What Is Ferdinand Magellan Famous For?

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Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer famous for being the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean. His expedition also helped prove that the globe could be circumnavigated by ship.

Magellan set out from Spain in the year 1519 with the goal of finding a western route to the Spice Islands. During his trip, he discovered what is now known as the Strait of Magellan, which he passed through on his way to the Pacific. Though he was killed when his fleet landed on the Philippine island of Cenu in 1521, what was left of his expedition continued and eventually landed back in Spain in 1522. Of the five ships and 270 crew involved, only one ship and 18 crewmen survived.