What was the treaty that gave Spain control of North and South America?


Quick Answer

The Treaty of Tordesillas gave Spain territorial rights to most of North and South America. The treaty settled a dispute between Spain and Portugal over the control of the land discovered by Christopher Columbus.

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Full Answer

After Columbus returned, King John II of Portugal declared that the entire New World belonged to him, according to a treaty backed by the Pope in 1481 that granted him all the land south of the Canary Islands. Spain convinced Pope Alexander VI, a Spaniard, to amend the treaty. The Pope drew a line extending 100 leagues west and south of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands and declared that all the newly discovered lands west of it belonged to Spain. John II renegotiated the treaty with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. In 1494, they agreed to move the line further west and grant any land discovered to the east of it to Portugal.

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