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Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, IPA: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃ũ dɨ mɐgɐˈʎɐ̃ĩʃ] Spanish: Fernando de Magallanes) (Spring 1480 – April 27, 1521, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines) was a Portuguese maritime explorer who, while in the service of the Spanish Crown, tried to find a westward route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia

 

Ferdinand Magellan

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Ferdinand Magellan - Virtualology.com
 

Ferdinand Magellan was the leader of the first expedition to circumnavigate the real world. He was the first European to sail across the Pacific Ocean and discovered a route by which ships could sail a complete circle around the world. The Straits of Magellan, located at the Southern tip of South America are named for him. This strait proved to be the connection between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.

Magellan was born the son of Pedro Ruy de Magalhaes and Alda de Mezquita in Sabrosa, Portugal in 1480. In Portuguese his name was Fernao de Magalhaes. Of noble parentage, he became a page at the Portuguese court where he learned astronomy and nautical science. At a young age he was preoccupied by voyages of discovery. In 1505, sailing with Francisco d’Almeida, Magellan took part in an expedition to India for the purpose of establishing Portuguese royalty in India. By the year 1510 he had been promoted to the rank of captain. In 1511, he took part in the Portuguese conquest of Malacca, gaining control of the Strait of Malacca. Although it is not absolutely documented, Magellan may have been part of the voyage that reached the Spice Islands in 1511. Returning home in 1512, he took part in the Portuguese expedition to Marocco and was severely wounded, leaving him lame for life. Feeling he was not sufficiently rewarded for his services, Magellan left the army without permission, leading to his disgrace with the king. He gave up his nationality and offered his services to King Charles I (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V), ruler of Spain in 1517.

Portugal had claimed as theirs the islands of the Far East as a result of the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494. Magellan claimed that many of them, including the rich Spice Islands, actually lay in Spain’s territory, that Portuguese maps had been falsified to conceal this fact. In 1513, Vasco de Balboa had found an ocean on the far side of the New World discovered by Christopher Columbus. Magellan proposed to the Spanish king an expedition to find a passage through the New World to this ocean and to sail west to the Moluccas, thus proving that the Spice Islands lay on the Spanish side of the line of demarcation. King Charles approved the plan. Magellan took the oath of allegiance in the church of Santa Maria de la Victoria de Triana in Seville, and received the imperial standard. He also gave a large sum of money to the monks of the monastery in order that they might pray for the success of the expedition. After a year of preparations the expedition left Seville in September of 1519 in five small vessels.

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean he reached South America at the Bay of Rio de Janeiro by December 13th. They arrived at the estuary of the Rio de la Plata by January 10, 1520 and probed for the passage to the vast western ocean. By March 31st, Magellan decided to spend the next six months there during winter storms. During this time, one ship, The Santiago, was wrecked, a mutiny occurred and was quelled, and another ship was lost to desertion headed back to Spain. The voyage was resumed on August 24, 1520. By October he had sighted what he assumed to be the sought after strait. Ships went ahead and reported what they thought to be an ocean beyond. However, this only proved to be another large bay. After deliberating with his navigators, Magellan decided to proceed. Magellan had just sailed through the strait that would later bear his name, the Strait of Magellan. Those straits were originally called the Canal de Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Channel) by Magellan himself. By late November (November 28) Magellan and the three remaining ships finally reached the ocean which seven years earlier, Balboa had discovered. Because of its apparent calmness, he named it Mar Pacifico, the Pacific Ocean.

Ferdinand Magellan Autographs - Virtualology.com

The voyage proceeded along the coast of South America and on December 18th headed west into the Pacific. One month into the voyage, hardships were encountered. Supplies were depleting, food and drinking water were scarce. Many of the crew died of scurvy. Land was sighted but no landfall was made until Magellan reached the Marianas (or Ladrone) Islands by March of 1521. There he took on more provisions. Landing on the island of Cebu on April 7th, he was received in a friendly manner by the chief and ruler of the island. After eight days, Magellan was able to covert the ruler to Christianity along with hundreds of natives. The ruler agreed to aid him in an attack on the natives of neighboring island, Mactan. There, involved in fighting with natives, Magellan was killed on April 27, 1521.

The two remaining ships were refitted and spices purchased. Under Juan Sebastian del Cano they set sail for the return voyage to Spain. Only one ship, the Victoria, with a crew of only eighteen men and 4 East Indians reached Seville, Spain on September 8, 1522 after a voyage across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope and north through the Atlantic. Completing a voyage of more than three years, they had succeeded in circumnavigating the globe. The spices they brought them amply repaid the expenses of the voyage.

Magellan himself had not succeeded in his principal purpose, to circumnavigate the globe in one voyage. He had, however, provided the skill and determination that made this achievement possible.

