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For the Presidential railcar named c  , see Ferdinand Magellan Railcar.


Sabrosa, Portugal

April 27, 1521 (aged 4041)

Cebu, Philippines

  : Ferno de Magalhes

  : Fernando de Magallanes

Captained the first circumnavigation


c   (birth name in Portuguese: c 

, Portuguese
pronunciation: [f n w m  s]; Spanish: c     ) (c. 1480 April
27, 1521) was a Portuguese explorer. He was born at Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, but later
obtained Spanish nationality in order to serve king Charles I of Spain in search of a westward
route to the "Spice Islands" (modern Maluku Islands in Indonesia).

Magellan's expedition of 15191522 became the first expedition to sail from the Atlantic Ocean
into the Pacific Ocean (then named "peaceful sea" by Magellan; the passage being made via the
Strait of Magellan), and the first to cross the Pacific. It also completed the first circumnavigation
of the Earth, although Magellan himself did not complete the entire voyage, being killed during
the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines. (Magellan had, however, traveled eastwards to the Malay
Peninsula on an earlier voyage, so he became one of the first explorers to cross all of the
meridians of the globe.) Of the 237 men who set out on five ships, only 18 completed the
circumnavigation and managed to return to Spain in 1522,[1][2] led by the Basque navigator Juan
Sebastin Elcano, who took over command of the expedition after Magellan's death. Seventeen
other men arrived later in Spain: twelve men captured by the Portuguese in Cape Verde some
weeks earlier and between 1525 and 1527, and five survivors of the M.

Magellan also gives his name to the Magellanic Penguin, which he was the first European to
note,[3] and the Magellanic clouds, now known to be nearby dwarf galaxies.


2p 1 Early life and travels

2p 2 Voyage of circumnavigation
p 2.1 Background: Spanish search for a westward route to Asia
p 2.2 Funding and preparation
p 2.3 The fleet
p 2.4 The crew
p 2.5 Departure and crossing of the Atlantic
p 2.6 Passage into the Pacific
p 2.7 Death in the Philippines
p 2.8 Return
p 2.9 Survivors
2p 3 Aftermath and legacy
2p 4 See also
2p 5 References and footnotes
2p 6 Further reading
p 6.1 Primary sources
p 6.2 Secondary sources
p 6.3 Online sources
2p 7 External links

Magellan was born around 1480 at Sabrosa, near Vila Real, in the province of Trs-os-Montes,
in Portugal. He was the son of Rui de Magalhes (son of Pedro Afonso de Magalhes and wife
Quinta de Sousa) and wife Alda de Mesquita and brother of Duarte de Sousa, Diogo de Sousa
and Isabel de Magalhes. After the death of his parents during his tenth year he became a page to
Queen Leonor at the Portuguese royal court because of his family's heritage.
In March 1505, at the age of 25, Magellan enlisted in the fleet of 22 ships sent to host D.
Francisco de Almeida as the first viceroy of Portuguese India. Although his name does not
appear in the chronicles, it is known that he remained there eight years, in Goa, Cochin and
Quilon. He participated in several battles, including the battle of Cannanore in 1506, where he
was wounded. In 1509 he fought in the battle of Diu[4] and later sailed under Diogo Lopes de
Sequeira in the first Portuguese embassy to Malacca, with Francisco Serro, his friend and
possibly cousin.[5] In September, after arriving at Malacca, the expedition fell victim to a
conspiracy ending in retreat. Magellan had a crucial role, warning Sequeira and saving Francisco
Serro, who had landed.[6] This performance earned him honors and a promotion.

