Middle Ages Line of Demarcation
Middle Ages

Line drawn by Pope Alexander VI in 1493-1494 to assign colonial spheres of interest in the Americas to Portugal and Spain.

Lines of demarcation assigned colonial spheres of interest in the New World

Portugal was assigned Brazil, the west and east coasts of Africa, the southern and eastern shores of Asia, and the East Indies. Spain was assigned the Americas, the Philippines, and lands encountered by or to be encountered by Columbus. This was accompanied by the grants of ecclesiastical patronage to both kingdoms, the padroado to the Portuguese and the patronato to the Spanish. As a result, the church in both Portuguese and Spanish colonies was strictly subordinated to the state and ecclesiastical appointments were made by the respective governments. In practice this resulted in a form of Roman Catholicism in both spheres much shaped theologically by the tridentine spirit, but administratively subordinate to the state. This meant that for some time to come, the Latin American church would be quite conservative in doctrine and practice while it was at the same time markedly restricted by its submission to the authorities of state.

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