About Ferdinand Magellan's Voyage Round The World


Ferdinand Magellan set out in 1519 with five ships and 270 men to claim glory for Spain and establish trade ties with the so-called Spice Islands of the Far East. Three years later, just 18 sailors and one ship arrived home after completing the first circumnavigation of the globe. This grand achievement was made more impressive by the fact that it remained the only circumnavigation for the next 50 years (when Sir Francis Drake did it).

While Magellan did not survive the voyage, he is generally credited with making it a success. In addition to the normal rigors of sea travel in the 1500s, he had to deal with mutinous crews, finding a passage through the dangerous waters that would become known as the Straits of Magellan on the southern tip of South America, and facing the immense waters of an ocean he would name the Pacific (due to the unusually mild weather he experienced while crossing it).

Thanks to an account of the voyage by one of its participants, Antonio Pigafetta, we are left with a record of much of what happened.

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As there are men whose curiosity would not be satisfied with namely hearing related the marvellous things I have seen, and the difficulties I experienced in the course of the perilous expedition I am about to describe, and who are anxious to know by what means I was enabled to surmount them, and as due credit by such would not be given to the success of a similar undertaking if they were left ignorant of its most minute details, I have deemed it expedient briefly to relate what give origin to my voyage, and the means by which I was so fortunate at to bring it to a successful termination. 

In the year 1519, I was in Spain in the court of Charles V, King of the Romans, in company with Signor Chiericato, then apostolical prothonotary and orator of Pope Leo X of holy memory, who by his merits was raised to the dignity of Bishop and Prince of Teramo. Now as from the books I had read, and from the conversation of the learned men who frequented the house of the prelate, I knew that by navigating the ocean wonderful things were to be seen, I determined to be convinced of them by my own eyes, that I might be enabled to give to others the narrative of my voyage, as well for their amazement as advantage, and at the same time acquire a name which should be handed down to posterity.

An opportunity soon presented itself. I learned that a squadron of five vessels was under equipment at Sevilla, destined for the discovery of the Molucca islands, whence we derive our spices, and that Ferdinandez (Ferdinand) Magellan, a Portuguese gentleman, and commander of the order of St. Jago (Santiago) de la Spata, who had already more than once traversed the ocean with great reputation, was nominated Captain General of the expedition. I therefore immediately repaired to Barcelona, to request permission of His Majesty to be one on this voyage, which permission was granted. Thence, provided with letters of recommendation, I went by sea to Malaga, and from that city overland to Sevilla, where I waited three months before the expedition was in readiness to sail.

The Captain General Ferdinand Magellan had resolved on undertaking a long voyage over the ocean, where the winds blow with violence and storms are very frequent. He had also determined on taking a course as yet unexplored by any navigator, but this bold attempt he was cautious of disclosing, lest anyone should strive to dissuade him from it by magnifying the risk he would have to encounter, and this dishearten his crew. To the perils naturally incident on a similar voyage was joined the unfavourable circumstance of the four other vessels he commanded beside his own being under the direction of captains who were inimical to him, merely on account of his being a Portuguese, they themselves being Spaniards. ...

Monday morning the tenth of August 1519, the squadron having everything requisite on board and a complement of 237 men, its departure (from Seville) was announced by a discharge of artillery, and the foresail was set. ... the twentieth of September we sailed from San Lucar, steering toward the southwest, and on the twenty-sixth reached one of the Canary Islands called Teneriffe, situated in 28 degrees of latitude north. We stopped here for three days, at a spot where we could take in wood and water. ... On Monday, the third of October, we made sail directly toward the south. We passed between Cape Verd (Verde) and its islands in latitude 14 degrees 30 minutes north. After coasting along the shores of Guinea for several days, we arrived in latitude 8 degrees north, where is a mountain called Sierra Leona. ...

After we had passed the equinoctial line, we lost sight of the polar star. We then steered south-southwest, making for the Terra di Verzino (Brazil), in latitude 23 degrees 30 minutes south. This land is a continuation of that on which Cape Augustin (St. Augustine) is situated in latitude 8 degrees 30 minutes south. Here we laid in a good stock of fowls; potatoes; a kind of fruit which resembles the cone of the pine tree (the anana or pineapple), but which is very sweet and of an exquisite flavour; sweet reeds; the flesh of the anta, which resembles that of a cow, etc. We made excellent bargain here. For a hook or a knife we purchased five or six fowls; a comb brought us two geese; and a small looking-glass, or a pair of scissors, as much fish as would serve ten people; the inhabitants for a little bell or a ribbon gave a basket of potatoes, which is the name they give to roots somewhat resembling our turnips, and which are nearly like chestnuts in taste.