In 1511, under the new governor Afonso de Albuquerque, Magellan and Serro participated in
the conquest of Malacca. After the conquest their ways parted: Magellan was promoted, with a
rich plunder, and in the company of a Malay he had indentured and baptised Enrique of Malacca,
returned to Portugal in 1512. Serro departed in the first expedition sent to find the "Spice
Islands" in the Moluccas, where he remained, having married a woman from Amboina and
becoming a military advisor to the Sultan of Ternate, Bayan Sirrullah. His letters to Magellan
would prove decisive, giving information about the spice-producing territories.[7][8]

After taking a leave without permission, Magellan fell out of favour. Serving in Azemmour he
was wounded and got a permanent limp. He was also accused of trading illegally with the Moors.
The accusations were proved false, but there were no further offers of employment after May 15,
1514. Later on in 1515, he got an employment offer as a crew member on a Portuguese ship, but
rejected. In 1517 after a quarrel with king D. Manuel I, who denied his persistent demands to
lead an expedition to reach the spice islands from west, he left for Spain. In Seville he befriended
his countryman Diogo Barbosa and soon married his daughter Beatriz Barbosa having had two
children: Rodrigo de Magalhes[9] and Carlos de Magalhes, both of whom died at a young age.
Meanwhile he devoted himself to studying the most recent charts, investigating, in partnership
with cosmographer Rui Faleiro, a gateway from the Atlantic to the South Pacific and the
possibility of the Moluccas being Spanish according to the demarcation of the Treaty of



The aim of Christopher Columbus' 14921503 voyages to the West had been to reach the Indies
and to establish commercial relations between Spain and the Asian kingdoms. The Spanish soon
realized that the lands of the Americas were not a part of Asia, but a new continent. The 1494
Treaty of Tordesillas reserved for Portugal the eastern routes that went around Africa, and Vasco
da Gama and the Portuguese arrived in India in 1498. It became urgent for Spain to find a new
commercial route to Asia, and after the Junta de Toro conference of 1505, the Spanish Crown set
out to discover a route to the west. Spanish explorer Vasco Nez de Balboa reached the Pacific
Ocean in 1513 after crossing the Isthmus of Panama, and Juan Daz de Sols died in Ro de la
Plata in 1516 while exploring South America in the service of Spain.


In October 1517 in Seville, Magellan contacted Juan de Aranda, Factor of the 0  
0 . Then, following the arrival of his partner, Rui Faleiro, and with the support of
Aranda, they presented their project to the Spanish king, Charles I, future Charles V. Magellan's
project was particularly interesting, since it would open the "spice route" without damaging
relations with the neighbouring Portuguese. The idea was in tune with the times. On March 22,
1518 the king named Magellan and Faleiro captains so that they could travel in search of the
Spice Islands in July. He raised them to the rank of Commander of the Order of Santiago. The
king granted them:[10]

2p Monopoly of the discovered route for a period of ten years.

2p Their appointment as governors of the lands and islands found, with 5% of the resulting
net gains.
2p A fifth of the gains of the travel.
2p The right to levy one thousand ducats on upcoming trips, paying only 5% on the
2p Granting of an island for each one, apart from the six richest, from which they would
receive a fifteenth.

The expedition was funded largely by the Spanish Crown and provided with ships carrying
supplies for two years of travel. Diogo Ribeiro, a Portuguese who had started working for
Charles V in 1518[11] as a cartographer at the 0  0 , took part in the
development of the maps to be used in the travel. Several problems arose during the preparation
of the trip, including lack of money, the king of Portugal trying to stop them, Magellan and other
Portuguese incurring suspicion from the Spanish and the difficult nature of Faleiro.[12] Finally,
thanks to the tenacity of Magellan, the expedition was ready. Through the bishop Juan Rodrguez
de Fonseca they obtained the participation of merchant Christopher de Haro, who provided a
quarter of the funds and goods to barter.


6 , the sole ship of Magellan's fleet to complete the circumnavigation. Detail from a map
by Ortelius, 1590.
The fleet provided by King Charles V included five ships: the flagship M (110 tons, crew
55), under Magellan's command;   (120 tons, crew 60) commanded by Juan de
Cartagena; 0    (90 tons, crew 45) commanded by Gaspar de Quesada;  (75
tons, crew 32) commanded by Juan Serrano; and 6  (85 tons, crew 43), named after the
church of Santa Maria de la Victoria de Triana, where Magellan took an oath of allegiance to
Charles V, commanded by Luis Mendoza. M was a caravel, and all others rated as
carracks or "naus".


