Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who led the first expedition that circumnavigated the Earth by sailing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. He is also known for naming the Pacific Ocean.Continue Reading
Magellan was born in Portugal around 1480. As a student, he studied navigation and cartography. His parents died when he was 10 years old, but since they were Portuguese nobility, he was made a page for the queen and allowed to continue his studies. When he was in his 20s, Magellan joined a fleet that was headed to East Africa. There, the Portuguese destroyed Egyptian ships in the Arabian Sea in the Battle of Diu. He also participated in the conquest of the port of Malacca. Magellan was wounded in Morocco and walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Later, he was falsely accused of trading illegally with the Moors, and the King of Portugal refused to let him sail on any more Portuguese ships. Magellan then moved to Spain in order to sail for King Charles V. He came up with a plan to sail around the globe, and King Charles V approved it.
Magellan left Spain in 1519 with five ships. On his way to Patagonia, some of the crew attempted mutiny, and one of the ships was wrecked. In October 1520, he reached the area south of South America that is now called the Strait of Magellan. One of the ships deserted at this point, leaving only three to make the voyage. Magellan involved himself in a war in the Philippines and was killed in 1521. His journey was completed by Juan Sebastian del Cano in 1522 when the crew returned to Spain.Learn more about Exploration & Imperialism