhabited by “infidels” which they had discovered or should discover, extending the assignment to their heirs and successors, the kings and queens of Castile
To prevent the interference of this grant with one previously given to the Portuguese, he directed that a line supposed to be drawn from pole to pole, at a distance of 100 leagues westward of the Azores
, should serve as a boundary.
All the countries to the east of this imaginary line, not in possession of a Christian prince, he gave to the Portuguese, and all westward of it to the Spaniards.
On account of the dissatisfaction with the Pope
the line was fixed 270 leagues farther west.
Other nations of Europe
subsequently paid no attention to the Pope
's gifts to Spain
, but planted colonies on the Western Continent
without the leave of the sovereigns of Spain
or the Pope
A little more than a century afterwards the English
Parliament insisted that occupancy confers a good title, by the law of nations and nature.
This remains a law of nations.
soon disregarded the Pope
's donation to Spain
, and sent an expedition to North America