The crew of about 234 included men from several nations: Portuguese, Spanish, Italians,
Germans, Flemish, Greeks and French. Spanish authorities were wary of Magellan, so that they
almost prevented him from sailing, switching his mostly Portuguese crew to mostly men of
Spain. Nevertheless, it included about 40 Portuguese, among them Magellan's brother in law
Duarte Barbosa, Joo Serro, a relative of Francisco Serro, Estvo Gomes and also Magellan's
indentured servant Enrique of Malacca. Faleiro, who had planned to accompany the voyage,
withdrew prior to boarding. Juan Sebastin Elcano, a Spanish merchant ship captain settled at
Seville, embarked seeking the king's pardon for previous misdeeds and Antonio Pigafetta, a
Venetian scholar and traveller, had asked to be on the voyage accepting the title of
"supernumerary" and a modest salary, becoming a strict assistant of Magellan and keeping an
accurate journal. The only other sailor to report the voyage would be Francisco Albo, who kept a
formal logbook.



The arrow points to the city of Sanlcar de Barrameda on the delta of the Guadalquivir River, in

On August 10, 1519, the five ships under Magellan's command M,   ,
0  , 6  and  left Seville and descended the Guadalquivir River to
Sanlcar de Barrameda, at the mouth of the river. There they remained more than five weeks.
Finally they set sail on September 20.

King Manuel I ordered a Portuguese naval detachment to pursue Magellan, but Magellan
avoided them. After stopping at the Canary Islands, Magellan arrived at Cape Verde, where he
set course for Cape St. Augustine in Brazil. On November 27 the expedition crossed the equator;
on December 6 the crew sighted South America.

As Brazil was Portuguese territory, Magellan avoided it and on December 13 anchored near
present-day Rio de Janeiro. There the crew was resupplied, but bad conditions caused them to
delay. Afterwards, they continued to sail south along South America's east coast, looking for the
strait that Magellan believed would lead to the Spice Islands. The fleet reached Ro de la Plata on
January 10, 1520.

On 30 March the crew established a settlement they called Puerto San Julian (Argentina). On
April 2 a mutiny involving two of the five ship captains broke out, but it was unsuccessful
because most of the crew remained loyal. Juan Sebastin Elcano was one of those who were
forgiven. Antonio Pigafetta, related that Gaspar Quesada, the captain of 0   , was
executed; Juan de Cartagena, the captain of   , and a priest named Padre Sanchez de la
Reina were instead marooned on the coast. Another account states that Luis de Mendoza, the
captain of 6 , was executed along with Quesada.[13] Reportedly those killed were drawn
and quartered and impaled on the coast; years later, their bones were found by Sir Francis

The Strait of Magellan cuts through the southern tip of South America connecting the Atlantic
Ocean and Pacific Ocean.


The journey resumed. The help of Duarte Barbosa was crucial to face the riot in Puerto San
Julian, becoming since then captain of the 6 . The  was sent down the coast on a
scouting expedition and was wrecked in a sudden storm. All of its crew survived and made it
safely to shore. Two of them returned overland to inform Magellan of what had happened, and to
bring rescue to their comrades. After this experience, Magellan decided to wait for a few weeks
more before again resuming the voyage.

At 52S latitude on October 21 the fleet reached Cape Virgenes and concluded they had found
the passage, because the waters were brine and deep inland. Four ships began an arduous trip
through the 373-mile (600 km) long passage that Magellan called the    0  M  
 , ("All Saints' Channel"), because the fleet travelled through it on November 1 or All
Saints' Day. The strait is now named the Strait of Magellan. Magellan first assigned 0   
and   to explore the strait, but the latter, commanded by Gmez, deserted and
returned to Spain on November 20. On November 28 the three remaining ships entered the South
Pacific. Magellan named the waters the  (Pacific Ocean) because of its apparent
stillness.[13] Magellan was the first European to reach Tierra del Fuego just east of the Pacific
side of the strait.


