Ferdinand Magellan (Spring 1480 – April 27, 1521, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines) was an explorer.
Ferdinand was born circa 1480 at Sabrosa, near Chaves, in the province of
Tras-os-Montes, one of the wildest districts of Portugal. However, Ferdinand
Magellan subsequently obtained Spanish nationality in order to serve the Spanish
Crown, so that he could try to find a westward route to the Spice Islands of
Indonesia. Ferdinand Magellan thereby became the first person to lead an
expedition across the Pacific Ocean. This was also the first successful attempt
to circumnavigate the Earth. Although Ferdinand Magellan did not complete the
entire voyage (he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines),
Magellan had earlier traveled eastward to the Spice Islands, so he became one of
the first individuals to cross all of the meridians of the Globe.
Ferdinand and his crew were the first Europeans to enter the Pacific from the eponymous Strait of Magellan, which he discovered. They were also the first Europeans to reach the archipelago of what is now known as the Philippines, which was unknown to the western world before their landing.
Arab traders had established commerce within the archipelago centuries
earlier. A number of geographic features and biological species have been named
for Magellan, including the eponymous Magellanic Penguin, which Magellan was the
first European to note.
Of the 237 men who set out on five ships to circumnavigate the earth in 1519, only 18 completed the circumnavigation of the globe and managed to return to Spain in 1522. They were led by the Basque navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, who took over command of the expedition after Magellan's death. Seventeen other men arrived later in Spain : twelve men captured by the Portuguese in Cape Verde some weeks earlier, and between 1525 and 1527 five survivors of the Trinidad.
This Ferdinand Magellan Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub