image Papal Bulls

Aeterni Regis

June 21, 1481

AntiPope Sixtus IV of the Roman Cult

Sixtus, bishop, servant of the servants of God. For a perpetual remembrance.

Since, through the Eternal King's clemency, wheryby kings reign, we have been placed in the most lofty watchtower of the Apostolic See, we earnestly seek the stability, prosperity, quiet, and tranquility of all Catholic kings, under whose auspicious guidance Christ's faithful ones are cherished in justice and peace, and we fervently desire that sweet peace may thrive among them. Moreover we graciously apply the strengthening power of apostolic confirmation to what we find to have been done with that object by our predecessors, the Roman Popes, and others, in order that it may remain forever firm, unshaken, and far removed from any risk of controversy.

A short while ago, when it was brought to the hearing of our predecessor, Pope Nicholas V, of happy memory, that formerly Henry, the infante of Portugal, uncle of our most dear son in Christ, Alfonso, the illustrious king of the kingdoms of Portugal and Algarve-

Afterwards, however, when, through the craftiness of the enemy of humankind, war had raged for some time between the aforesaid King Alfonso and our dearest son in Christ, Ferninand, the illustrious king of Castile and Leon, and their subjects, at length through the operation of divine clemency they reached peace and concord, and, for the purpose of strengthening and establishing peace between them, they concluded certain articles, one of which was to the following effect:

Item, the aforesaid King and Queen of Castile, Aragon, and Sicily, willed and resolved that this peace shall be firm and stable and everlasting, and they promised henceforth and forever that neither directly nor indirectly, neither secretly nor publicly, nor by their heirs and successors, will they disturb, trouble or molest, in fact or in law, in court or out of court, the said king and prince of Portugal or the future sovereigns of Portugal or thier kingdoms in the status of possession or quasi-possession which they hold over all the trade, lands, and barter of Guinea, with its gold mines, or over any other islands, shores, sea coasts, or lands, discovered or to be discovered, found or to be found, or over the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and Desierta, or over all the islands called the Azores, that is, Hawks, and the islands of Flores, nor over the islands of Cape Verde (the Green Cape), nor over the islands already discovered, nor over whatever islands shall be found or acquired from beyond the Canaries, and on this side of and in the vicinity of Guinea, so that whatever has been or shall be found and acquired further in the said limits, shall belong to the said King and Prince of Portugal and to their kingdoms, excepting only the Canary Islands, [namely] Lanzarote, Palma, Forteventura, Gomera, Ferro, Graciosa, Grand Canary, Tenerife, and all the other Canary Islands, acquired or to be acquired, which remain the possession of the kingdoms of Castile. And in like manner they will not disturb, trouble, or molest any persons, whomsoever, who, under any title or in any way or manner whatsoever, shall trade or traffic in or acquire the said merchandise or trade of Guinea, or the said lands, shores or coasts, discovered or to be discovered, in the name or under the authority of the said lords, king and prince of Portugal, or of their successors. On the contrary, by these presents, they do promise and assure, in good faith and without deceit, the said lords, king and prince of Portugal, and their successors, that they will not, of themselves or through others, order or consent, but rather forbid that any of their people, native or subject, in any place or at any time, or in any case, imagined or not imagined, or any other foreign peope who might be within their kingdoms and dominions, or who might be equipped or provisioned in their ports, go to traffic in the said trade, or in the islands or lands of Guinea, discovered or to be discovered, without the permission of the said King and Prince of Portugal. Neither will they give any occassion, favor, opportunity, aid, or consent, direct or indirect, for such trade, nor permit the equipment or freighting of such exeditions for those regions in any manner. And if any of the natives or subjects of the kingdom of Castile, or any foreigners whosoever, shall set about trafficking in , obstructing, injuring, plundering, or acquiring by conquest the said Guinea or its trade, barter, or mines, or the lands and islands, discovered or to be discoveed, without the express license and consent of the said lords, king and prince of Portugal, or their successors, all such shall be punished in the manner, place, and form ordained by the said article of this new revision of the treaties of peace which will and ought to be observed in maritime affairs against those who land upon the shores, bays, or ports in order to plunder, commit depredations, or do evil, or who shall do such things on the high seas.

Moreover, the King and Queen of Castile and Leon, promised and agreed, in the manner abovesaid, for themselves and for their successors, not to concern themselves to interfere in any manner with the conquest of the kingdom of Fez, just as the former sovereigns of Castile, their predecessors, abstained from meddling with it; but the said lords, king and prince of Portugal, and their kingdoms and successors shall have a free hand to prosecute the said conquest and to defend it as they please. And the said lord and lady, king and queen of Castile, promised and agreed faithfully that, neither of themselves nor by any other, in court or out of court, in fact or in law, will they raise against this agreement, nor any part of it, nor anything that pertains to it, any suit, doubt, question, or any other contention, but that, on the contrary, they will observe and fulfill everything strictly, and will cause it to be observed and fulfilled without any diminution. And in order that in the future ignorance might not be alleged of the prohibition and penalties involved in the said matters, the said king and queen immediately ordered the justices and officials of the ports of their aforesaid kingdoms faithfully to observe, fulfill, and execute everything herein ordained, and to proclaim and publish it in their courts and in the said seaports of their aforesaid kingdoms and dominions, so that it might be universally known.

We, therefore, to whom all the Lord's flock is committed by Heaven, and who, as we are bound, desire sweet peace and tranquility to flourish and endure forever between Christian princes and peoples, earnestly wishing that the letters of Nicholas and of Callixtus, our predecessors, and the article inserted above, and all and singular their contents, may remain stable and unimpaired forever, to the praise of the Divine Name and the lasting peace of the princes and peoples of each of the aforesaid realms; of our own motion not in compliance with any petition offered to us on this subject, but of our spontaneous liberality, foresight, and certain knowledge, and from the plenitude of apostolic power, considering the letters of Nicholas and of Calixtus, our predecessors, the articles aforesaid [i.e The Treaty of Alcáçovas], as valid and acceptable, do by apostolic authority and tenor of these presents, approve and confirm them and everything contained in them and secure them by the protection of this present writing, decreeing that they, all and singular, ought to possess full authority and be observed forever. And moreover, by our apostolic writings and on our motion and knowledge aforesaid, we command our venerable brothers, the bishops of Evora and of Silves and of Portugal, that they themselves, or two or one of them, by himself, or another or others, solemnly publishing each of the aforesaid letters and the article, where and when it shall be necessary, and assisting with efficacious protection the said King and Prince of Portugal and their successors, in all and singular the aforesaid, shall not permit the said king and prince and their successors to be molested or even hindered, contrary to the aforesaid, or any part of it, by anyone of whatsoever rank, position, degree, or condition he may be, restraining in our name all persons soever who obstruct, hinder, oppose, or rebel against the aforesaid, by ecclesiastical censures or other legal remdies, without permitting appeals, all [apostolic constitutions] to the contrary notwithstanding, even though an indult shall have been granted by the Apostolic See to any persons, jointly or singly, declaring them to be exempt from interdiction, suspension, or excommunication by apostolic letters that do not make full and express and verbatim mention of the said indult. Let no one, therefore, infringe or with rash boldness contravene this, our confirmation, approbation, reinforcement, regulation, and mandate. Should anyone presume to do so, be it known to him that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's on the twenty-first day of June, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord, one thousand, four hundred and eighty-one, in the tenth year of our pontificate.