On 7 June 1494, the Spanish and Portuguese governments approved the Treaty of Tordesillas, named after the spanish city where it was founded. The Treaty of Tordesillas included America`s “New World” between the two superpowers. Spain and Portugal divided the New World by controlling a north-south line of delimitation in the Atlantic Ocean, about 100 leagues (555 kilometers or 345 miles) west of the Cape Verde Islands, off Northwest Africa and then Portugal. All countries east of this line (about 46 degrees, 37 minutes to the west) have been claimed by Portugal. All the countries west of this line have been claimed by Spain. Spain and Portugal complied with the treaty without major conflict between the two, although the demarcation line was moved by an additional 270 leagues (about 1500 kilometers, or 932 miles) further west in 1506, allowing Portugal to claim the east coast of present-day Brazil. For example, all Latin American countries are predominantly Spanish-speaking countries, with the exception of Brazil, where Portuguese is the national language. This is due to the fact that the eastern tip of Brazil is located east of the demarcation line governed by the Treaty of Tordesillas and that the majority of Portuguese colonization took place. The boundaries of modern Brazil have been contested since the enlargement of the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1506.
Spain and Portugal were the only signatories to the treaty because they were the only European powers present in America. The treaty does not accept the future claims of the British, French and European superpowers of their respective times. The British, French and Dutch empires did not claim part of America until years after the Treaty of Tordesillas. But more importantly, the Treaty of Tordesillas has completely ignored the millions of people who already live in established communities in America. The treaty stipulated that countries with a “Christian king” should not be colonized. Of course, at that time, Christianity had not spread in America. This meant that if the country was not already claimed by a Christian (European) ruler, Spain and Portugal could, according to the terms of their treaty, claim virtually every country they could conquer in America.