Monument in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu in the Philippines.

Heading northwest, the crew reached the equator on February 13, 1521. On 6 March they
reached the Marianas and Guam. Magellan called Guam the "Island of Sails" because they saw a
lot of sailboats. They renamed it to "Ladrones Island" (Island of Thieves) because many of
Ms small boats were stolen there. On 16 March Magellan reached the island of
Homonhon in the Philippines, with 150 crew left. Members of his expedition became the first
Spaniards to reach the Philippine archipelago, but they were not the first Europeans.[16]

Magellan was able to communicate with the native tribes because his Malay interpreter, Enrique,
could understand their languages. Enrique was indentured by Magellan in 1511 right after the
colonization of Malacca and was at his side during the battles in Africa, during Magellan's
disgrace at the King's court in Portugal and during Magellan's successful raising of a fleet. They
traded gifts with Rajah Siaiu of Mazaua[17] who guided them to Cebu on April 7.

Rajah Humabon of Cebu was friendly towards Magellan and the Spaniards, both he and his
queen Hara Amihan were baptized as Christians. Afterward, Rajah Humabon and his ally Datu
Zula convinced Magellan to kill their enemy, Datu Lapu-Lapu, on Mactan. Magellan had wished
to convert Lapu-Lapu to Christianity, as he had Humabon, a proposal of which Lapu-Lapu was
dismissive. On the morning of April 27, 1521, Magellan sailed to Mactan with a small attack
force. During the resulting battle against Lapu-Lapu's troops, Magellan was shot by a poisonous
arrow and later surrounded and finished off with spears and other weapons.

Magellan's voyage led to Limasawa, Cebu, Mactan, Palawan, Brunei, Celebes and finally to the
Spice Islands.

Pigafetta and Gins de Mafra provided written documents of the events culminating in
Magellan's death:

"When morning came, forty-nine of us leaped into the water up to our thighs, and walked
through water for more than two cross-bow flights before we could reach the shore. The boats
could not approach nearer because of certain rocks in the water. The other eleven men remained
behind to guard the boats. When we reached land, [the natives] had formed in three divisions to
the number of more than one thousand five hundred people. When they saw us, they charged
down upon us with exceeding loud cries... The musketeers and crossbow-men shot from a
distance for about a half-hour, but uselessly... Recognizing the captain, so many turned upon him
that they knocked his helmet off his head twice... A native hurled a bamboo spear into the
captain's face, but the latter immediately killed him with his lance, which he left in the native's
body. Then, trying to lay hand on sword, he could draw it out but halfway, because he had been
wounded in the arm with a bamboo spear. When the natives saw that, they all hurled themselves
upon him. One of them wounded him on the left leg with a large cutlass, which resembles a
scimitar, only being larger. That caused the captain to fall face downward, when immediately
they rushed upon him with iron and bamboo spears and with their cutlasses, until they killed our
mirror, our light, our comfort, and our true guide. When they wounded him, he turned back many
times to see whether we were all in the boats. Thereupon, beholding him dead, we, wounded,
retreated, as best we could, to the boats, which were already pulling off."[18]

Magellan provided in his will that Enrique, his interpreter, was to be freed upon his death.
However, after the Battle of Mactan, the remaining ships' masters refused to free Enrique.
Enrique escaped his indenture on May 1 with the aid of Rajah Humabon, amid the deaths of
almost 30 crewmen. Pigafetta had been jotting down words in both Butuanon and Cebuano
languages which he started at Mazaua on Friday, 29 March and grew to a total of 145 words
and was apparently able to continue communications during the rest of the voyage. The
Spaniards offered the natives merchandise in exchange for Magellan's body, but they were
declined and so his body was never recovered.[19]

Magellan's - Elcano voyage. 6 , one of the original five ships, circumnavigated the globe,
finishing 16 months after the explorer's death.