Ferdinand Magellan Ship - Virtualology.com

There is no greater name than Ferdinand Magellan in the history of discovery. He succeeded in crossing the Pacific from east to west. His voyage laid the foundation for trade in the Pacific between the New World and the East.  -

Edited Appleton's Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

 

 

The Catholic Encyclopedia:

An International Work of Reference

on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline,

and History of the Catholic Church

By Charles George Herbermann
Edited by Stanley L. Klos 2000

Published by Universal Knowledge Foundation, 1913

 

Magellan, Ferdinand (Portuguese Fernäo Ma- gaUiäes), the first circumnavigator of the world; b. about 1480 at Saborosa in Villa Real, Province of Traz os Montes, Portugal; d. during his voyage of discovery on the Island of Mactan in the Philippines, 27 April, 1521. He was the son of Pedro Ruy de Magalhäes, mayor of the town, and of Alda de Mezquita. He was brought up at the Court of Portugal and learned astronomy and the nautical sciences under good teachers, among whom may have been Martin Behaim. These studies filled him at an early age with enthusiasm for the great voyages of discovery which were being made at that period. In 1505 he took part in the expedition of Francisco d'Almeida, which was equipped to establish the Portuguese viceroyalty in India, and in 1511 he performed important services in the Portuguese conquest of Malacca. He returned home in 1512 and took part in the Portuguese expedition to Marocco, where he was severely wounded. On account of a personal disagreement with the commander-in-chief, he left the army without permission. This and an unfavourable report that nad been made upon him by Almeida led to his disgrace with the king. Condemned to inactivity and checked in his desire for personal distinction, he once more devoted himself to studies and projects to which he was mainly stimulated by the reports of the recently discovered Moluccas sent by his friend Serrao. Serräo so greatly exaggerated the distance of the Moluccas to the east of Malacca 'hat the islands appeared to lie within the half of the world granted by the pope to Spain. Magellan therefore resolved to seek the Moluccas by sailing to the west around South America. As he could not hope to arouse interest for the carrying out of his plans in Portugal, and was himself, moreover, misjudged and ignored, he renounced his nationality and offered his services to Spain. He received much aid from Diego Barbosa, warden of the castle of Seville, whose daughter he married, and from the influential Juan de Aranda, agent of the Indian office, who at once desired to claim the Moluccas for Spain. King Charles I of Spain (afterwards the Emperor Charles V) gave his consent as early as 22 March, 1518, being largely influenced to do this by the advice of Cardinal Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca. The king made an agreement with Magellan which settled the different shares of ownership in the new discoveries, and the rewards to be granted the discoverer, and appointed him commander of the fleet. This fleet consisted of five vessels granted by the government; two of 130 tons each, two of 90 tons each, and one of 60 tons. They were provisioned for 234 persons for two years. Magellan commanded the chief ship, the Trinidad; Juan de Cartagena, the San Antonio; Gaspar de Qucsada, the Concepción ; Luis de Mendoza, the Victoria; Juan Serrano, the Santiago. The expedition also included Duarte Barbosa, Barbosa's nephew, the cosmographer Andres de San Martin, and the Italian Antonio Pigafetta of Vicenza, to whom the account of the voyage is due.

Magellan took the oath of allegiance in the church of Santa Maria de la Victoria de Triana in Seville, and received the imperial standard. He also gave a large sum of money to the monks of the monastery in order that they might pray for the success of the expedition. The fleet sailed 20 September, 1519, from San Lucar de Barameda. They steered by way of the Cape Verde Islands to Cape St. Augustine in Brazil, then along the coast to the Bay of Rio Janeiro (13 December), thence to the mouth of the Plata (10 January, 1520). In both these bodies of water a vain search was made for a passage to the western ocean. On 31 March Magellan decided to spend the winter below 49° 15' south latitude, and remained nearly five months in the harbour of San Julian. While in winter quarters here a mutiny broke out, so that Magellan was forced to execute Qucsada and Mendoza, and to put Cartagena ashore.

The voyage was resumed on 24 August, and on 21 October the fleet reached Cape Vírgenes and, with it, the entrance to the long-sought straits. Those straits, which are 373 miles long, now bear the name of the daring discoverer, though he himself called them Canal de Todos los Santos (All Saints' Channel). The San Antonio with the pilot Gomez on board secretly deserted and returned to Spain, while Magellan went on with the other ships. He entered the straits on 21 November and at the end of three weeks reached the open sea on the other side. As he found a very favourable wind, he gave the name of Mar Pacifico to the vast ocean upon which he now sailed for more than three months, suffering great privation during that time from lack of provisions. Keeping steadily to a northwesterly course, he reached the equator 13 February, 1521, and the Ladrones 6 March.

On 16 March Magellan discovered the Archipelago of San Lázaro, afterwards called the Philippines. He thought to stay here for a time, safe from the Portuguese, and rest his men and repair his ships, so as to arrive in good condition at the now not distant Moluccas. He was received in a friendly manner by the chief of the island of Cebú, who, after eight days, was baptized along with several hundred other natives. Magellan wished to subdue the neighbouring Island of Mactan and was killed there, 27 April, by the poisoned arrows of the natives. After both Duarte Barbosa and Serrano had also lost their lives on the island of Cebú, the ships Trinidad and Victoria set sail under the guidance of Carvalho and Gonzalo Vaz d'Espinosa and reached the Moluccas 8 November, 1521. Only the Victoria, with Sebastian del Cano as captain, and a crew of eighteen men, reached Spain (8 September, 1522). The ship brought back 533 hundredweight of cloves, which amply repaid the expenses of the voyage.

Magellan himself did not reach his goal, the Spice Islands; yet he had accomplished the most difficult part of his task. He had been the first to undertake the circumnavigation of the world, had carried out his project almost completely, and had thus achieved the most difficult nautical feat of all the centuries. The voyage proved most fruitful for science. It gave the first positive proof of the earth's rotundity and the first true idea of the distribution of land and water.

 

 


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