Duarte Pereira and Pope`s demarcation line
Real seaman and professional navigator must learn something at the result of previous travels. If Duarte Pereira would use Canary and North Passat currents, he could repeat van Olmen’s mistake. But it was winter in the northern hemisphere when he started his travel. It was better to use alternative currents in order to avoid hurricanes and to try not to meet with vessels sailing under the flag of Spain.
The most convenient current for sailing towards the west in the middle of the ocean was West Passat. Because the mentioned current starts in coasts of the gulf of Guinea between 10north latitude and 20-30 south latitude (width of the current is 300-350 km there) and its width increases when extends towards the west.
Broadening ocean river covers the territory between 20 north latitude and 50 south latitude in the Cape Palmas. Width of the current became 80-90 (800-900 km) at 100 west longitude. The current have a branch moving towards the north-west in the west of the Ferro Island and its width extends to the coast of 200 or 300 east latitude. The South Passat has two branches near the San Roka Cape on Brazilian coasts – Guiana current moving towards the north to the Caribbean basin and Brazilian current extending towards the south to South Winds.
The speed of this current moving from Africa to South American coasts isn’t constant: it is 40-50 km in a day at the beginning, 80-120 km on the meridian of the Cape Palmas (in summer), 60 km at 100 west longitude, but sometimes it may be 110 km a day.
Probably, Pereira entered the South Passat current near the entry of Guinean coasts and sailed towards Brazilian coasts. He couldn’t impede the ocean river, which took the expedition to the considered point. Pereira drew outlines of that coast line as a cartographer and determined coordinates of that place. He returned back without wasting time. Hastiness didn’t let him complete his work.
To my mind, one of main tasks of the secret expedition sent by the king Juan II to the western part of the ocean was to return to the motherland as soon as needed lands are discovered. This task was fulfilled. Members of the expedition might lose a month if they tried to get water and to repair the vessel. That’s why old mistake was repeated after six years during the travel of Cabral.
What was that mistake? As exploration of discovered lands demanded waste of time, it didn’t correspond to the king’s task. Portuguese seamen had to leave mentioned coasts as soon as the land was discovered. That’s why Pereira thought that, he had discovered an island besides a continent as he hadn’t time to check the coast line. Columbus also declared that, he had discovered a group of islands after his first travel. Cabral also thought that, the territory discovered by him was a large island when he saw it for the first time.
In spite of all these, Pereira returned to Lisbon in the first quarter of 1494. Every detail of the prepared report was checked seriously. All distances between Lisbon, remote western coast of Africa, Madeira and Green Cape Islands and Brazilian coasts were fixed in the report. Special attention was paid to coordinates of the discovered territory. I looked through some versions of coordinates and came to the following conclusion: Pereira had reached Brazilian coasts at 10 south latitude and 420-430 west longitude in the territory of San-Luis and Belen. As the coast line is cracked in that territory and the territory of San-Luis is situated on the peninsula, the seaman thought that, he had met with a group of islands.
You may ask why I emphasize that, Pereira reached the territory of today’s San-Luis. I think that, Pereira sailed towards the west by means of the South Passat current near Guinean coasts and met with Guiana and Brazilian currents in the threshold of South America. As the Guinea current moving towards the north rose to latitudes of the Pyrenean peninsula, Pereira chose that current and sailed to 10 south latitude. It was easier to return to Europe from that latitude without wasting time.
Though Columbus’s report of coordinates had been coded, Portuguese presumably knew that, Spaniards had met with lands at 500 west longitude. Pereira wasn’t interested in latitudes before the beginning of 1494. Two factors played important role in this problem. First, Spaniards mightn’t carry out exploration below the 28th parallel of the northern hemisphere according to the treaty of Alcasovas. Otherwise, made discoveries wouldn’t have any juridical basis. Second, Pereira decided to use the South Passat moving towards the west below the equator as he had to fulfill the king’s task in winter. Owing to it, Portuguese achieved their goals. But they couldn’t even imagine that, the territory they had discovered was a continent.
The expedition organized in accordance with the order of the king Manuel I after six years, sailed from Green Cape Islands towards the south under the leadership of Cabral. They sailed towards the west by means of the South Passat current and approached the coast line by means of the Brazilian current blowing towards the south. Pereira’s efforts are matchless in this business. But participation of experienced seamen might reveal secret of the expedition. As Bartolommeo Dias knew the Atlantic Ocean, it was impossible to convince him of the lie about losing way in the ocean. But in spite of all these, though Bartolommeo Dias had understood the ruse, he took this secret to the bottom of the ocean.
The most experienced, the most skilful and well-known seamen of the Pyrenean peninsula Bartolommeo Dias and Duarte Pereira were members of Cabral’s expedition. So they couldn’t lose way in stormy weathers. Those persons knew the eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean very well and were graduates of the most authoritative navigation school. Besides it, they were close friends as B. Dias had rescued Pereira, who had met an accident when returned to Lisbon after the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope.
The difference between them was as following: B. Dias knew western coasts of Africa located between north and south, but Pereira knew islands and archipelagos located in the Atlantic Ocean, which were known for Portuguese seamen. As he knew places of archipelagos and currents very well, he had to be entrusted with the discovery of Brazil. That expedition hadn’t to fail as expeditions of Vogado, Telles, van Olmen and others.
But Cabral’s expedition to India was the last travel for B. Dias, who had discovered the Cape of Good Hope for Europeans. According to historical sources, the expedition met with strong hurricane at the end of May when it left Brazilian coasts and reached the Cape of Good Hope. At the result of it, four vessels of the expedition went down the ocean. B. Dias died on that tragic day.
