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New Editorial: Erasing the Line

By: Randall Lesaffer

The success and expansion of Portuguese colonial settlements in the regions west and south of São Paulo in the mid-18th century caused increasing tension between the Portuguese and Spanish crowns and opened a new chapter in the two European powers’ competition on the Atlantic side of South America. After decades of rising conflict and clashes on the ground, on 13 January 1750, at the instigation of Alexandre de Gusmão (1693–1753), the most trusted minister of the Portuguese King João V (1689–1750), a compromise was reached between the two crowns through the signing of the Treaty of Madrid (38 CTS 457).

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Image credit: A 1799 map of South America by the English mapmaker Clement Cruttwell, showing ‘[t]he Line of Demarcation between the Spaniards & Portuguese as fixed by Pope Alexander VI, in the Year 1500’. Via Wikimedia Commons. {{PD-US}}. View a larger version.

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