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The Theory of the Portuguese Discovery of Australia

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:14 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.8 
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1.1 The Treaty of Tordesillas

1.11 Why the Treaty was needed

The Treaty was originally intended to resolve disputes between Spain and Portugal over newly discovered lands. The treaty was signed on the 7th of June 1494. In one of the papal bulls, lands to the west of the line would be Spain\'s and nothing was mentioned about Portugal, regarding the east of the line.   The treaty would be constantly renegotiated even 250 years after the treaty was signed. But the one that affects the theory of the Portuguese Discovery of Australia, is the original one.

1.12 Where the world was split

It divided the world into two between Portugal and Spain. The line was drawn about 480km to the west of the Cape Verde Islands which are off the coast of Africa. Everything to the West would belong to Spain and everything to the East would belong to Portugal. The exact position of the line was not clear but the general idea was in South America and cutting through modern day Brazil. As shown on the map, there were many missing parts, such as North America, Asia and the Pacific.

1. 13 How it affects the theory of the Portuguese Discovery of Australia

The reason the Treaty of Tordesillas affects the theory of the Portuguese Discovery of Australia is this; If you draw a continuous line on a globe, it will be bound to come out somewhere else. For example, if you were to draw a line along 45° longitude, you can see that the line cuts through Brazil to the left of the Prime Meridian and then goes through Madagascar on the right of the Prime Meridian, as shown on the map.

So, because the meridian line in the Treaty of Tourdesillas cuts through South America, it is bound to come out somewhere else. The reason the Portuguese explorers didn’t publicise their discovery would have been that they were afraid that Australia might be in the Spanish half of the...


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