Published: September 6, 2010
For eight years after the return of the Victoria , Spain and Portugal quarreled over the Moluccas-also called the Spice Islands-each claiming ownership of this valuable prize.
The Spanish king claimed that the Moluccas were on his of the demarcation line of 1494, but the Portuguese king insisted that they belonged to Portugal. Geographical knowledge in the sixteenth century was not very accurate. The geographers themselves often quarreled about the exact location of the Molluccas. But the rulers of Spain and Portugal were relatives, and both said the question of ownership should be settled peacefully.
On April 22, 1529, Spain and Portugal concluded the Treaty of Zaragosa.by this treaty, King Charles I of Spain sold his rights over the Moluccas to Portugal for350,000 gold ducats(equivalent to about 12.5 million Philippine pesos today). A new demarcation line was also fixed at 297-½ leagues east of the Moluccas, with all lands west to go to Spain.
The treaty of Zaragoza greatly benefited Spain. By it, Portugal bought what it already owned by treaty. Moluccas (including Philippines) are situated on the eastern side of the demarcation lines, and hence these islands really belonged to the Portugal according to the treaty of Tordesillas. Spain, not being the real owner of the islands, gained by selling what was not hers. But of course, boundaries wee unclear in those early days of explortation and discovery and did not really matter much.