Portuguese and Spanish division of Spice Islands

Portugal had the first run at establishing bases and trade routes going via the Cape of Good Hope in Southern Africa. The Spanish initially settled for its new lands in the Americas but they soon turned their attention back to the Spice Isles. By the The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the world into two spheres, but it did not specify where these spheres ended. The Spanish argued that as long as they approached the Philippines and other islands from the Americas they were not breaking the terms of the agreement. At first, the Portuguese resisted these claims, but when Spain took control of the Portuguese Crown it gave itself permission to officially trade in the Asia so long as its ships travelled from the Americas or from around the Cape Horn or through the Magellan Straits.

Asia | Asia Maps


Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames |

by Stephen Luscombe