What if Columbus made it back to Castillian territory directly from his first voyage, with no Portuguese detours - effects on Tordesillas?

raharris1973

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When Columbus returned from his first Caribbean voyage, he stopped in Portuguese territory, twice, in the Azores and Lisboa, before he set foot again in Spain. He even met with the King of Portugal and bragged about his discoveries, trying to rub it in for the King not supporting him before. The Portuguese King was pissed off and was quizzing Columbus accusing him, correctly, of exploring and claiming lands too far south for Spain according to the Treaty of Alcáçovas.

The Portuguese King threatened to send a fleet west to claim the western lands for himself. He didn't do that, but negotiations started, eventually leading to Papal mediation and the Treaty of Tordesillas, which set a new line of demarcation which happened to grant the great bulk of America to Castille but ended up reserving the Brazilian hump for Portugal.

However, it was storms and other circumstances of the voyage that forced Columbus into these politically risky detours. The Pinta, Captained by the Pinzons, made it back from the New World, directly to northwest Spain. What if Columbus similarly only docked back into Spanish territory after his voyage and didn't have his combined conversation/bragging/interrogation encounter with the Portuguese King? Would the Portuguese be a little less informed on some finer details and a less speedy about making claims and demanding negotiations?

In any negotiations, would Portugal have had less leverage, and Brazil have been placed all within the Spanish sphere of demarcation? If so, what changes?
 
Colombo barely knew anything about the American continent. Its not only likely the Portuguese already knew about the New World, but probably knew more than Colombo.

In any negotiations, would Portugal have had less leverage, and Brazil have been placed all within the Spanish sphere of demarcation? If so, what changes?
I think not, because they likely already knew something was there.

If Portugal doesn't get anything from the Americas, it will probably focus full-time and resources on controlling the route to India and colonizing places on that path. If there's no Iberian Union, Portugal will probably focus on Africa and Asia. We might see a Portuguese Cabo instead of Portuguese Brazil, it would be a good place to settle. Another possibility is larger portuguese holdings in India and Southeast Asia.

One big problem is that the Portuguese won't have Brazil as a cash cow. Then again, gold from South Africa might be the answer. Unsure where they will sate their need for Sugar Cane - holdings in Equatorial Africa?

Without Iberian Union, the Portuguese don't suffer constant attacks from the Dutch and neglect from the higher levels, which would make them more competitive.
 

raharris1973

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Colombo barely knew anything about the American continent. Its not only likely the Portuguese already knew about the New World, but probably knew more than Colombo.


I think not, because they likely already knew something was there.

If Portugal doesn't get anything from the Americas, it will probably focus full-time and resources on controlling the route to India and colonizing places on that path. If there's no Iberian Union, Portugal will probably focus on Africa and Asia. We might see a Portuguese Cabo instead of Portuguese Brazil, it would be a good place to settle. Another possibility is larger portuguese holdings in India and Southeast Asia.

One big problem is that the Portuguese won't have Brazil as a cash cow. Then again, gold from South Africa might be the answer. Unsure where they will sate their need for Sugar Cane - holdings in Equatorial Africa?

Without Iberian Union, the Portuguese don't suffer constant attacks from the Dutch and neglect from the higher levels, which would make them more competitive.

So your summary answer is probably no difference and Portugal gets a Brazil claim anyway, but just maybe Portugal ends up without Brazil.

If Portugal doesn't get anything from the Americas, it will probably focus full-time and resources on controlling the route to India and colonizing places on that path.
Indeed, what they did for most of the 1500s in OTL anyway.

Meanwhile, are the Spanish harvesting much dye wood from Brazil? Brazil seems like it would be a backwater to Spanish conquistadors, who have gold and silver to chase, and dye wood doesn't quite compete. It may be more like La Plata. Settlement founded, stays small, destroyed, refounded a generation or two later. The Spanish know how to grow sugar like the Portuguese do, but they have to purchase slaves (non-Amerindian slaves) from Portuguese dealers. I suspect slower development of Brazil by the Spanish. Would the Spanish be as good at shutting out French interlopers as the Portuguese were in Brazil? Perhaps the Spanish development is led more by Jesuit or other missions rather than conquistadors, like a giant Paraguay.

