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Ferdinand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan

b. 1480 Portugal d. 1521 Mactan Island

 

The leader of the first expedition to circle the globe was raised as a page in the Portuguese 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 Northern Africa, 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 Charles I 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 Portuguese royal maps he had studied, that there existed at the base of South America a sailable passage from the Atlantic Ocean straight through to the Pacific and its island riches.
 
So 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 Portuguese. The voyage was easy enough until they dropped anchor near the southern tip of South America . 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 Philippines, and it was on the Island of Mactan that Magellan was attacked and killed by natives.
 
Of the original five ships, only two managed to attain the Spice Islands, and only one, the Victoria, survived to clear the southern cape of Africa and reach Spain 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 Magellan.
 

MAGELLAN

Ferdinand Magellan

Magellan

Magellan's Voyage

Magellan

Magellan Portuguese Explorer

 

 

 

 

This site was last  updated 08/04/2004 08:08 PM -0400