Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in a still disputed location in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spainin search of a westward route to the “Spice Islands”. Magellan’s expedition of 1519–1522 became the first expedition to sail from the Atlantic Oceaninto 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 also gives his name to the Magellanic Penguin, which he was the first European to note, the Magellanic clouds, now known to be nearby dwarf galaxies, the twin lunar craters of Magelhaens and Magelhaens A, and the Martian crater of Magelhaens.
- 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 Tordesillas.
- The fleet provided by King Charles V included five ships: the flagship Trinidad (110 tons, crew 55), under Magellan’s command; San Antonio (120 tons; crew 60) commanded by Juan de Cartagena; Concepcion (90 tons, crew 45) commanded by Gaspar de Quesada; Santiago (75 tons, crew 32) commanded by Juan Serrano; and Victoria (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.
- Trinidad was a caravel, and all others rated as carracks or “naus”.
- Juan Sebastián 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.
- On 10 August 1519, the five ships under Magellan’s command – Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepción, Victoria and Santiago – left Seville and descended the Guadalquivir River to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, at the mouth of the river.
- On 30 March the crew established a settlement they called Puerto San Julian (Argentina).
- Since his wife and child died in Seville before any member of the expedition could return to Spain, it seemed that every evidence of Ferdinand Magellan’s existence had vanished from the earth.”