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The First CircumnavigatorsUnsung Heroes of the Age of Discovery$
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Harry Kelsey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300217780

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300217780.001.0001

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The Voyage of Magellan

The Voyage of Magellan

(p.1) One The Voyage of Magellan
The First Circumnavigators

Harry Kelsey

Yale University Press

This chapter details the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan, arguably the first man to circumnavigate the globe. In 1518, Magellan was appointed by Spain's King Charles to command a fleet of five ships for a journey to the Spice Islands. The voyage itself was fraught with problems including mutinies, desertions, and deaths of captains and crew alike, which eventually reduced the fleet to three ships. On November 28, 1520, after weeks of searching, Magellan finally reached the channel that would lead to the Pacific Ocean. On April 7, 1521, the fleet reached Cebu where Magellan developed a cordial relationship with local king, Humabon. The ruler, his family, and most of the people in Cebu later converted to Christianity. Pleased with his success as a missionary, Magellan decided to establish a trading station on Cebu and to make all the local chieftains accept Humabon as their sovereign. One who refused was the chief of Lapulapu on Mactan Island. On the morning of April 27, 1521, Magellan took sixty men to subdue what he thought would be a poorly defended village. Instead, he found his small force battling a huge body of men, armed with spears and poisoned arrows. Magellan was killed, as were half a dozen others.

Keywords:   Ferdinand Magellan, King Charles, circumnavigators, Spanish fleet, Cebu, Lapulapu

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