Ferdinand Magellan

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Ferdinand Magellan
Fernão de Magalhães
BirthplaceSabrosa, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
Known for Captaining the first circumnavigation expedition

Magellan, Ferdinand

(məjel`ən), Port. Fernão de Magalhães, Span. Fernando de Magallanes, c.1480–1521, Portuguese navigator who sailed for Portugal and Spain. Born of a noble family, he was reared as a page in the royal household. He served (1505–12) in Portuguese India under Francisco de AlmeidaAlmeida, Francisco de
, c.1450–1510, Portuguese admiral, first viceroy of Portuguese India. He was first sent to India in 1503 as captain major of a fleet and helped Portuguese forces defeat the ruler of Calicut.
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 and later under Alfonso de AlbuquerqueAlbuquerque, Afonso de
, 1453–1515, Portuguese admiral, the effective founder of the Portuguese Empire in the East. He first went to India in 1503, and in 1506 he set out for India again, to assume command from Francisco de Almeida in command.
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. While in service (1513–14) in Morocco, he was accused of financial irregularities; he lost the favor of Manuel I, who rejected his proposal to reach the MoluccasMoluccas
or Spice Islands,
Bahasa Indonesia Maluku, Du. Molukken, island group and prov. (1990 pop. 1,856,075), c.32,300 sq mi (83,660 sq km), E Indonesia, between Sulawesi and New Guinea. The capital of the province is Ambon, on Ambon island.
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 by a western route. In 1517 he went to Spain, where his plan was approved (1518) by Charles I (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V). Portuguese efforts failed to prevent the voyage.

With five vessels and about 265 men, Magellan sailed from Sanlúcar de Barrameda on Sept. 20, 1519. Sighting the South American coast near Pernambuco, he searched for the suspected passage to the South Sea. In Jan., 1520, the Río de la Plata was explored. While wintering in Patagonia (Mar.–Aug., 1520), he summarily put down a mutiny of some of his officers. On Oct. 21, Magellan discovered and entered the strait which bears his name, and on Nov. 28 he reached the Pacific. His fleet, by then consisting of three vessels, the Concepción, the Trinidad, and the Victoria, sailed NW across the Pacific. No land was sighted for nearly two months, no provisions obtained for three; the men suffered intensely. On Mar. 6, 1521, Magellan reached the Marianas and 10 days later the Philippines, where he was killed (Apr. 27) while supporting one group of natives against another. Soon after, the Concepción was burned as unseaworthy, but the remaining two vessels visited Borneo and then the Moluccas, where they loaded spices.

The Trinidad sailed for Panama but was wrecked; only four of her crew eventually reached Spain. The Victoria, commanded by Juan Sebastián del CanoCano, Juan Sebastián del
, c.1476–1526, Spanish navigator, the first to circumnavigate the globe. Under Magellan he commanded the Concepción and after Magellan's death in the Philippines took command of the expedition.
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, sailed across the Indian Ocean and rounded the Cape of Good Hope. The Portuguese detained 13 of her crew at the Cape Verde Islands, but finally, with only 18 men, she reached Sanlúcar on Sept. 6, 1522, thus completing the first voyage around the world. Although he did not live to complete the journey, Magellan provided the skill and determination that took the vessels over the great unknown portion of the globe, one of the greatest achievements of navigation. The voyage proved definitively the roundness of the earth, it revolutionized ideas of the relative proportions of land and water, and it revealed the Americas as a new world, separate from Asia.


See the firsthand account of Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voyage around the World, tr. by R. A. Skelton (1969); biographies by F. H. H. Guillemard (1890, repr. 1971), E. F. Benson (1929), and C. M. Parr (2d ed. 1964); L. Bergreen, Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (2003).

Magellan, Ferdinand


(Magalhães in Portuguese; Magallanes in Spanish). Born about 1480 in Tras-Os-Montes, Portugal; died Apr. 27, 1521, on Mactan Island in the Philippines. Navigator.

Magellan served in Portuguese expeditions between 1505 and 1512, twice reaching Malacca (1509 and 1511). Returning to Lisbon, he worked out a plan to reach the Moluccas by sailing westward, but it was rejected by the Portuguese king. In 1517 he went to Spain and proposed the plan to the Spanish king, who appointed him head of an expedition. On Sept. 20, 1519, he left the Spanish harbor of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with five ships, in January 1520 reaching the Río de la Plata. Failing to find there a passage to the west, he sailed southward in February, following the coast of the unknown land that he named Patagonia for more than 2,000 km and discovering the large gulfs of San Matias and San Jorge. In March 1520 the flotilla reached the Bay of San Julian, where a mutiny broke out on three ships. Magellan quelled the mutiny and in August 1520, after wintering in the Bay of San Julian, sailed southward with his four remaining ships and discovered and explored the entry to the strait he was seeking, later named after him. He also discovered the Tierra del Fuego archipelago to the south. In November 1520 he reached the ocean which his fellow voyagers later called the Pacific. Sailing more than 17,000 km without halting, in March 1521 he discovered, above 13°N lat., three islands of the Marianas (including Guam) and later the Philippines (Samar, Mindanao, and Cebu). Magellan made an alliance with the ruler of Cebu, gave him military support against the neighboring island of Mactan, and was killed in a battle with local inhabitants. Magellan’s voyage showed that a great ocean stretched between the Americas and Asia. Only one ship of the flotilla, the Victoria, commanded by del Cano, completed the first voyage around the world in 1522. Magellan’s expeditions established that the world was round and that there was a single world ocean.


Pigafétta, A. Puteshestvie Magellana. Moscow, 1950. (Translated from Italian.)
Zweig, S. Podvig Magellana. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from German.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Fernao Magalhaes to the Portuguese, he was known as Fernando de Magallanes to the Spaniards and Ferdinand Magellan to the English.
Ferdinand Magellan was one of a series of railcars built in the 1920s as rolling mini-residences for the rich and powerful.
Ferdinand Magellan appreciated the step up in trip and made all to see off newcomer Master Performer by a length in the 1m2f maiden.
Featured in this broad overview of a century and a half of European exploration of the world are the endeavors of Henry the Navigator, Bartholomew Diaz, Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucchi, John and Sebastian Cabot, Ferdinand Magellan, Hernando Cortez, Francisco Pizarro, Francisco Coronado and Hernando Desoto.
ON THIS DAY: SEPTEMBER 6, 1522: Expedition of Ferdinand Magellan, first to sail round the world.
From Vasco de Gama to Vasco Nunez de Balboa, from Ferdinand Magellan to Sir Francis Drake - they all got where they were going willy-nilly, by forces attributed to good luck or the grace of God.
It was really unfortunate that we turned him into a fish when he was in fact the first successful defender of our shores, beating the Spanish invaders led by Ferdinand Magellan.
Nino image, which was given by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan as baptismal gift to Cebu's Queen Juana in 1521, remains in the marble chapel inside the basilica where pilgrims line up to pay homage.
Many of us learned in school that Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines.
20, 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships to find a western passage to the Spice Islands.
It marks the first incident in the history of the Islands where native Filipinos fought against foreign colonial domination, particularly against the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan or Fernando Magallanes and his group explorers who arrived in Central Philippines to claim the islands for King Philip of Spain and in the name of Christianity.