Our playing cards were an equally advantageous object of barter; for a king of spades I obtained half a dozen fowls, and the hawker even deemed his bargain an excellent one. We entered this port (Rio de Janeiro) on Saint Lucy's day, the thirteenth of December. The sun as noon was vertical, and we suffered much more from the heat than on passing the line. The land of Brazil, which abounds in all kinds of productions, is as extensive as Spain, France, and Italy united. It belongs to Portugal. We stayed thirteen days at this port; after which, resuming our course, we coasted along this country as far as 34 degrees 40 minutes south, where we found a large river of fresh water. This river (Rio de la Plata) contains seven small islands. In the largest, called Santa Maria, precious stones are found. It was formerly imagined that this was not a river, but a channel which communicated with the South Sea; but it was shortly found to be truly a river, which at its mouth is 17 leagues across. Here John (Juan Diaz) de Solis, while on  voyage of discovery like us, was with sixty of his crew devoured by cannibals, in whom they placed too great confidence.

Coasting constantly along this land toward the Antarctic Pole, we stopped at two islands, which we found peopled by geese (penguins) and sea wolves (seals) alone. The former are so numerous and so little wild that we caught a sufficient store for the five ships in the space of a single hour. They are black, and seem to be covered alike over every part of the body with short feathers, without having wings with which to fly; in fact they cannot fly, and live entirely on fish. They are so far that we were obliged to singe them, as we could not pluck their feathers. Their beak is curved like a horn. The sea wolves are of a different colour, and nearly the size of a calf, with a head much like the head of that animal. Their ears are round and short, and their teeth very long. They have no legs, and their paws, which adhere to the body, somewhat resemble our hands, having also small nails. They are, however, web-footed like a duck. Were these animals capable of running, they would be much to be dreaded, for they seem very ferocious. They swim with great swiftness, and subsist on fish. We experienced a dreadful storm between these islands, during which the lights of Saint Elmo, Saint Nicholas, and Saint Clare were oftentimes perceived at the tops of masts. Instantly as they disappeared, the fury of the tempest abated. On leaving these islands to continue our course, we ascended as high as 49 degrees 30 minutes south, where we discovered an excellent port (Port St. Julian), and as winter approached (the month was May), we thought best to take shelter here during the bad weather.

Two months elapsed without our perceiving any inhabitant of the country. One day when the least we expected anything of the kind, a man of gigantic figure presented himself before us. He capered almost naked on the sands, and was singing and dancing, at the same time casting dust on his head. The Captain sent one of our seamen onshore with orders to make similar gestures as a token of friendship and peace, which were well understood, and the giant suffered himself to be quietly ld to a small island where the Captain had landed. I likewise went on shore there, with many others. He testified great surprise on seeing us, and holding up his finger, undoubtedly signified to us that he thought us descended from Heaven. The man was of such immense stature that our heads scarcely reached to his waist. He was of handsome appearance, his face broad and painted red, except a rim of yellow round his eyes and two spots in shape of a heart on his cheeks. His hair, which was thin, appeared lightened with some kind of powder. His coat, or rather his cloak, was made of furs, well sewed together, taken from an animal which, as we had afterward an opportunity of seeing, abounds in this country. This animal (guanaco) has the head and ears of a mule, the body of a camel, the legs of a stag, and the tail of a horse, and like this last animal, it neighs.

This man likewise wore a sort of shoe, make of the same skin. (Amoretti remarks that it was because of this shoe, which made the man's foot resemble the foot of a bear, that Magellan called the people Patagonians.) He held in his left hand a short and massive bow, the string of which, somewhat thicker than that of a lute, was made of the intestines of the same animal. In the other hand he held arrows made of short reeds, with feathers at one end, similar to ours, and at the other, instead of iron, a white-and-black flint stone. With the same stone they likewise form instruments to work wood with. The Captain General gave him victuals and drink, and among other trifles presented him with a large steel mirror. The giant, who had not the least conception of this trinket, and who saw his likeness now perhaps for the first time, started back in so much fright as to knock down four of our men who happened to stand behind him. We gave him some little bells, a small looking-glass, a comb, and some glass beads; after which he was set on shore, accompanied by four men well armed. 

His comrade, who had objected to coming on board the ship, seeing him return, ran to advise his comrades, who, perceiving that our armed men advanced toward them, ranged themselves in file without arms, and almost naked. They immediately began dancing and singing in the course of which they raised the forefinger to Heaven, to make us comprehend that it was thence they reckoned us to have descended. They at the same time showed us a white powder, in clay pans, and presented it to us, having nothing else to offer us to eat. Our people invited them by signs to come on board our ship and proffered to carry on board with them whatever they might wish. They accepted the invitation, but the men, who merely carried a bow and arrow, loaded everything on the women as if they had been so many beasts of burden. ?The women are not of equal size with the men, but in recompense they are much more lusty. Their breasts, which hang down, are more than a foot in length. They paint, and dress in the same manner as their husbands, but they have a thin skin of some animal with which they cover their nudity. They were, in our contemplation, far from handsome; nevertheless their husbands seemed very jealous.

