Bull of Pope Alexander VI
Inter Caetera, Papal Bull of May 4, 1493.
The unholy Roman empire in the north and the Arragonese in the south kept Italy in a vise like grip in order to maintain the corrupt Papal States. This unholy alliance of Germany and Spain also kept Britain in its deadly embrace. Thank God that John Cabot and the king of England ignored the papal thunder....John Cabot's Discovery of the New World also opened up the Newfoundland fisheries to English commerce and greatly enriched that poverty stricken country.
[ ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE PAPAL BULL]
" Alexander Bishop, the servant of the servants of God:—To our most dear beloved son in Christ, King Ferdinand, And to our dear beloved daughter in Christ, Elizabeth, Queen of Castile, Legion, Aragon, Sicily and Granada, most noble Princes, Greeting and Apostolical benediction.
" Among other works acceptable to the divine majesty and according to our hearts desire, this certainly is the chief, that the Catholic faith and Christian religion, especially in this our time, may in all places be exalted, amplified and enlarged, whereby the health of souls may be procured, and the barbarous nations subdued and brought to the same. And therefore, whereas by the favour of God's clemency (although not with equal deserts) we are called to this holy seat of Peter, and understanding you to be true Catholic princes, as we have ever known you, and as your noble and worthy deeds have declared in manner to the whole world, in that with all your study, diligence, and industry, you have spared no travels, charges, or perils, adventuring even the shedding of your own blood, with applying your whole minds and endeavours hereunto, as your noble expeditions achieved in recovering the kingdom of Granada from the tyranny of the Saracens in these our days, do plainly declare your deeds with great glory of the divine name. For the which, as we think you worthy, so ought we of our own free will favourably to grant all things whereby you may daily with more fervent minds, to the honour of God and the enlarging of the Christian empire, prosecute your devout and laudable purpose most acceptable to the immortal God.
"We are credibly informed that, whereas of late you were determined to seek and find certain islands and main lands far remote and unknown (and not heretofore found by any other), to the intent to bring the inhabitants of the same to our Redeemer, and to profess the Catholic faith, you have hitherto been much occupied in the expugnation and recovery of the kingdom of Granada, by reason whereof you could not bring your said laudable purpose to the end desired. Nevertheless, as it hath pleased Almighty God, the aforesaid kingdom being recovered, willing to accomplish your said desire, you have, not without labour, perils, and charges, appointed our well-beloved son, Christopher Columbus (a man well commended as most worthy and apt for so great a matter), well furnished with men and ships and other necessaries, to seek (by the sea where hitherto no man hath sailed) such main lands and islands far remote and hitherto unknown. Who (by God's help), making diligent search in the ocean sea, have found certain remote islands and main lands which were not heretofore found by any other. In the which, as is said, many nations inhabit, living peaceably and going naked, not accustomed to eat flesh.
"And as far as your messengers can conjecture, the nations inhabiting the aforesaid lands and islands, believe that there is one God creature in heaven : and seem apt to be brought to the embracing of the Catholic faith and to be imbued with good manners : by reason whereof, we may hope that if they be well instructed, they may easily be induced to receive the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
"We are further advertised that the before-named Christopher hath now built and erected a fortress with good munition in one of the aforesaid principal islands, in the which he hath placed a garrison of certain of the Christian men that went thither with him : as well to the intent to defend the same, as also to search other islands and main lands far remote and yet unknown. We also understand, that in these lands and islands lately found, is great plenty of gold and spices, with divers and many other precious things of sundry kinds and qualities.