If there's no Iberian Union, Portugal will probably focus on Africa and Asia.
I don't think that will be the difference-maker in Portugal's orientation. Spain and Portugal did not freely mix, share, or swap colonies under the Iberian Union with the singular exception of transferring Ceuta from Portugal to Spain.

We might see a Portuguese Cabo instead of Portuguese Brazil, it would be a good place to settle.
Maybe - Portuguese and Portuguese descended could certainly survive there. On the other hand, they may not feel they need it, already having Angola and Mozambique. I wonder if they will try sugar-growing in Angola and Mozambique themselves? Although it will be easier for slave laborers to escape.

Another possibility is larger portuguese holdings in India and Southeast Asia.

Portuguese settlers overwhelming the local population in Ceylon/Sri Lanka? I mean conditions are tropical so not conducive to the health of Portuguese, but maybe the sea-breezes and highlands allow enough relief? The Perth area of Western Australia?

There's also just imperial rule over a larger sphere by a warrior merchant class of Portuguese that doesn't really ever form much of a settler population but rules alot of land, living fast, getting rich, dying young.

One big problem is that the Portuguese won't have Brazil as a cash cow.
True. I wonder if Spain will ever enjoy a Brazilian sugar boom like Portugal did. Or another poaching power like France, or Britain, or Netherlands.

Then again, gold from South Africa might be the answer.
Maybe, but South African gold wasn't found until late 19th century. I don't know if the requisite technology to find and dig for it was available in the 1500s, 1600s, or 1700s. On the other hand, if the Portuguese settle the Cabo early and often, populating it thickly with cattle ranches and vineyards and then more intensive farms and towns, they'll become much thicker on the ground than OTL's population, and more likely to find gold dust and nuggets.

Unsure where they will sate their need for Sugar Cane - holdings in Equatorial Africa?
Maybe in Angola or points further north, or in whatever they can hold onto in the East Indies like Timor.

Without Iberian Union, the Portuguese don't suffer constant attacks from the Dutch and neglect from the higher levels, which would make them more competitive.
Yes, that's a potential butterfly. They could dodge that bullet for a thousand reasons. Or they could have an idiot King impale himself on a Crusade and leave his Empire's African and Asian holding open to partial or total spoliation.
 
Colombo barely knew anything about the American continent. Its not only likely the Portuguese already knew about the New World, but probably knew more than Colombo.


I think not, because they likely already knew something was there.

If Portugal doesn't get anything from the Americas, it will probably focus full-time and resources on controlling the route to India and colonizing places on that path. If there's no Iberian Union, Portugal will probably focus on Africa and Asia. We might see a Portuguese Cabo instead of Portuguese Brazil, it would be a good place to settle. Another possibility is larger portuguese holdings in India and Southeast Asia.

One big problem is that the Portuguese won't have Brazil as a cash cow. Then again, gold from South Africa might be the answer. Unsure where they will sate their need for Sugar Cane - holdings in Equatorial Africa?

Without Iberian Union, the Portuguese don't suffer constant attacks from the Dutch and neglect from the higher levels, which would make them more competitive.
Without the Iberian Union there might be fewer attacks, but once others, including the Dutch, start colonising too. There might still be attacks aimed against the competition, which in this case would be Portugal. I find it highly unlikely, that powers like England, France and the Dutch (Republic or even Habsburg Burgundy) will willingly leave Portugal or Castile with a monopoly on such a profitable trade.
 

raharris1973

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Without the Iberian Union there might be fewer attacks, but once others, including the Dutch, start colonising too. There might still be attacks aimed against the competition, which in this case would be Portugal. I find it highly unlikely, that powers like England, France and the Dutch (Republic or even Habsburg Burgundy) will willingly leave Portugal or Castile with a monopoly on such a profitable trade.

Agreed, there won't be a monopoly of the Indies left on the table forever. At a minimum, the English, French, and Dutch will make a place for themselves wherever in the east the Portuguese have not firmly established themselves or heavily fortified. If they need to do some shoving somewhere to get into a major a market, they will do it by hook (hey, give me that port as a dowry when I marry your princess) or crook (bang, bang).
 
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