Ferdinand Magellan Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Mr. Fernao de Magalhaes
Date of Birth: April 27, 1521
Place of Birth: Oporto, Portugal
Died: April 27, 1521
Place of Death: Cebu, Philippines
Classification: Heroes & Icons


Short Biography of Ferdinand Magellan

Although his ships circumnavigated the globe under the Spanish flag, Ferdinand Magellan began his explorations under Portugal. But, after the king refused him an increase in his pension and rank, he renounced his citizenship, traveled to Sevilla, and sailed for the King of Spain.

Born to nobility, Magellan wasn’t a stranger to the finer things in life, namely spices that came from abroad. After serving for some time as a messenger to the Queen, he was sent on missions to East Africa, Malaysia, and even to the Arabian Sea. By the time he was 35, he had already been on several missions abroad, but was wounded in North Africa by Moorish dissidents along the Portuguese port town of Azzemour.

In his teenage years, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed, which would hopefully allow Spain and Portugal to settle their differences on who discovered and who would control what part of the globe. Portugal received everything between Brazil to the East Indies. Spain was left with some undiscovered land and waters to the west of Brazil.

Magellan was sent to explore how to get around the Americas, which had become a dividing line between making it to the East by venturing West, something Columbus had attempted. When Ferdinand Magellan was accepted to work for the Spanish court, under King Charles V, Magellan became enthralled in the yearlong preparation process that preparing for the sea required. Magellan was put ahead of five, albeit, old ships that would not have been seaworthy had they not been worked on several months before their voyage.

Magellan, who was much older and cautious by this time in his life, knew they would have to take it slow if they were to succeed in getting around the Americas and into what is now known as the Pacific Ocean. Magellan’s crew were not wholeheartedly loyal to the King of Spain or Magellan. Along the coast of Brazil, the crew foiled a mutiny attempt and the impending officers were held responsible and tried. Along the southern coast of South America, the ship named Santiago was wrecked, and the San Antonio deserted the mission and returned back towards Spain. One year after the time they landed in Brazil did they land on Guam.

While in the Philippines, Magellan and his crew became involved in a small war where he and the other two captains were killed. It was Basque Juan Sebastian del Cano who brought his remaining crew together to sail home. After stopping for spices, he came below Africa along the Cape of Good Hope and landed in Seville in September 1522, completing the first circumnavigation of the world, in which credit is given to Magellan and his crew.

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