"Therefore all things diligently considered (especially the amplifying and enlarging of the Catholic faith, as it behoveth Catholic princes following the examples of your noble progenitors of famous memory), whereas you are determined by the favour of Almighty God to subdue and bring to the Catholic faith the inhabitants of the aforesaid lands and islands. We greatly commend this your godly and laudable purpose in our Lord, and desirous to have the same brought to a due end, and the name of our Saviour to be known in these parts, do exhort you in our Lord, and by the receiving of your holy baptism, whereby you are bound to Apostolical obedience, and earnestly require you by the bowels of mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, that when you intend for the zeal of the Catholic faith to prosecute the said expedition to reduce the people of the aforesaid lands and islands to the Christian religion, you shall spare no labours at any time, or be deterred with any perils, concerning firm hope and confidence that the omnipotent God will give good success to your godly attempts. And that being authorised by the privilege of the Apostolical grace, you may the more freely and boldly take, upon you the enterprise of so great a matter, we of our own motion, and not either at your request or at the instant petition of any other person, but of our own mere liberality and certain science, and by the fulness of Apostolical power, do give, grant, and assign to you, your heirs and successors, all the main lands and islands found or to be found, discovered or to be discovered, toward the west and south, drawing a line from the Arctic pole to the Antarctic pole, that is, from the north to the south,
"Containing in this donation, whatsoever main lands or islands are found or to be found toward India, or toward any other part whatsoever it be, being distant from, or without theaforesaid line drawn a hundred leagues toward the west and south from any of the islands which are commonly called De los Azores and Cape Verde. All the islands therefore, and main lands, found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered, from the said line toward the west and south, such as have not actually been heretofore possessed by any other Christian King or Prince, until the day of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ last past, from the which beginneth this present year, being the year of our Lord M.CCCC.LXXXXIII., whensoever any shall be found by your messengers and captains, We by the authority of Almighty God granted unto us in Saint Peter, and by the office which we bear on the earth in the stead of Jesus Christ, do for ever by the tenour of these presents, give, grant, and assign' to you, your heirs and successors (the Kings of Castile and Legion), all these lands and islands,with their dominions, territories, cities, castles, towers, places, and villages, with all the right and jurisdiction thereunto pertaining : constituting, assigning, and deputing you, your heirs and successors, the lords thereof, with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction. Decreeing, nevertheless, by this our donation, grant, and assignation, that from no Christian Prince, who actually hath possessed the aforesaid islands and main lands unto the day of the nativity of our Lord aforesaid, their right obtained to be understood hereby to be taken away, or that it ought to be taken away. Furthermore we command you, in virtue of holy obedience (as you have promised, and as we doubt not you will do upon mere devotion and princely magnanimity), to send to the said main lands and islands, honest, virtuous, and learned men, such as fear God and are able to instruct the inhabitants in the Catholic faith and good manners, applying all their possible diligence in the premises. We furthermore inhibit all manner of persons, of what state, degree, order, or condition soever they be, although of Imperial and regal dignity, under the pain of the sentence of excommunication which they shall incur if they do to the contrary, that they in no case presume, without special licence of you, your heirs and successors, to travel for merchandise or for any other cause, to the said lands or islands, found or to be found, discovered or to be discovered, towards the west and south, drawing a line from the Arctic pole to the Antarctic pole, whether the main lands and islands found and to be found, be situate toward India or toward any other part, being distant from the line drawn a hundred leagues toward the west from any of the islands commonly called De los Azores and Cape Verde : Notwithstanding constitutions, decrees, and Apostolical ordinances whatsoever they are to the contrary : In Him from whom empires, dominions, and all good things do proceed : Trusting that Almighty God directing your enterprises, if you follow your godly and laudable attempts, your labours and travels herein shall in a short time obtain a happy end with felicity and glory of all Christian people. But forasmuch as it should be a thing of great difficulty for these letters to be carried to all such places as should be expedient, we will, and of like motion and knowledge do decree that whithersoever the same shall be sent, or wheresoever they shall be received with the subscription of a common notary thereunto required, with the seal of any person constituted in ecclesiastical dignity, or such as are authorised by the ecclesiastical court, the same faith and credit to be given thereunto in judgment or elsewhere, as should be exhibited to these presents.
"It shall therefore be lawful for no man to infringe,or rashly to act contrary to this letter of our commendation, exhortation, request, donation, grant, assignation, constitution, deputation, decree, commandment, inhibition, and determination. And if any shall presume to attempt the same, he ought to know that he shall thereby incur the indignation of Almighty God and his holy apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's : In the year of the incarnation of
our Lord M.CCCC.LXXXXIII. The
Puzo, Mario & Gino, Carol. The Family. HarperCollins, New York, 2001. According to the late Mario Puzo, he never met a gangster in his life....All the godfather books were based on the life of Pope Alexander VI and his family, especially his daughter, Lucreza, and his son, Caesar.
Parker, Geoffrey, (translator) AT THE COURT OF THE BORGIA being an Accout of the Reign of Pope Alexander VI written by his Master of Ceremonies Father Johann Burchard, the Folio Society, London, 1963.
Prowse, D. W., History of Newfoundland, Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1896.