Patent Granted by Henry VII to John Cabot

Patent Granted by King Henry VII to John Cabot and his Sons March 5, 1496   By this public document, Henry VII indicated his official, royal support for Cabot’s enterprise. As an agent of the English Crown, Cabot was empowered to investigate, claim and possess lands “which before this time were unknown to all Christians”…

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Treaty of Tordesillas

Treaty of Tordesillas June 7, 1494     The Treaty of Tordesillas was concluded on June 7 1494 to settle the contentious matter of the possession of the newly discovered lands of the non Christian world between Portugal and Spain. It was ratified by Spain on July 2, 1494. and by Portugal on September 5,…

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Inter Caetera

The Legal Battle and Spiritual War against the Native People The Bull Inter Caetera (Alexander VI) May 4, 1493 “Alexander, 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,…

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The Bull Romanus Pontifex

The Bull Romanus Pontifex (Nicholas V) January 8, 1454 “Nicholas, bishop, servant of the servants of God. for a perpetual remembrance. The Roman pontiff, successor of the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom and vicar of Jesus Christ, contemplating with a father’s mind all the several climes of the world and the characteristics of all the…

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Dum Diversas

Papal Bull Dum Diversas 18 June, 1452 Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas on 18 June, 1452. It authorised Alfonso V of Portugal to reduce any “Saracens (Muslims) and pagans and any other unbelievers” to perpetual slavery. This facilitated the Portuguese slave trade from West Africa. The same pope wrote the bull Romanus…

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Johnson v. McIntosh
Law

Key Excerpts: “The Indians were admitted to be the rightful occupants of the soil, with a legal as well as just claim to retain possession of it, and to use it according to their own discretion; but their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations, were necessarily diminished, and . . . Discovery gave exclusive…

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