Audience versions of this page: EducatorOn June 7, 1494, the governments of Spain and Portugal agreed to the Treaty of Tordesillas. This treaty divided the “New World” of the Americas.Spain and Portugal were the most powerful empires at the time. In the Treaty of Tordesillas, they drew a line in the Atlantic Ocean. Any lands west of that line, they decided, belonged to Spain. Any lands east of the line belonged to Portugal. That meant Spain claimed land stretching from what we know today as the state of California, through Mexico, the countries of Central America and the Caribbean Sea, and nearly all of South America. Portugal claimed what is now the largest nation in South America, Brazil.When the Treaty of Tordesillas was created, there were already more than 50 million people in the Americas—from the Inuit in the north, to the Aztecs in Mesoamerica, to the Taino in the Caribbean Sea, to the Inca in the Andes, to the Tupi in the Amazon delta. The Treaty of Tordesillas entirely ignored these people, their customs, and their system of government.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry adhere Verb
to stick to or support.
people and culture focused on the teachings of Jesus and his followers.
to establish control of a foreign land and culture.
a way of doing things that has been handed down from one generation to the next.
the flat, low-lying plain that sometimes forms at the mouth of a river from deposits of sediments.
Encyclopedic Entry: delta disastrous Adjective
group of nations, territories or other groups of people controlled by a single, more powerful authority.
to form or officially organize.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
to not notice or recognize.
indigenous culture Noun
languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods of people who are native to a specific geographic area.
historical unit of distance equal to about 5.5 kilometers (3 miles).
to stay longer than anticipated.
New World Noun
the Western Hemisphere, made up of the Americas and their islands.
official language Noun
language adopted by the government of a nation or other political unit.
to push through.
any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.
Encyclopedic Entry: region stipulate Verb
to make a specific condition as part of an agreement.
extremely powerful nation or country.
official agreement between groups of people.
Treaty of Tordesillas Noun
(1494) agreement between Spain and Portugal dividing the rights to colonize all lands outside of Europe.