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Ferdinand Magellan – First Circumnavigation of the Earth

Ferdinand Magellan  – First Circumnavigation of the Earth


A simple history/ Epic History TV collaboration In the late 1400s, a great new age of European exploration began, led by Portuguese, Spanish and Italian sailors. They made great voyages into the unknown, full of danger, adventure and discovery. These pioneers were driven by Christian zeal and profit. In Europe, spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg which grew only in the Far East were worth their weight in gold. Whoever controlled their trade was guaranteed immense wealth. By 1518, the route to the, so called, Spice Islands was dominated by Portugal. Spain wanted a route of its own. Enter 38 year old Portuguese sailor; Fernando de Magallanes. Ferdinand Magellan, as he’s known in English, was a brilliant navigator who’d spent many years sailing the Indian Ocean. But he’d fallen out with the King of Portugal and now offered a bold plan to his rival, King Charles I of Spain. Magellan believed it was possible to sail around The New World and reach the Spice Islands from the east. Since contrary to popular myth, it had been widely accepted for centuries that the Earth was round. King Charles accepted Magellan’s proposal and helped him assemble an expedition with 270 crew and five ships known as carracks. The fleet set sail on the 20th September 1519 and crossed a stormy Atlantic to reach the future site of Rio de Janeiro in modern Brazil. Here, the men traded with local tribes, exchanging simple objects like metal fish hooks and playing cards for fresh food and water. Magellan continued south until winter storms forced him to camp it Puerto San Julian (Argentina). There Magellan faced a mutiny led by Spanish officers convinced he was leading them to their doom. Magellan acted swiftly and ruthlessly, he sent loyal men to kill one of the ringleaders while another was captured and executed. Two others were marooned left behind when the fleet sailed south again in August. As Magellan searched for a passage west, one ship, the Santiago was wrecked though the crew were saved. Another ship, the San Antonio, deserted and sailed home. But Magellan did discover a 350 mile strait which now bears his name. Through to the far ocean, a sea that seemed so calm he named it; Mara Pacifico, the peaceful sea, or Pacific Ocean. But the Pacific Ocean was far bigger than they’d estimated. Their supplies ran out, the men forced to eat rats and drink putrid water. Nineteen died of scurvy. Then, after 99 days at sea, the lookouts spied land. They found Guam in the Mariana Islands, but when the islanders stole one of their boats, fighting broke out and Magellan had to leave without fresh provisions. A week later, Magellan and his men became the first Europeans to reach The Philippines, where they were able to feast on bananas and coconuts. With Magellan’s Malays slave acting as translator, they sailed on through The Philippines, to Cebu. Where they made an alliance with a local ruler who agreed to be baptised a Christian and swore allegiance to the King of Spain. A local chief from the island of Mactan then asked Magellan for help in defeating his rival named Datu Lapu-lapu, and Magellan agreed. He crossed to Mactan with 60 men in boats. But though the Europeans had superior weapons and armour, they were massively outnumbered. After burning the enemy village, Magellan’s men were driven back into the shallow water where Magellan himself was cut down as they tried to reach the boats. Now their former allies on Cebu turned on Magellan’s crew, butchering 30 of them in an ambush. The survivors fled. With only enough men left to crew two ships, they burned the Concepción and continued their search for the Spice Islands. They travelled to the Muslim Court of Brunei on Borneo and were amazed by its splendor. Finally, with the help of local guides and more than two years after sailing from Spain, they reached their destination, the spice or Maluku Islands. Today, part of Indonesia. They traded everything they had for all the cloves their two ships could carry. But as they prepared for the long voyage home, the Trinidad sprang a leak and had to stay behind for repairs. Its crew later tried to return to Spain across the Pacific, but most of the men became sick or died. The survivors had to return to the Maluku islands where they and the Trinidad were captured by the Portuguese. The Victoria, the last and smallest ship of Magellan’s fleet sailed west for home, captained by Juan Sebastian Elcano. Crossing the Indian Ocean, it took 9 weeks of battling headwinds before they could round the Cape of Good Hope. The men began to starve once more. Twenty-one died before they found fresh provisions at Cape Verde. On the 8th of September 1522, almost exactly 3 years after their departure, the famished, exhausted crew of the Victoria cast anchor at Seville, Spain. Just 18 of the original crew of 270 had made it home. But what they and Magellan’s expedition had achieved was astonishing. The first voyage of circumnavigation, around the World. Mankind, at last, at final conclusive proof that their planet was sphere and a greater idea than ever before of its vast size. It was an incredible feat, not repeated for 58 years when an Englishman named Francis Drake made his own remarkable voyage around the Earth. This video was made with our friends at Epic History TV. Watch the other half of this exploration double-bill with the story of Francis Drake here. And if you don’t already, why not subscribe to both channels and click the bell to get notified of every new video.


Reader Comments

  1. I was brainwashed thinking magellan was trying to colonize philippines since that's what our school teaching us.

  2. Seems like people are annoyed of filipinos so…… To my fellow filipinos please shut up ☺️ (there, happy?)

  3. We're approaching the 500th anniversary of the event and because I'm Portuguese I've tried to 'emulate' some of the trips of my ancestors with Google Earth. I've traveled all the way from Portugal to Tanegashima all along the coast of Africa and Asia!
    I've seen more of the world in 3 weeks than my ancestors did in several years… and you won't believe what I've seen, so you'll have to do it and see for yourself… 🙂

  4. The Greeks didn't even need to circumnavigate the Earth to prove it is round. And here are internet philosophers thinking Earth is flat.

