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In 1519, by then Spanish, Magellan set out from Spain in command of a fleet of five ships. His aim was to sail around the southern tip of South America, even though it was then not known if there was such a route. From there he aimed to make the first ever journey across the Pacific Ocean to the tremendously lucrative Spice Islands, before completing his journey around the world by returning to Spain.
The ship's crew saw lands, seas, animals, plants, fruits and peoples never seen by Europeans before, including a "camel without humps" (possibly a llama, guanaco, vicuña, or alpaca), and a penguin, that they described as a "black goose" that had to be skinned instead of plucked.
They were astonished by the appearance of a Patagonian Giant - a man of gigantic stature on the beach, who sang and danced, pouring sand upon his head in token of amity.
They were the first Europeans to sail around the south of South America, and to sail across the Pacific Ocean, which was named by them. They were also the first to sail from Europe westwards to Asia, and the first men to sail around the world. Their epic voyage continued despite mutiny, starvation (which caused them to eat rats, hides and sawdust), scurvy, warfare, and treachery, that resulted in the considerable loss of lives and ships.
Included are all of the first hand accounts of their journey, recorded by Antonio Pigafetta, Francisco Albo, "the unknown Portuguese", Gaspar Correa, the "Genoese pilot", and by Maximilian Transylvanus.
Of the five ships and more than 270 men that set out on that famous first voyage around the world, only one ship was to complete it, with only eighteen of those men aboard, but Magellan was not one of them.
Posted August 14, 2008
This is the first comprehensive biography of Magellan. Uniquely, it covers his entire life and includes all of the contemporary accounts of Magellan's epic voyage. Previous biographies of Magellan have been either : only a novelised biography, abbreviated accounts that leave out all the documents and large parts of Magellan's life, very brief accounts for children, a small part of a collection of biographies, or only one of the six contemporary accounts of the voyage.
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Posted November 19, 2013
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