The women led four of the animals of which I have previously spoken, in a string but they were young ones. They make use of their young to catch the old ones. They fasten them to a tree, the old ones come to play with them, when from their concealment the men kill them with their arrows. The inhabitants of the country, both men and women, being invited by our people to repair to the vicinage of the ships, divided themselves into two parties, one on each side of the port, and diverted us with an exhibition of the mode of hunting before recited. Six days afterward, while our people were employed in felling wood for the ship, they saw another giant, dressed like those we had parted with and like them armed with a bow and arrow. On approaching our people he touched his head and body, afterward raising his hands to Heaven, gestures which the men imitated. The Captain General, informed of this circumstance, sent the skiff onshore to conduct him to the islet in the port, on which a house had been erected to serve as a forge, and a magazine for different articles of merchandise.

This man was of higher stature and better made than the others; he was moreover of gentler manners. He danced and sprang so high, and with such might, that his feet sank several inches deep in the sand. He remained with us some days. We taught him to pronounce the name of Jesus, to say the Lord's Prayer, etc., which he did with equal ease with ourselves, but in a much stronger tone of voice. Finally, we baptized him by the name of John. The Captain General made him a present of a shirt, a vest, cloth drawers, a cap, a looking-glass, comb, some little bells, and other trifling things. He returned toward his own people, apparently well contented. The nest day he brought us one of the large animals of which we have made mention, and received other presents to induce him to repeat his gift, but from that day we saw nothing of him, and suspected his companions had killed him on account of his attachment to us.

At the end of a fortnight four other of these men repaired to us. They were without arms, but we afterward found they had concealed them behind some bushes, where they were pointed out to us by two of the party, whom we detained. They were all of them painted, but in a different manner to those we had seen before. The Captain wished to keep the two youngest, who as well were of the handsomest form, to carry them with us on our voyage, and even take them to Spain; but, aware of the difficulty of securing them by forcible means, he made use of the following artifice. He presented them a number of knives, mirrors, glass beads, etc., so that both their hands were full. He afterward offered them two of those iron rings used for chaining felons, and when he saw their anxiety to be possessed of them (for they are passionately fond of iron), and moreover that they could not hold them in their hands, he proposed to fasten them to their legs, that they might more easily carry them home, to which they consented. Upon this, our people put on the irons and fastened the rings, by which means they were securely chained. As soon as they became aware of the treachery used toward them they we violently enraged, and puffed and roared aloud, invoking Setebos, their chief demon, to come to their assistance.