The casualties suffered in the Philippines left the expedition with too few men to sail all three of
the remaining ships. Consequently, on May 2 they abandoned 0   and burned the ship.
The fleet, reduced to M and 6 , fled westward to Palawan. They left that island on
June 21 and were guided to Brunei, Borneo by Moro pilots who could navigate the shallow seas.
They anchored off the Brunei breakwater for 35 days, where Pigafetta, an Italian from Vicenza,
recorded the splendour of Rajah Siripada's court (gold, two pearls the size of hens' eggs, etc.). In
addition, Brunei boasted tame elephants and armament of 62 cannons, more than 5 times the
armament of Magellan's ships, and Brunei disdained cloves, which were to prove more valuable
than gold, upon the return to Spain. Pigafetta mentions some of the technology of the court, such
as porcelain and eyeglasses (both of which were not available or only just becoming available in

After reaching the Maluku Islands (the Spice Islands) on November 6, 115 crew were left. They
managed to trade with the Sultan of Tidore, a rival of the Sultan of Ternate, who was the ally of
the Portuguese.

The two remaining ships, laden with valuable spices, attempted to return to Spain by sailing
westwards. However, as they left the Spice Islands, the M began to take on water. The
crew tried to discover and repair the leak, but failed. They concluded that M would need to
spend considerable time being overhauled, but the small 6  was not large enough to
accommodate all the surviving crew. As a result, 6  with some of the crew sailed west for
Spain. Several weeks later, M departed and attempted to return to Spain via the Pacific
route. This attempt failed. M was captured by the Portuguese, and was eventually wrecked
in a storm while at anchor under Portuguese control.

6  set sail via the Indian Ocean route home on December 21, commanded by Juan
Sebastin Elcano. By May 6 the 6  rounded the Cape of Good Hope, with only rice for
rations. Twenty crewmen died of starvation before Elcano put into Cape Verde, a Portuguese
holding, where he abandoned 13 more crew on July 9 in fear of losing his cargo of 26 tons of
spices (cloves and cinnamon).

On September 6, 1522, Elcano and the remaining crew of Magellan's voyage arrived in Spain
aboard the last ship in the fleet, 6 , almost exactly three years after they departed. Magellan
had not intended to circumnavigate the world, only to find a secure way through which the
Spanish ships could navigate to the Spice Islands; it was Elcano who, after Magellan's death,
decided to push westward, thereby completing the first voyage around the entire Earth.

Maximilianus Transylvanus interviewed some of the surviving members of the expedition when
they presented themselves to the Spanish court at Valladolid in the autumn of 1522 and wrote the
first account of the voyage, which was published in 1523. The account written by Pigafetta did
not appear until 1525 and was not wholly published until 1800. This was the Italian transcription
by Carlo Amoretti of what we now call the Ambrosiana codex. The expedition eked out a small
profit, but the crew was not paid full wages.[20]

Four crewmen of the original 55 on M finally returned to Spain in 1525, 51 of them had
died in war or from disease. In total, approximately 232 Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French,
English and German sailors died on the expedition around the world with Magellan.[21]

When 6 , the one surviving ship, returned to the harbor of departure after completing the
first circumnavigation of the Earth, only 18 men out of the original 237 men were on board.
Among the survivors there were two Italians, Antonio Pigafetta and Martino de Judicibus.

  ! (Spanish: ?  

) was a Genoese or Savonese[22] Chief
Steward.[23] His history is preserved in the nominative registers at the       
in Seville, Spain. The family name is referred to with the exact Latin patronymic, "de Judicibus".
He was initially assigned to the caravel 0  , one of five ships of the Spanish fleet of
Magellan. Martino de Judicibus embarked on the expedition with the rank of captain.