One of persons, who knew secrets of Brazil’s enigmatic discovery – annalist of the expedition Pero Vaz de Caminha also died during that travel. He was killed together with 50 members of the expedition when indigenous population attacked Portuguese in Calicut. Main witnesses took secrets of Brazil’s discovery to the life hereafter. It corresponded to the Portugal king’s interests.
In a word, the Portugal kingdom could appropriate very large territory owing to Duarte Pereira. Nevertheless, if that expedition resulted in failure as previous travels, they had to be satisfied with islands discovered in the Atlantic Ocean.
Portuguese, who had enough necessary information, demanded to move the demarcation line towards 500 west longitude in order to ensure fair division as if they didn’t know anything about existence of Brazil. At that time almost everybody was sure that the earth’s surface was straight. Portuguese knew that, this factor had to be taken into consideration in order to swindle the Pope by basing on the treaty of Tordesillas. As the earth’s surface was considered straight, all territories extended from the west of the demarcation line to the east had to bePortuguese’s property.
The king Juan II, who was satisfied with results of Pereira’s expedition, asked his diplomatists to organize new negotiations. They had already prepared answers of questions, which would be given by Spaniards’ represent-tatives and pontificator.
Portuguese planned to move the demarcation line for 370 liq instead of 100 liq towards the west from Azores at the result of negotiations with Spaniards held with participation of the Pope. The line was situated on the right of lands discovered by Columbus and near Europe. Representatives of Spaniards were sure that, Portuguese, who weren’t aware of existence of western lands, wanted to own some additional water basin in the ocean in order to ensure security of their vessels. Why did representatives of Spaniards agree with demands of their rivals without any resistance? They didn’t object to compromising useless ocean waters to Portuguese in order to avoid superfluous conflict.
Representatives of Portuguese benefited by results of the discovery made during Cabral’s first travel as islands discovered by the Genoese admiral were situated at 650-700 west longitude and the territory discovered by Pereira was situated at 420-430 west longitude. As 250-300-buffer zone appeared between made discoveries, Portuguese were sure that, Spaniards wouldn’t object to moving the demarcation line for 45-470 towards the west longitude.
It should be especially mentioned that, Portuguesewere successful in that business too. Bahamas, islands of Haiti and Cuba were first lands discovered by Columbus during the transatlantic passage and there weren’t any land in the east of them. Thus, if there was any territory in the east of known islands, Portuguesehad an opportunity to appropriate it. Admiral’s report described only ocean waters in the east of the 65th and 70th meridians. Portu-guese, who used Spaniards’ mistake, sent secret expedition to South American coasts hurriedly, discovered large land area in the east of the considered meridian and kept it secret. Juan II had to invite Spaniards to negotiations and to register secretly discovered lands officially.
Though negotiations hadn’t any significance for some time, they were restored afterwards and the treaty of Tordesillas was concluded on June 7, 1494. As it is known, the demarcation line was moved for 370 liq – 460 30/ towards the west from Azores and Brazil became property of Portugal. America became property of Spanish kings besides the remote western part of today’s Brazil. But in spite of it, it wasn’t considered victory of Spaniards. Thus, political geography of coasts of the New World was founded and the Pope sealed it up.
Thus, Portugueseswindled Spaniards by means of the Pope Alexander Borgia VI and appropriated Brazil which’s total area was equal to 8,5 milion square kilometers. That unjust division disclaimed efforts of Spaniards as Brazilian coasts were visited by Spanish sea travelers Vicente Pinson and Diego Lepe for the first time. Portuguese should be grateful to Duarte Pereira, but not Pedro Cabral for being owner of Latin America. Most seamen weren’t successful in discovering lands in the west of the Atlantic Ocean though following task was given to them. But Pereira could achieve mentioned goal. The experienced captain discovered lands, which were very important for the king Juan II, and could return to Europe before next negotiations held with Spaniards. Besides it, he participated in negotiations held in Tordesillas and swindled Spaniards by means of the Pope. The captain was obliged to keep this secret till the day he died.
It should be mentioned that, Portuguesecould swindle their rivals as able hypnotizers. They pretended as if Spaniards had appropriated their lands. At the result of it, the demarcation line was moved towards the west.
The pontificator granted Ferdinand and Isabella titles of “Catholic Kings” in the same year.
The king Juan II was satisfied with the treaty concluded with Castilia as Portugal was aware of existence of Brazil and it could appropriate it. Portuguesedidn’t know territories located on the other side of Brazil, they thought that, Brazil was situated in a large island as Madeira Islands, Azores and Green Cape Islands.
Portugueseshould be grateful to Pereira, but not Cabral. After his travel, the longitude of Brazilian coasts was determined and the Portugal kingdom could appropriate Brazil.
Besides it, Pereira became well-known as the military commander in the next years. He travelled to Cochin City of India in 1503 and resisted to the army of 60 thousand fighters with 8 thousand soldiers. They wanted to banish Portuguesefrom India, but failed.
Pereira was appointed commandant of the Elmina fort, which was situated on the “Gold Coast” of Africa. But after a while, he became victim of intrigues and was on trial. He was accused of the false accusation – theft and corruption and was arrested. Though the seaman was fully exonerated afterwards, he lost his position, wealth and authority. He died in poverty and misery.
Spaniards began to send different expeditions to coasts of the New World before the third travel of Columbus. Expeditions were organized in order to explore territories of Anthill Islands and continents located in the north and south of them. It means that, lands located in the south of 280 north latitude were becoming property of Spaniards.
Spanish sea travelers, who didn’t want to pay attention to previous bulls of Popes, began to sail below the 28th parallel in stages in accordance with permissions of monarchs and to appropriate territories located there.
President grant holder on literature, laureate of the “Golden pen” award Ramiz Daniz
A piece from book ” Enigmatic discovery of Brazil”