Not content with having these men, the Captain was anxious of securing their wives also, in order to transport a race of giants to Europe. With the view he ordered the two others to be arrested, to oblige them to conduct our people to the spot where they were. None of our strongest men were scarcely able to cast them to the ground and bind them, and still even one of them succeeded in freeing himself, while the other exerted himself so much that he received a slight wound in the head from one of the men, but they were in the end obliged to show our people the way to the abode of the wives of our two prisoners. These women, on learning what had happened to their husbands, made such loud outcries as to be heard at a great distance.
Johan Carvajo, the pilot, who was at the head of our people, as night was drawing on, did not choose to bring away at that time the women to whose house he had been conducted, but remained there till morning, keeping a good guard. In the meantime came there two other men, who without expressing any dissatisfaction or surprise continued all night in the hut; but soon as dawn began to break, upon saying a few words, in an instant everyone took flight, man, woman, and child, the children even scampering away with greater speed than the rest. They abandoned their hut to us, and all that it contained. In the meantime one of the men drove off to a distance the little animals which they used in hunting, while another, concealed behind a bush, wounded one of our men in the thigh, who died immediately.
Though our people fired on the runaways, they were unable to hit any, on account of their not escaping in a straight line, but leaping from one side to another, and getting on as swiftly as horses at a full gallop. Our people burned the hut of these savages, and buried their dead companion. Savage as they are, these Indians are yet not without their medicaments. When they have a pain in the stomach, for example, in lieu of an operation medicine they thrust an arrow pretty deeply down the throat, to excite a vomit, and throw up a matter of greenish colour, mixed with blood. The green is occasioned by a sort of thistle, on which they feed. if they have the headache, they make a gash in their forehead, and do the same with the other parts of the body where they experience pain, in order to draw from the affected part a considerable quantity of blood. Their theory as explained to us by one of those we had taken, is on a par with their practice. Pain, they say, proceeds from the reluctance of the blood to abide any longer in the part where it is fit; by releasing it, consequently, the pain removed.
Their hair is cut circularly like that of monks, but is longer, and supported round the head by a cotton string, in which they place their arrows when they go hunting. When the weather is very cold, they tie their private parts closely to the body. It appears that their religion is limit4d to adoring the Devil. They pretend that when one of them is on the point of death, ten or twelve demons appear dancing and singing around him. One of these, who makes a greater noise than the rest, is termed Setebos, the inferior imps are called Cheleule; they are painted like the people of the country. Our giant pretends to have once seen a devil, with horns, and hair of such length as to cover his feet' he cast out flames, added he, from his mouth and his posteriors. These people, as I have already noticed, clothe themselves in the skin of an animal, and with the same kind of skin do they cover their huts, which they transport whither suits them best, having no fixed place of abode, but wandering from spot to spot like gypsies. They generally live upon raw meat, and a sweet root called capac. They are great feeders; the two we took daily consumed a basketful of bread each, and drank half a pail of water at a draught. They eat mice raw, and without even slaying them. Our Captain gave these people the name of Patagonians.
We spent five months in this part, to which we gave the denomination of St. Julian, and met with no accidents onshore during the whole of our stay, save what I have noticed. Scarcely had we anchored in this port before the four captains of the other vessels plotted to murder the Captain General. These traitors were Juan of Carthagena, vehalor of the squadron; Lewis de Mendoza, the treasurer; Antonio Cocca, the paymaster; and Caspar de Casada. The plot was discovered, the first was flayed alive, and the second was stabbed to the heart. Gaspar de Casada was forgiven, but a few days later, he meditated treason anew. The Captain General then - who dared not take his life, as he was created a captain by the Emperor himself - drove him from the squadron, and left him in the country of the Pantagonians, together with a priest, his accomplice. (When Gomez, who commanded the San Antonio, deserted the squadron in the strait and returned to St. Julian, he took them both on board again, and carried them back to Spain.) 
Another mishap befell part of the squadron while we remained at this station. The ship St. Jago (Santiago) which had been detached to survey the coast, was cast upon rocks; nevertheless, as if by a miracle, the whole of the crew were saved. Two seamen came overland to the port where we were to acquaint us of this disaster, and the Captain General sent men to the spot immediately, with some sacks of biscuit. The crew stopped two months near the place where the vessel was stranded, to collect the wreck and merchandise which the sea successively cast onshore; and during all this time means of subsistence was transported them overland, although 100 miles distant from the port of St. Julian, and by a very bad and fatiguing road, through thickets and briers, among which the bearers of provision wee obliged to pass the whole night without any other beverage than what they obtained from the ice they found, and which they were able with difficulty to break. 
As for us, we fared tolerably in this port, though certain shellfish of great length, some of which contained pearls, but of very small size, wee not edible. We found ostriches (rheas) here, foxes, rabbits much smaller than ours, and sparrows. The trees yield frankincense. We planted a cross on the summit of a neighbouring mountain, which we termed Monte Christo, and took possession of the country in the name of the King of Spain. We at length left this port (the twenty-first of August) and keeping along the coast, in latitude 50 degrees 40 minutes south, discovered a river of fresh water (the Santa Cruz), into which we entered. The whole squadron nearly experienced shipwreck here, owing to the furious winds with which it was assailed, and which occasioned a very rough sea; but God and the corpona sancta (the lights which shone on the summits of the masts) brought us succor and saved us from harm. We spent two months here, to stock our water. We laid in provision also of a species of fish nearly 2 feet in length and covered with scales; it was tolerable eating, but we were unable to take a sufficient number of them. Before we quitted this spot our Captain ordered all of us to make confession, and, like good Christians, to receive the communion.