18 men returned to Seville aboard 6  in 1522:

Juan Sebastin Elcano, from Getaria Master
Francisco Albo, from Rodas (in Tui, Galicia) Pilot
Miguel de Rodas (in Tui, Galicia) Pilot
Juan de Acurio, from Bermeo Pilot
Antonio Lombardo (Pigafetta), from Vicenza Supernumerary
Martn de Judicibus, from Genoa Chief Steward
Hernndo de Bustamante, from Alcntara Mariner
Nicholas the Greek, from Nafplion Mariner
Miguel Snchez, from Rodas (in Tui, Galicia) Mariner
Antonio Hernndez Colmenero, from Huelva Mariner
Francisco Rodrigues, Portuguese from Seville Mariner
Juan Rodrguez, from Huelva Mariner
Diego Carmena, from Baiona (Galicia) Mariner
Hans of Aachen, (Holy Roman Empire) Gunner
Juan de Arratia, from Bilbao Able Seaman
Vasco Gmez Gallego, from Baiona (Galicia) Able Seaman
Juan de Santandrs, from Cueto (Cantabria) Apprentice Seaman
Juan de Zubileta, from Barakaldo Page


Monument of Ferdinand Magellan in Punta Arenas in Chile. The statue looks towards the Strait
of Magellan.

Antonio Pigafetta's journal is the main source for much of what we know about Magellan and
Elcano's voyage. The other direct report of the voyage was that of Francisco Albo, last 6 s
pilot, who kept a formal logbook. However, it was not through Pigafetta's writings that
Europeans first learned of the circumnavigation. Rather, it was through an account written by
Maximilianus Transylvanus, a relative of sponsor Christopher de Haro, published in 1523.
Transylvanus interviewed some of the survivors of the voyage when 6  returned to Spain
in September 1522.

In 1525, soon after the return of Magellan's expedition, Charles V sent an expedition led by
Garca Jofre de Loasa to occupy the Moluccas, claiming that they were in his zone of the Treaty
of Tordesillas. This expedition included the most notable Spanish navigators: Juan Sebastin
Elcano, who lost his life then, and the young Andrs de Urdaneta. They reached with difficulty
the Moluccas, docking at Tidore. The conflict with the Portuguese already established in nearby
Ternate started nearly a decade of skirmishes over the possession.

Since there was not a set limit to the east, in 1524 both kingdoms had tried to find the exact
location of the antimeridian of Tordesillas, which would divide the world into two equal
hemispheres and to resolve the "Moluccas issue". A board met several times without reaching an
agreement: the knowledge at that time was insufficient for an accurate calculation of longitude,
and each gave the islands to their sovereign. An agreement was reached only with the Treaty of
Zaragoza, signed on 1529 between Spain and Portugal, atributting the Moluccas to Portugal and
the Philippines to Spain. The course that Magellan charted was followed by other navigators, like
Sir Francis Drake, and the Manila-Acapulco route was discovered by Andrs de Urdaneta in

Magellan's expedition was the first to circumnavigate the globe and the first to navigate the strait
in South America connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific ocean, its name derived from the Latin
name M   (peaceful sea), bestowed upon it by Magellan.

Magellan's crew observed several animals that were entirely new to European science, including
a "camel without humps", which was probably a guanaco, whose range extends to Tierra del
Fuego, unlike the llama, vicua or alpaca, whose ranges are confined to the Andes mountains. A
black "goose" that had to be skinned instead of plucked was a penguin.

The full extent of the Earth was realized, since their voyage was 14,460 Spanish leagues
(60,440 km or 37,560 mi). The need for an International Date Line was established. Upon
returning they found their date was a day behind, even though they had faithfully maintained the
ship's log. They lost one day because they traveled west during their circumnavigation of the
globe, opposite to Earth's daily rotation.[24] This caused great excitement at the time and a special
delegation was sent to the Pope to explain the oddity to him.

Two of the closest galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds in the southern celestial hemisphere, were
named for Magellan sometime after 1800. The Magellan probe, which mapped the planet Venus
from 1990 to 1994, was named after Magellan. In addition, The Ferdinand Magellan train rail car
(also known as U.S. Car. No. 1) is a former Pullman Company observation car which was re-
built by the U.S. Government for presidential use from 1943 until 1958.


2p Military history of the Philippines
2p History of the Philippines
2p Exploration of Asia
2p Age of Exploration
2p Portuguese Empire
2p Spanish Empire
2p Ferdinand Magellan Railcar Ferdinand Magellan Railcar#External links