Copia de la Bula de la concession que hizo el Papa Alexandro sexto al Rey y Reyna nuestros señores de la Indias [the Bull Inter caetera divinae maestati, 4 May 1493, with:] Clausula de testamento de la muy Catolica Reyna dona Isabel de gloriosa memoria. [With:] Bula de la concession de los Diezmos [the Bull Eximiae devotionis sinceritas, 16 November 1501, with the Bull Dudum siquidem omnes, 26 September 1493]. N.p., n.d. [Madrid: Pedro Madrigal?, c. 1590]
Folio (11 x 7 7/8 in.; 280 x 200 mm). collation: 4 [2-3]2=  leaves, two 8-line floriated woodcut initials, one 6-line historiated woodcut initial, and one 5-line foliated woodcut initial; a few tiny mends in gutter margins. Modern wrappers, in a black half-morocco slip-case, gilt-stamped red leather title label on spine.
First printing of three of the four key documents bestowing on Spain sovereignty in the New World, including the three bulls of Pope Alexander VI, and the Codicil of Queen Isabella's will, by which Spain laid claim to exclusive possession of the whole of America and asserted her king's right to rule over the American Indians. It is printed in crown-approved style, and though it does not bear an imprint or colophon, a study of the typography and woodcut initials, done by Richard Boulind for the bookseller H.P. Kraus (included with this lot), shows it was printed in the early 1590s by the Madrid firm of Pedro Madrigal.
Pope Nicholas V had given the Portuguese, in 1454, the right of conquest along the route east to the Indies. At the request of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Alexander VI issued his bull Inter caetera granting to Spain possession of all lands discovered and to be discovered by Columbus, excluding Portugal from these lands. A meridian of demarcation was established 100 leagues to the west of the Cape Verde Islands (later 370 leagues by the Treaty of Tordesillas), granting to Spain all to the east and to Portugal all to the west of that line. In this imprint it begins with the Inspeximus of Jaime de Conchillos, bishop of Catania [reg. 1509-1512]. This is the only one of the four documents to be printed prior to this impression.
The bull Eximiae devotionis grants to Spain all tithes and profits made in their New World possessions as long as the king agrees to provide for the Church and her priests in those regions. The famous codicil to Queen Isabella's will, made at Medina del Campo, 12 October 1504, concerns the treatment of the American Indians, and became part of Spanish law. The bull Dudum siquidem extends these grants and revokes prior grants made to Portugal. In this imprint it begins with the Inspeximus of Alfonso de Fonseca, archbishop of Toledo [reg. 1524-1534], dated 9 May 1530. Each of these three documents appear here for the first time in print.
The argument for the imprint given above is based on the use of italic type (with roman used only for the caption titles and the final paragraph of authentication), commonly used for official publications during Philip II's reign (earlier imprints used black letter for official publishing). The decorative initials were found in dated official publications of 1591 (Medina, BHA 331; Palau 58848) and in the 1594 edition of Rivadeneira's Vida del P. Ignacio de Loyola, both the productions of Madrigal in Madrid (fl. 1586-1594). His firm produced literary works, but also the proceedings of the Castilian Cortes, the laws of the guild of Mesta, and ordinances of the Inquisition.
Boulind suggests two reasons why these documents should appear at this time. Philip II's effort to increase royal revenue from the Indies by imposing taxes on the Indians and European settlers was justified by these documents. Also, Spanish explorers typically carried commissions and grants of powers to impress natives, establish prior legal claims, and upstage rival explorers from other countries and the present imprint could have been created for such use.
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