Continuing our course toward the south, on the twenty-first of October, in latitude 52 degrees, we discovered a strait which we denominated the strait of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, in honor of the day. This strait, as will appear in the sequel, is 440 miles, or 110 maritime leagues, in length; it is half a league in breadth, sometimes more, sometimes less, and terminates in another sea, which we denominated the Pacific Ocean. This strait is enclosed between lofty mountains covered with snow, and it is likewise very deep, so that we were unable to anchor except quite close to shore, where was from 25 to 30 fathoms of water. The whole of the crew were so firmly persuaded that this strait had no western outer that we should not, but for the deep science of the Captain General, have ventured on its exploration. This man, as skilful as he was intrepid, knew that he would have to pass by a strait very little know, but which he had seen laid down on a chart of Martin de Bohme (Martin Behaim), a most excellent cosmographer, in the treasury of the king of Portugal.
As soon as we entered on this water, imagined to be only a bay, the Captain sent forward two vessels, the Sant' Antonio, and La Concepcion (Conception) to examine where it terminated or whither it led, while we in the Trinidad and the Vittoria awaited them in the mouth of it. At night came on a terrible hurricane, which lasted six and thirty hours, and forced us to quit our anchors and leave our vessels to the mercy of the winds and waves in the gulf. The two other vessels, equally buffeted, were unable to double a cape in order to rejoin us; so that by abandoning themselves to the gale, which drove them constantly toward what they conceived to be the bottom of a bay, they were apprehensive momentarily of being driven onshore. but at the instant they gave themselves up for lost, they saw a small opening, which they took for an inlet of the bay. Into this they entered, and perceiving that this channel was not closed, they threaded it, and found themselves in another, through which they pursued their course to another strait leading into a third bay still larger than the preceding. Then, in lieu of following up their exploitation, they deemed it most prudent to return and render account of what they had observed to the Captain General.
Two days passed without the two vessels returning sent to examine the bottom of the bay, so that we reckoned they had been swallowed up during the tempest; and seeing smoke on shore, we conjectured that those who had had the good fortune to escape had kindled those fires to inform us of their existence and distress. But while in this painful incertitude as to their fate, we saw them advancing toward us under full sail, and their flags flying; and when sufficiently near, heard the report of their bombards and their loud exclamations of joy. We repeated the salutation, and when we learnt from them that they had seen the prolongation of the bay, or, better speaking, the strait, we made toward them, to continue our voyage in this course, of possible.
When we had entered into the third bay, which I have before noticed, we saw two openings, or channels, the one running to the southeast, the other to the southwest. The Captain General sent the two vessels, the Sant' Antonio and La Concepcion to the southeast, to examine whether or not this channel terminated in an open sea. The first set sail immediately, under press of canvas, not choosing to wait for the second, which the pilot wished to leave behind, as he had no intention to avail himself of the darkness of the might to retrace his course, and return to Spain by the same way we came.
The pilot was Emanuel Gomez, who hated Magellan, for the sole reason that when he came to Spain to lay his project the Emperor of proceeding to the Moluccas by a western passage, Gomez himself had requested, and was on the point of obtaining, some caravels for an expedition of which he would have had the command. This expedition had for its object to make new discoveries, but he arrival of Magellan prevented his request from being complied with, and he could only obtain the subaltern situation of his serving under a Portuguese. In the course of the night he conspired with the other Spaniards on board the ship. They put in irons, and even wounded, the captain, Alvaro de Meschita, the cousin German of the Captain General, and carried him thus to Spain. They reckoned likewise on transporting thither one of the two giants we had taken, and who was on board their ship; but we learnt on our return that he died on approaching the equinoctial line, unable to bear the heat of the tropical regions.
The vessel, La Concepcion, which could not keep up with the Sant' Antonio, continued to cruise to the channel to await its return, but in vain. We, with the other two vessels, entered the remaining channel, on the southwest, and continuing our course, came to a river which we called Sardine River, on account of the vast number of the fish of this denomination we found in it.
We anchored here to wait for the two other ships, and remained in the river four days, but in the interim we dispatched a boat, well manned, to reconnoiter the cape of this channel, which promised to terminate in another sea. On the third day the sailors sent on this expedition returned and announced their having seen the cape where the strait ended, and with it a great sea - that is to say, the ocean. We wept for joy. This cape was denominated II Capo Deseado (The Wished-for Cape; Cape of Good Hope) for in truth we had longed wished to see it.
We returned to join the two other vessels of the squadron, and found La Concepcion alone. On inquiring of the pilot, Johan Serano, what had become of the other vessel, we learnt that he conceived it to be lost, as he had not once seen it since he entered the channel. The Captain General then ordered it to be sought for everywhere, but especially in the channel into which it had penetrated. He sent back the Vittoria to the mouth of the strait, with directions if they should not find it, to hoist a standard on some eminent spot at the foot of which, in a small pot, should be placed a letter pointing out the course the Captain General would take in order to enable the missing ship to follow the squadron. This mode of communication, in case of a division, was concerted at the instant of our departure. Two other signals were hoisted in the same manner on eminent sites in the first bay, and on a small island of the third bay, on which we saw a number of sea wolves and birds. The Captain General, with La Concepcion, awaited the return of the Vittoria near the River of Sardines, and erected a cross on a small island, at the foot of two mountains covered with snow, where the river had its source. Had we not discovered this strait leading from one sea to the other, it was the intention of the Captain General to continue his course toward the south, as high as 75 degrees, where in summer there is no night, or very little, as in winter there is scarcely any day. while we were in the strait, in the mouth of October, there were but three hours' night.
