Bulls of Donation

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The Spanish (red) and Portuguese (blue) empires about 1600, not showing the unsettled areas claimed by Spain

The Bulls of Donation, also called the Alexandrine Bulls, are three papal bulls of Pope Alexander VI delivered in 1493 which purported to grant overseas territories to Portugal and the Catholic Monarchs of Spain:

  1. Inter caetera of 4 May 1493
  2. Eximiae devotionis of 3 May 1493
  3. Dudum siquidem of 26 September 1493

The bulls were the basis for negotiation between the two powers which resulted in the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, dividing the non-Christian world beyond Europe between them. At first these arrangements were respected by most other European powers, but as the Protestant Reformation proceeded the states of Northern Europe came to consider them as a private arrangement between Spain and Portugal.


  • H. Vander Linden, 'Alexander VI and the demarcation of the maritime and colonial domains of Spain and Portugal 1493-4', The American Historical Review 22 (1916)
  • Luis Weckmann, Las bulas alejandrinas de 1493 y la teoría política del Papado medieval: estudio de la supremacía papal sobre las islas (Mexico: 1949)

See also[edit]