THE MADRID TREATY - 1750

Luiz Eniani Caminha Giorgis

 - Vice-president of IHTRGS

At exactly 250 years ago, Portugal and Spain signed the Treaty that “created” what, nowadays is Rio Grande do Sul. Before the Madrid Treaty, the Tordesilhas meridian excluded our state because it had split Brazil between Belém do Pará and Laguna. That is, the gaúcho territory belonged to Spain.

The Madrid Treaty has terminated Tordesilhas, and has granted to the Portuguese Crown the formal right to the land that, in fact, has already been its. Since 1680, when the Nova Colônia do Santíssimo Sacramento was founded, at the margins of Rio da Prata, by the Portuguese, the latter already circulated within our territory. In 1737, thirteen years before the Treaty was signed, the Brigadier José da Silva Pais, returning from Colônia do Sacramento, founded the prison Jesus Maria José, the second Portuguese settlement in the south, that originated the city of Rio Grande. On that time, the only Spanish people were the Jesuits who have founded the Sete Povos das Missões, with the priests Roque Gonzales de Santa Cruz, Afonso Rodrigues and Juan Dei.

The Treaty was signed to end the Lusitanian-Spanish disputes on the American lands through the exchange of Colônia do Sacramento for the Missões that Portugal had founded, within the Spanish territory, I order to have a free navigation in Rio da Prata. During the Treaty dealings, a Brazilian from São Paulo played an important role. It was the diplomat Alexandre de Gusmão, who was a member of the Ultramarine Council and “Escrivão da Puridade” (secretary) of the King Dom João V.

The importance of the Madrid Treaty for the Brazilian and Rio Grande do Sul history is great because, even before its formal signature, it:

=> Exchanged Colônia do Sacramento for the territory of  Sete Povos das Missões; 

=> Terminated the Tordesilhas Treaty that annulated the meridian that divided Brazil between Portugal (East) and Spain (West), and our territory became more or less what it is nowadays;

=> Consecrated the principle Uti-Possidetis (who has the possession has the dominium); gave to Spain the exclusive right of navigating in Rio da Prata; 

=> Provoked the guarani Indians’ reaction, with the cacique José (Sepé) Tiarajú, and gave origin to the Guaranítica War (1752-56). Sepé was killed three days before the last battle, named Caibaté, where more than 1,700 Indians died.

=> Motivated the coming of the Azorean couples to the south of Brazil. In 1752, Porto Alegre was founded;

=> Increased the Portuguese military aid to the south;

=> Motivated the moving from the capital from Salvador (BA) to Rio de Janeiro; 

=> Created the Capitany D’El Rey de São Pedro do Rio Grande do Sul; and gave possession of Amazon to Portugal;

=> Motivated the construction of the Fort Príncipe da Beira, of the fortresses of Macapá and Tabatinga, among others; 

=> Defined Uruguay River as the west border of Brazil and Argentina. 

At the same time, other important facts took place in the year 1750, and, from then on, the reflects were felt in Brazil:

=> The Portuguese Crown went to Dom José 1, succeeding Dom João V; 

=> Dom José indicates Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, who later became Marquês do Pombal, as First Minister, giving to him full powers;

=> Pombal adopts measures to strengthen the royal power; 

=> In Europe, the clergy and nobles loose privileges, in England, Industrial Revolution started.

However, the Madrid Treaty has suffered much opposition, mainly in the border demarcation, mainly by the guarani Indians, insufflated by the Jesuits.

   Before its confirmation, the following intermediary agreements were signed in Badajoz (1801):

=> El Pardo Treaty  (1761): ceases the Madrid Treaty and with it the border demarcation. Spain declares war to Portugal;   

=> Paris Treaty (1763): ends the war;   

=> Santo IldefonsoTreaty (1777): terminates the fights between Portuguese and Spaniard.  Colônia do Sacramento and the Missões go to Spain and Portugal remains with the island of Santa Catarina. The territory of São Pedro do Rio Grande was split in the middle, and the border passed on the surroundings of what today is Santa Maria;  

=> Badajoz Treaty (1801): puts an end to the war between Portugal and Spain (Laranjas war). Finally, it confirms the Treaty of Madrid. Before this, the lusitanian-brazilian- gaúchos had invaded the banishing the Spaniards. What was conquered remained ours. The Capitany borders with Spanish possessions on the West are the same as we have today, except the limits with Uruguay that were established later.

The Madrid Treaty, in some ways, provoked more fights, instead of terminating them. The truth is that the Spaniards have never agreed in loosing the São Pedro Capitany to Portugal, as well as they did not accept transferring to the Portuguese, the Banda Oriental (present Uruguay). This has resulted in the invasions of Pedro Cevallos (1762) and Vertiz y Salcedo (1773). The latter was beat in Pantano Grande by our hero, Brigadier Rafael Pinto Bandeira, who created the  “gaúcho war style”, according to the historian Colonel Cláudio Moreira Bento. And, also the battles against Artigas, Rivera, Lavalleja and Alvear (Cisplatine War).

The situation was solved only in 1828, by the Rio de Janeiro Treaty, and with the creation of the Republic of Uruguay, and the border delimitation.