The shore in this strait, which on the left turns to the southeast, is low. We called it the Strait of the Patagonians (Strait of Magellan). At every half-league it contains a safe port, with excellent water, cedar wood, sardines, and a great abundance of shellfish. There were here also some vegetables, part of them of bitter taste but others fit to eat, especially a species of sweet celery, which grows on the margin of springs and which, for want of other, serves us for food. In short, I do not think the world contains a better strait than this. ...
On Wednesday, the twenty-eighth of November, we left the strait and entered the ocean to which we afterward gave the denomination of Pacific, and to which we sailed the space of three months and twenty days, without tasting any fresh Provisions. The biscuit we were eating no longer deserved the  name of bread; it was nothing but dust, and worms which had consumed the substance; and what is more, it smelled intolerably, being impregnated with the urine of mice. The water we were obliged to drink was equally putrid and offensive. We were even so far reduced, that we might not die of hunger, to eat pieces of the leather with which the main yard was covered to prevent it from wearing the rope. These pieces of leather, constantly exposed to the water, sun, and win, were so hard that they required being soaked four or five days in the sea in order to render them supple, after this we broiled them to eat. Frequently indeed we were obliged to subsist on sawdust, and even mice, a food so disgusting, were sought after with such avidity that they sold for half a ducat apiece.
Nor was this all. Our greatest misfortune was being attacked by a malady in which the gums swelled so as to hide the teeth, as well in the upper at the lower jaw, whence those affected were thus incapable of chewing their food. Nineteen of our number did of this complaint (scurvy), among whom was the Patagonian giant, and a Brazilian whom we had brought with us from his own country. Besides those who died, we had from 25 to 30 sailors ill, who suffered dreadful pains in their arms, legs, and other parts of the body; but these all of them recovered. As for myself, I cannot be too grateful to God for the continued health I enjoyed, though surrounded with sick, I experienced not the slightest illness. In the course of these three months and twenty days we traversed nearly 4,000 leagues in the ocean denominated by us Pacific, on account of our not having experienced throughout the whole of this period any the least tempestuous weather. We did not either in this whole length of time discover any land, except two desert islands; on these we saw nothing but birds and trees, for which reason we named them Las Islas Desdichados (The Unfortunate Islands). We found no bottom along their shores, and saw no fish but sharks. The two islands are 200 leagues apart. The first lies in latitude 15 degrees south, the second in latitude 9 degrees.
From the run of our ship as estimated by the log, we traversed a space of from 60 to 70 leagues a day; and if God and His Holy Mother had not granted us a fortunate voyage, we should all have perished of hunger in so vast a sea. I do not think that anyone in the future will venture upon a similar voyage. If on leaving the straits we had continued a western course under the same parallel, we should have made the tour of the world; and without seeing any land should have returned by Wished-for Cape (Cape of Good Hope) to the cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, both of which are in latitude 52 degrees south. The Antarctic has not the same stars as the Arctic Pole; but here are seen two clusters of small nebulous stars which look like small clouds, and are but little distant the one from the other. (These are now called the Magellanic Clouds). In midst of these clusters of small stars two are distinguished very large and very brilliant, but of which the motion is scarcely apparent. These indicate the Antarctic Pole.
Though the needle declined somewhat from the North Pole, it yet oscillated toward it, but not with equal force as in the Northern hemisphere. When out a sea, the Captain General directed the course the pilots should steer, and inquired how they pointed. They unanimously replied they bore in that direction he ordered them. He then informed them that their course was wrong, and directed them to correct the needle because, being in the Southern, it had not an equal power to designate the true north as in the Northern Hemisphere. When in midst of the ocean, we discovered in the west five stars of great brilliancy, in form of a cross. We steered northeast by west till we reached the equinoctial line in 122 degrees of longitude, west of the line of demarcation (laid down by Pope Alexander VI). This line is 30 degrees west of the meridian, and 3 degrees west of Cape Verde. ...
After we had crossed the line we steered west by north. We then ran 200 leagues toward the west; when, changing our course again, we ran west by south until in the latitude of 13 degrees north. We trusted by this course to reach Cape Gatticara, which cosmographers have placed in this latitude; but they are mistaken, this cape lying 12 degrees more toward the north. They must, however, be excused the error in their plan, as they have not like us had the advantage of visiting these parts. When we had run 70 leagues in this direction and were in latitude 12 degrees north, longitude 146 degrees, on Wednesday, the sixth of march, we discovered in the northwest a small island, and afterward two others in the southwest. A first was more lofty and larger than the other two. The Captain General meant to stop at the largest to victual and refresh, but this was rendered impossible, as the islanders came on board our ships and trade first one thing and then another, without our being able to prevent them. They invited us to take in our sails ad come on shore, and even had the address the steal the skiff which hung stern of our vessel.
