Sabrosa, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
|Died||Apr. 27, 1521 (around age 40–41)
Ferdinand Magellan is one of the most famous of all the explorers in history. Of the many great Portuguese explorers, Magellan was able to distinguish himself by being able to be the first one to circumnavigate the globe. It had never been done prior to Magellan and his success forever changed the way trade, shipping, and navigation would be performed.
Magellan’s Early Years
The exact date of Ferdinand Magellan’s birth is not known certainly, but the year is speculated as 1480. His parents died when he was 10 years old and in the aftermath, he became a page in the court of the Queen. When he grew older, at the age of 25, he was one of the members of the 22-ship fleet that aided Francisco de Almeida, the viceroy to the Portuguese interests in India. These travels saw a great deal of combat and action. Magellan ended up being injured in the battle of Cannanore and he also was engaged in the battle of Dui.
Magellan’s early life was one that experienced a great deal travels and exploration. He was even involved with the search for the legendary Spice Islands. His days of adventure were not without their troubles. Magellan took a leave of absence without permission and this set the stage for suffering from some major woes. He was falsely accused of trading with the Moors without permission and, while exonerated, he ended up being unemployed as a result for quite some time.
Magellan fell out of favor with King Manuel I since the King would not fund a controversial exploration to find the Spice Islands from an eastern direction. A dejected Magellan left Spain for some time. During his time away, he invested a significant amount of time in the self-study of charts and other components related to navigation. This would turn out to be a great blessing in disguise as Magellan would once again return to the world of navigation with great results.
Magellan’s Voyage of Circumnavigation
Spain required a new way of reaching Asia. Since the Portuguese had already locked up the eastern routes to India and Asia, Spain was in desperate need of a great explorer who could find a solution to finding the right route. Magellan, along with a few of his associates, put together a plan and submitted it to the Spanish king, Charles I. Magellan was promoted to the rank of Commander in the Order of Santiago. The Crown of the King of Spain put together the much needed funding for the endeavor.
A crew of 270 men was put together and they set sail on the Atlantic and began their adventure on August 10, 1519. The travels did have their problems. At one point, the Portuguese navy had chased after Magellan, but he was able to avoid him. He was also able to whether the very troubling scenario of a mutiny breaking out. Despite all these near devastating situations, Magellan was able to once again get his ship in order and commence his travels again.
Finding the Pacific
Magellan and his fleet eventually reached the point of South America where the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean meet. Actually, it was not called the Pacific Ocean prior to Magellan’s arrival for he was the one who first named it. The voyage that Magellan traveled during this part of the journey required traveling through a strait, which is now known as the Strait of Magellan, in honor of the great explorer. Without a doubt, this finding of the route to the Pacific Ocean for Europe was a huge discovery and one that forever changed the way explorations were conducted.
Death in the Philippines
The most shocking aspect of this journey would be Magellan’s unexpected death in the Philippines. Magellan had reached Guam and later Cebu. He relations with the local leaders were positive. Namely, he was able to form an alliance with Rajah Humabon Cebu and also with Humabon’s ally Datu Zula.
Zula suggested that Magellan and his forces kill the tribes known as the Datu Lapu-Lapu. Magellan initially made overtures to convert the Datu Lapu-Lapu to Christianity, but this was rejected. The Datu Lapu-Lapu eventually attacked Magellan and his forces. Magellan was stabbed with a spear and then gang attacked and killed. The body of Magellan was never recovered as his troops were forced into a quick retreat.