  5. This is the real story(IM A PROUD PINOY!):Magellan did go to the Phil.but lapu-lapu and Magellans crew did not meet face to face because the water was high tide so Magellans and his crew stopped at the other position and lapu-lapu and his crew knew that Magellan were coming so they charged a bow with poison arrow and shot Magellan.

  6. the truth is they want to find ancient ophir according to the the bible as king solomons journeys. not only for spices, they bible believer. spain, purtugal and italy. the want to find the golds of solomons came from.

  7. The Spanish revisionist of history saying Magellan has superior weapon. Europe learned of the gunpowder from China in which Philippines is just a neighbor of China and has been exchanging goods for hundred of years before Magellan. Spain was only able to conquer Philippines using divide and conquer strategy which is easy because it has 7,100 islands and different kingdoms.

  8. How do you invade a country you didnt know that exist? How do you invade a country with two ships and 150 men?

  9. Okay wait up so the tribe leader ask magellan to deadeat lapu lapu?? Based on what i’ve learn at my highschool days lapu lapu dont agree on baptismal something then he ambush and fight magellan and his soldier until they flee but not asking magellan to fight lapu lapu

    (Sorry for the poor grammar)

  10. Flat earth is proven here: get the UN map logo and pretend you travel on it; it is like traveling on a CD. You can still travel around its center – that is circunnavigation.

  11. Magellan did not complete it. It was Elcano. And the whole enterprise was conducted by the Spanish Crown. Portugal was indeed aside and against it

  12. Magellan intended or planned to circumnavigate the Earth as much as he planned to be killed in the Philippines

  13. I was born in the same city as Magellan, vila real in portugal. People say he was a spy for portugal.

  14. Philippine history began when ancient peoples arrived in the Philippines by land bridges 67,000 years ago. The first recorded visit from the West was the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan on the island of Homonhon, southeast of Samar on 16 March 1521. He established permanent settlements in Cebu with the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi in 1565, and many more settlements were established northward until the colonialists reached the Look of Manila on the island of Luzon. It established a city in Manila and began the Spanish colonization period which lasted for more than three centuries. The revolution against Spain began in April of 1896, which two years later led to the proclamation of independence and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. But the Paris Treaty, which came into effect at the end of the Spanish-American War, shifted Philippine rule over the United States. Colonial rule of the United States began in the Philippines in December of 1899, with limited local rule in 1905. Partial independence was granted in 1935, in preparation for a full independence from the United States in 1945. But the 10- years of transition from the Commonwealth to a sovereign nation were delayed by the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II. The Japanese were then defeated in 1945. And the return of Filipino and American soldiers to the Philippine Liberation Campaign from 1944 to 1945. Thus complete independence was granted to the Philippines only in July 1946.

    Btw I'm Filipino

  15. A few interesting facts:
    1. The ships given for the voyage were small because the Spanish government was not optimistic about the success of this voyage that they didn't want to invest so much in it.
    2. Magellan had a blood compact with two datus–Datu Kulambu and Datu Humabon, they were the first converts to Christianity as a result of Magellan "miraculously" healing the sick nephew of Datu Humabon.
    3. Magellan was Portuguese and most of the members of the crew didn't trust him. Those who joined the voyage were ordinary folks who had nothing to lose–some Italians were there as well.
    4. The actual person who circumnavigated the globe was Elcano, captain of Victoria, along with the crew that included Pigafetta, the chronicler.

  16. It was Sebastian El Cano who circumnavigated. Magellan did not make it back because was he circumcised by Lapu-lapu in the island of Mactan and died of Tetanus infection.

  17. The malay slave's name was Enrique of Malacca, he was enslave and bring over to Portugal and then joined the expedition. After the event on cebu island, he was freed and return to Malacca. Possibly he was the first person to circumnavigate around the world and return to his starting point.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrique_of_Malacca

  18. Ferdinand not the first circumnavigation of the earth but the Malay guy is the first circumnavigation of the earth

  19. The Cebu chieftain (Raha) who befriended Magellan was Raha Humabon. His Christianized name was Carlos (named after King Carlos or Charles of Spain).

  20. Se ignora la figura de Juan Sebastián Elcano, que fue el que tomó la decisión de volver hacia el poniente. Todo para menoscabar los logros de los marinos españoles, como siempre por la historiografia anglosajona.

  21. who said that earth is flat? only stupid thinking people thinks that earth is flat..look up the skies idiots even at night or day the sun is round the moon is round..how come you think that earth is flat what kind of brains do you have? you dont need your brains? sell it now..

  22. Ferdinand Magellan didn't circumnavigated the world it was Sebastian el Cano and the crew of Victoria. Magellan was defeated in a battle against the early confederacies of the Philippines.

  23. Any written docs regarding the reaction of people, and kings when they found out these people circumnavigated the earth?

  24. Teacher: Who killed lapu lapu
    Student: Zilong
    Teacher: Ur addict at ml hmmm?
    Me: you know about the philippinea hm?
    Im a filopino

  25. Fact:Lapu lapu didnt killed magellan,The army of lapu lapu killed magellan.Because lapu lapu was old that time.

    This was spoke by a man that found a diary of them

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