Exasperated at length, our Captain landed with forty men, burnt forty or fifty of their houses and several of their boats, and killed seven of the people. By acting thus he recovered his skills but he did not deem it prudent to stop any longer after such acts of hostility. We therefore continued our course in the same direction as before. ... (Although the expedition had only this brief encounter, Pigafetta felt able to describe in some detail the manners and customs of these natives. In the course of his remarks he states, "The inhabitants of these islands are poor, but very dexterous, and above all at thieving; for this reason we gave the name of De los Ladrones to the islands." The group which received this uncomplimentary name was later called the Marianas, by which name these islands are still known.)
The sixteenth of March, at sunrise we found ourselves near an elevated land 300 leagues from the island De los Ladrones. We soon discovered it to be an island. It is called Zamal (Samur). Behind this island is another not inhabited, and we afterward learnt that its name is Humunu. Here the Captain General resolved on landing the next day to take in water in greater security, and take some rest after so long and tedious a voyage. Here likewise he caused two tents to be erected for the sick, and ordered a sow to be killed. ... Perceiving around us a number of islands on the fifth Sunday of Lent, which also is the feast of St. Lazarus, we called the archipelago by the name of that saint. (These islands are now called the Philippines. Magellan made contact with the natives, who proved friendly, and he stayed in the area to trade and explore. Unfortunately, he also became involved in local politics among the tribes as he tried to spread Christianity and exert Spanish sovereignty - Editor)
On Sunday, the seventh of April, we entered the port of Zubu (Cebu). We passed several villages, in which we saw houses built upon trees. When near the town, the Captain ordered all our colors to be hoisted and all our sails to be taken in; and a general salute was fired, which caused great alarm among the islanders. The Captain then sent one of his pupils, with the interpreter, as ambassador to the King of Cebu. On arriving at the town they found the King surrounded by an immense concourse of people alarmed at the noise occasioned by the discharge of our bombards. The interpreter began with removing the apprehension of the monarch, informing him that this was a custom with us, and meant as a mark of respect toward him, and as a token of friendship and pace. Upon this assurance the fears of all were dissipated. The King inquired by his Minister what brought us to his island, and what we wanted. The interpreter answered that his master, who commanded the squadron, was a captain in the service of the greatest monarch upon earth, and that the object of his voyage was to proceed to Malucho (the Moluccas); but that the King of Massana, at whose island we had touched, having spoken very highly of him, he had come hither to pay him his respects, and at the same time to take in provisions and give merchandise in exchange.
The King replied he was welcome, but at the same time he advised him that all vessels which might enter his port in view of trading were subject previously to pay duties. In proof of the truth of which he added that four days had not yet elapsed since his having received port duties for a junk from Ciam (Siam), which had come thither to take in slaves and gold, he moreover sent for a Moorish (Mohammedan) merchant, who came from Siam with the same view, to bear witness to what he stated. The interpreter answered that his master, being the captain of so great a king, could not consent to pay duty to any monarch upon earth; that if the King of Cebu wished for peace, he brought pace with him, but if he wished to be hostile, he was prepared for war. The merchant from Siam then, approaching the King, said to him in his own language, "Cata rajah chita" - that is to say, "Take care, Sire, of that." "These people," added he, for he taught us Portuguese, "are those who conquered Calcut, Malacca, and all Upper India."
The interpreter, who comprehended what the Moor said, then remarked that his monarch was one vastly more powerful than the King of Portugal, to whom the Siamese alluded, as well by sea as by land; that it was the King of Spain, the emperor of the whole Christian world; and that if he preferred to have him for an enemy rather than a friend he would have sent a sufficient number of men and vessels entirely to destroy his island. The Moor confirmed what the interpreter said. The King then, finding himself embarrassed, said he would advise with his Ministers, and return an answer the next day. In the meantime he ordered a breakfast, consisting of several dishes, to be set before the deputy of the Captain General and the interpreter, all the dishes consisting of meat served up in porcelain. After breakfast our deputies returned and reported what had taken place. The King of Massana, who next to that of Cebu was the most powerful monarch of these islands, went on shore to announce to the King the friendly intention of our Captain General with respect to him. ...
Tuesday, in the morning, the King of Massana came on board our vessel, in company with the Moorish merchant, and after saluting the Captain on the part of the king of Cebu, told him he was authorized to communicate that the King was busied in collecting all the provisions he could to make a present to him, and that in the afternoon he would send his nephew with some of his Ministers to confirm a treaty of peace. The Captain thanked the deputation, and at the same time exhibited to them a man armed cap-a-ie, observing in case of a necessity to fight, we should all of us be armed in the same manner. The Moor was terribly frightened at sight of a man armed in this manner; but the Captain tranquilized him with the assurance that our arms were as advantageous to our friends as fatal to our enemies; and that we were able as readily to disperse all the enemies of our sovereign and our faith as to wipe the sweat from our brows. The Captain made use of this lofty and threatening tone purposely, that the Moor might make report of it to the King. ...
(When the treaty with the King of Cebu had been concluded, European goods were carried ashore and placed in a house that had been turned over to the Spaniards for this purpose.)
On Friday, we opened our warehouse and exhibited our different merchandise, which excited much admiration among the islanders. For brass, iron, and other weighty articles, they gave us gold in exchange. Our trinkets and articles of a lighter kind, were bartered for rice, hogs, goats, and other edibles. For 14 pounds of iron we received 10 pieces of gold, of the value of a ducat and a half. The Captain General forbade too great an anxiety for receiving gold, without which order every sailor would have parted with all he had to obtain this metal, which would have ruined our commerce forever. Contiguous to the island Cebu is another called Matan (Mactan), which has a port of the same name, in which our vessels laid at anchor. The chief village of this island is likewise called Mactan, over which Zulu and Cilapulapu presided as chiefs. In this island the village of Bulaia with situated, which we burnt.
