Ferdinand Magellan was born with the name FernÃ£o de MagalhÃ£es in 1480 in Portugal. He was the third child of Rodrigo de MagalhÃ£es and Alda de Mesquita. His parents passed away when he was ten years of age; and since his parents were members of Portuguese nobility, Magellan had the opportunity to serve Queen Leonor of the royal family as a pageboy. In exchange for his work, he received an education and studied various disciplines such as geography, navigation, mathematics, and cartography. Moreover, he was taught hunting and etiquette skills. Magellan’s interest in exploration was triggered by the magnificent discoveries made by Christopher Columbus by reaching the New World and sailing west across the Atlantic and also by Vasco da Gama when he reached India by sailing south around Africa.
It was in his early years that Magellan and his brother joined a Portuguese fleet headed for Asia. For about a period of seven years, Magellan was involved in several expeditions to Asia and was injured in several battles. He later joined the enormous 500-passenger ship in 1513, a soldier force commanded by Manuel to challenge the Moroccan governor who had not given his tribute to the Portuguese empire.
On September 20, 1519, Magellan led a bold voyage where he prepared to sail for Asia. On board his five ships were 250 sailors and abundant supplies. Additionally, the ships also carried jewelry, cloth, bells, and other commodities Magellan could trade for spices when he reached his destination. The route taken by Magellan to the Spice Islands was to the west not east. This was in search of a fabled water passage that would let them cross directly to South America. His search led him to discover a passage for ships to sail west from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, this explorer is famous for commanding the first expedition to sail around the world.
On October 21, 1520, he eventually discovered the strait he had been seeking for a long time, which found him a passageway that would bear his name. The strait was well known and was located in the tip of South America, which separated Fuego and the continental mainland. It took quite a long time to navigate the treacherous strait, whereby only three ships entered the passageway. This made Magellan the first world explorer to capture the Pacific Ocean from the Sea of Atlantic. He accomplished his mission of crossing the ocean in a few days, and the ocean was named Pacific, meaning â€œtranquil.â€ Sometime later, in March 1520, Magellan met the chief of Cebu, who converted him to Christianity.
The Death of Magellan
After landing in Cebu, Magellan, with religious zeal, converted the natives to Christianity. Unfortunately, some of the natives agreed while others did not, and the division caused troubles in the population. Magellan joined the Cebuano, and this is where he led the fight, thinking his weapons would provide a quick victory. However, the Mactan people fought and struck Magellan with a poisoned arrow. Magellan died later from the wound on April 27, 1521.
Magellan’s demise came quite early before he could find a western route to the Moluccas (Spice Islands). During his life as a captain, he sailed more than 50,000 miles. After Magellan had died, those who survived loaded the ships with spice and sailed on to the Moluccas. One of the ships attempted to return to the Pacific, but it was not successful. The other ship went round the Cape of Good Hope and arrived at the port of Barrameda on September 6, 1522, and it was the first ship to circumnavigate the globe and complete Magellan’s mission.
Ferdinand Magellan’s Contributions to the World
Ferdinand Magellan was a sixteenth-century Portuguese sea captain who sparked several contributions via his voyage. These contributions included:
- His voyage confirmed that the earth was round;
- His travels introduced Europeans to the vast Pacific Ocean; and
- There was better comprehension of the link between the New World and Asia.