b. 1480 Portugal d.
1521 Mactan Island
The leader of the first expedition to circle the globe was raised as a page in
royal household. He joined the navy in 1505 and went on to serve in the East
Indies. After participating in the victory over Azamor in
he requested a higher pension, but false reports of his involvement in
military misconduct had reached the king and his petition was refused. This
royal denial outraged Magellan who took sweet revenge by asking
of Spain to sponsor
him in his plan to reach the Orient
(Far East) by
sailing west. He had long been convinced, by one of the
royal maps he had studied, that there existed at the base of
passage from the Atlantic Ocean straight through to the Pacific and its island
it was under the Spanish flag that Magellan set sail on September 20, 1519,
with five ships and more than 250 men. One of the crew later wrote that from
the very beginning the captains of the four ships hated Magellan - and for no
other reason than that he happened to be
The voyage was easy enough until they dropped anchor near the southern tip of
. There mutiny (when the crew
rebels) broke out,
which Magellan quickly ended by cutting the throat of one of his captains,
cutting another's head off in full view of his chained men, and leaving a
third on shore. They then proceeded to discover the 360-mile passage that
became known as the
Strait of Magellan.
For a month after that, they battled their way through furious storms until
they reached the relatively calm ocean, that Magellan named the Pacific.
For 110 days they sailed
on, eating only "old biscuits reduced to powder, that was full of grubs, and
stunk from the dirt which rats had made on it when eating the good biscuits,"
drinking water that was "yellow and stinking," and chewing on leather fittings
of the ship. Many on board died of scurvy
(a disease caused by a
lack of vitamin C, that causes your gums to get spongy, your teeth to fall out
and bleeding into your skin).
In the end they reached what are now called the
and it was on the Island
that Magellan was
attacked and killed by natives.
the original five ships, only two managed to attain the Spice Islands, and
only one, the Victoria, survived to clear the southern cape of
intact. Magellan and his crew demonstrated to the known world of 1522 that the
unknown earth was round.
click on the map above to go to Wikipedia and learn more about Magellan and
see a better picture of the map.
Below are links and sites for more information on Ferdinand
This site was last updated
08/04/2004 08:08 PM -0400