On Friday, the twenty-sixth of April, Zula, one of the chiefs, sent one of his sons with two goats to the Captain General and observed that if he did not send him the whole of what he had promised, the blame was not to be imputed to himself, but to the other chief, Cilapulapu, who would not acknowledge the authority of the King of Spain. He further stated that if the Captain General would only send to this assistance the following night a boat with some armed men, he would engage to beat and entirely subjugate his rival. On receiving this message the Captain General determined on going himself with these boats. We entreated him not to hazard his person on this adventure, but he answered that as a good pastor he ought not to be far away from his flock.
At midnight we left the ship, 60 in number, armed with helmets and cuirasses. The Christian King, the Prince, his nephew; and several chiefs of Cebu, with a number of armed men, followed us in twenty or thirty balangays. We reached Mactan three hours before day. The Captain would not then begin the attack; but he sent the Moor on shore to inform Cilapulapu and his people that if he would acknowledge the sovereignty of the king of Spain, obey the Christian king of Cebu, and pay the tribute he demanded, they should be looked upon as friends. Otherwise they should experience the strength of our lances. The islanders, nothing intimidated, replied they had lances as well as we, although they were only sticks of bamboo pointed at the end, and staves hardened in the fire. They merely requested that they might not be attacked in the night, as they expected reinforcements, and should then be better able to cope with us. This they said designedly to induce us to attack them immediately, in hope that thus we should fall in the dikes they had dug between the sea and their houses.
We accordingly waited until daylight, when we jumped into the water up to our thighs, the boats not being able to approach near enough to land, on account of the rocks and shallows. The number which landed was 49 only, as 11 were left in charge of the boats. We were obliged to wade some distance through the water before we reached the shore. We found the islanders, 1,500 in number, formed into three battalions, who immediately upon our landing fell upon us, making horrible shouts. Two of these battalions attacked us in flank, and the third in front. Our Captain divided his company into two platoons. The musketeers and crossbowmen fired from  distance the space of half an hour without making the least impression on the enemy, for though the balls and arrows penetrated their bucklers made of thin wood, and even wounded them at times in their arms, this did not make them halt, as the wounds failed of occasioning them instant death, as they expected; on the contrary, it only made them more bold and furious. Moreover, trusting to the superiority of their numbers, they showered on us such clouds of bamboo lances, staves hardened in the fire, stones, and even dirt, that it was with difficulty we defended ourselves. some even threw spears headed with iron at our Captain General, who to intimidate and cause them to disperse, ordered away a party of our men to set fire to their houses, which they immediately effected.
The sight of the flames served only to increase their exasperation. some of them even ran to the village which was set on fire, and in which twenty or thirty houses were consumed, and killed two of our men on the spot. They seemed momently to increase in number and impetuosity. A poisoned arrow struck the Captain in the leg, who on this ordered a retreat in slow and regular order, but the majority of our men took to flight precipitately, so that only 7 or 8 remained about the Captain. The Indians, perceiving their blows were ineffectual when aimed at our body or head, on account of our armor, and noticing at the same time that our legs were uncovered, directed against these their arrows, javelins, and stones, and these in such abundance that we could not guard against them. The bombards we had in our boats were of no utility, as the levelness of the strand would not admit the boats' being brought sufficiently close inshore.
We retreated gradually; still continuing to fight, and were now at a bowshot from the islanders, and in the water up to our knees, when they renewed their attack with fury, throwing at us the same lance five or six times over as they picked it up on advancing. As they knew our Captain, they chiefly aimed at him, so that his helmet was twice struck from his head. Still he did not give himself up to despair, and we continued in a very small number fighting by his side.
This combat, so unequal, lasted more than an hour.
An islander at length succeeding in thrusting the end of his lance through the bars of the helmet, and wounding the Captain in the forehead, who, irritated on the occasion, immediately ran the assailant through the body with his lance, the lance remaining in the wound. He now attempted to draw his sword, but was unable, owing to his right arm being grievously wounded. The Indians, who perceived this, pressed in crowds upon him, and one of them having given him a violent cut with a sword on the left leg, he fell on his face. On this they immediately fell upon him.
Thus perished our guide, our light, and our support. On falling, and seeing himself surrounded by the enemy, he turned toward us several times, as if to know whether we had been able to save ourselves. As there was not one of those who remained with him but was wounded, and as we were consequently in no condition either to afford him succor or revenge his death, we instantly made for our boats, which were on the point of putting off. To our Captain indeed did we owe our deliverance, as the instant he fell, all the islanders rushed toward the spot where he lay. The Christian King had it in his power to render us assistance, and this he would not doubt have done; but the Captain General, far from foreseeing what was about to happen when he landed with his people, had ordered him not to leave his balangay, but merely to remain a spectator of our manner of fighting. His Majesty bitterly bewailed his fate on seeing him fall. But the glory of Magellan will survive him. He was adorned with every virtue; in the midst of the greatest adversity he constantly possessed an immovable firmness. At sea he subjected himself to the same privation as his men. Better skilled than anyone in the knowledge of nautical charts, he was a perfect master of navigation, as he proved in making the tour of the world, an attempt on which none before him had ventured.

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