Magellan Expedition
Completes Circle of Globe- 1522

Ferdinand Magellan spent seven years sailing for the Portuguese in the Far East. He believed it would be easier to sail westward than to sail around Africa. King Manuel of Portugal was unwilling to support such a voyage, but King Charles V of Spain gave him a fleet of five ships. Magellan sailed in August 1519 from Seville.

The fleet wintered at Port St. Julian. The captains of the four ships mutinied. Magellan won. He hung many of those who mutinied. The ships then made their way south, along the coast of South America. On October 21st, 1520, Magellan discovered the straits that continue to bear his name. The fleet, which was down to three ships, spent 38 days making its way through the three hundred thirty eight mile straits. On November 28, 1520, Magellan's three ships emerged into the Pacific Ocean.

The ships then sailed across the Pacific Ocean. The first part of the voyage took fourteen weeks. They finally reached Guam, where they were able to obtain food and supplies. They continued on to Philippines. There, Magellan became involved in a civil war. He died in that war at Mactan on April 27, 1521. On December 21, one remaining ship, the Vittoria, set off on a westward course, under the leadership of Captain Juan Sebastian del Cano. Over a year later, on September 9, 1522, 18 of the 239 men who had set forth on the voyage arrived back in Seville.

First Hand Account of the Voyage

Map of the Voyage