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The following are on line websites that cover the historic first circumnavigation of the world.



Ferdinand Magellan was brought up in the Portuguese royal court and entered into royal service but later transferred his services to Spain. He set sail in the Victoria from Seville in 1519, with the intention of reaching the East Indies by a westerly route. He sailed throughthe long and tortuos strait, subsequently named after him, at the tip of South America. when they emerged into a peaceful new ocean to the west, he named it the Pacific. It took more than 3 months of hardship before they reached the Philippines in 1521, where he was killed in battle with the islanders. His companions returned to Seville in 1522, completing the voyage under del Cano. However, Magellan and his Malay slave, Enrique de Malacca, are considered the first circumnavigators of the globe since they had previously once sailed from the Philippines to Europe.


The good fortune of reaching the Pacific Ocean did not make the travels easier. Suffering amongst the crew members grew as they began running out of food. Extreme hunger caused the men to eat such things as rats, leather, maggots, and sawdust just to stay alive. Along with hunger, scurvy became prevalent. At least twenty men died from complications due to starvation. March 6 brought with it hope when the ships reached the island of Guam. This hope was short-lived when the crew had to defend themselves from the attacks of the native peoples. Food and water from other nearby islands did replenish their bodies and spirits. Magellan's Malaysian slave hailed a group of islanders in their native tongue, giving evidence that Magellan had reached the Orient. While in the Philippines, the sailors converted many natives to Christianity. These conversions would lead to more problems than anticipated


Did Magellan get home safely?

No, for he was killed in a fight with islanders in the Philippines. Although he had masterminded the first expedition to sail around the world, he did not complete the voyage himself. In fact, the first person to sail around the world was a Malaysian, who had travelled back to Europe with Magellan many years earlier. Later, he accompanied Magellan as an interpreter on the circumnavigation

Forty-four years later, the Spanish Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Fray Andres de Urdaneta set again an expedition to Cebu. Their arrival bombarded the defenses of Rajah Tupas and destroyed his village. Legaspi reestablished Spain's sovereignity.He named the island Villa del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus after the famous miraculous image of Senor Santo Nino de Cebu which was found by Juan Camus, one of Legaspi's soldiers in one of the burnt houses

Why "Magellan's Log"?

Because it doesn't exist. And thereby hangs this dog-wagging tale:

In 1517 Magellan sailed west from Portugal with five ships expecting to arrive in either India are the Philippines and then back in Portugal sooner rather than later, certainly sooner than four years.

Well. In 1521 one ship hove into view off Portugal, the Victoria, with 27 aboard. Magellan was not among them. He made it as far as the Philippines, where he undertook an ill-advised (though not atypical--these Europeans, will they never learn?) attempt to convert the heathens he found there to the Way of the Cross. The heathens made short work of Magellan and a number of his guys.

That's all the stuff of 8th grade geography. Now for the back-story.

It seems that a few years earlier, the ever-venturesome Magellan had sailed east from Portugal and got as far as the Maluccas, islands just west of the Philippines (remember that detail; it turns out to be important) in search of spices (in terms of economic value, spices were to the 16th century what cocaine has been to the 20th). He picked up a shipload of spices, along with a native slave (these Europeans!), whom he dubbed Enrique. He took the spices and Enrique back to Portugal with him. Hail, the conquering hero.

A few years pass. Ferdinand proposes his trip to the west. Backers fall all over themselves, which results in five splendidly outfitted ships. And off they went, and of course Ferdinand had his bestboy, Enrique in tow.

It took three years to get down the coast of South America and through the horrific storms and treacherous channels off the Tierra del Fuego (which Magellan named because they kept seeing Indian fires burning on the cliffs at night). At that point, as he entered the Pacific (which he also named--mis-named, as it turned out, of course--because they happened to enter the "new" ocean on a calm day), he thought India was just a few days' sail away. These Europeans. Aren't they something.

Three months later land had still not been sighted. The crew members who'd not died of scurvy or starved were reduced to eating leather binding holding barrels together.

Landfall at last. And the only way Magellan knew where he was--which was actually the Philippines--was because Enrique, to Enrique's great delight, could understand a lot of the language of the natives--the selfsame ones who would shortly dispatch F.M. Surely that moment, when they went ashore, the moment when the natives spoke and Enrique understood and answered, is one of the great moments of human history, certainly equal to Neil Armstrong's opening lunar line.

After his death, the little fleet continued westward, arriving shortly at the Maluccas. The truth then is that Magellan did NOT (these Europeans!) make the first trip around the world. That honor belongs to the now forgotten non-European, Enrique.

Once through the strait, Magellan landed at the island that
guarded its entrance, Limasawa.  Eight inhabitants sailed out to
the Trinidad in a small boat.  On orders from the Captain-General,
his Moluccan slave, Enrique, hailed them.  In a moment that must
have seemed frozen in time, it became clear that the men in the
approaching boat understood the words of the Moluccan perfectly.
     Their language was being spoken to them by a man on a huge
ship that had come to them from the east.  The linguistic globe--
even if not necessarily the physical globe--had been
circumnavigated.  A man who had originated in these parts had
traveled across Asia and around Africa to Europe as a slave, and
had now returned home by the Americas and the Pacific.  Enrique de
Molucca may well have been, strictly speaking, the first of
humankind to circumnavigate the world; he was never to be honored
for so doing.