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Departure and crossing of the Atlantic
On 10 August 1519, the five ships under Magellan's command – Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepción, Victoria and Santiago – left Seville and descended the Guadalquivir River to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, at the mouth of the river. There they remained more than five weeks. Finally they set sail on 20 September.
King Manuel I ordered a Portuguese naval detachment to pursue Magellan, but Magellan avoided them. After stopping at the Canary Islands, Magellan arrived at Cape Verde, where he set course for Cape St. Augustine in Brazil. On 27 November the expedition crossed the equator; on 6 December the crew sighted South America.
As Brazil was Portuguese territory, Magellan avoided it and on 13 December anchored near present-day Rio de Janeiro. There the crew was resupplied, but bad conditions caused them to delay. Afterwards, they continued to sail south along South America's east coast, looking for the strait that Magellan believed would lead to the Spice Islands. The fleet reached Río de la Plata on 10 January 1520.
For overwintering Magellan established a temporary settlement called Puerto San Julian on March 30, 1520. On Easter (April 1 and 2) a mutiny broke out involving three of the five ship captains. Magellan took quick and decisive action. Luis de Mendoza, the captain of Victoria, was killed by a party sent by Magellan and the ship was recovered. Then, after Concepcion's anchor cable had been secretly cut, the ship drifted towards the well-armed Trinidad, and Concepcion's captain, de Quesada, and his inner circle surrendered. Juan de Cartagena, the head of the mutineers on the San Antonio subsequently gave up. Antonio Pigafetta reported that Gaspar Quesada, the captain of Concepcion, and other mutineers were executed, while Juan de Cartagena, the captain of San Antonio, and a priest named Padre Sanchez de la Reina were marooned on the coast. Most of the men, including Juan Sebastián Elcano were needed and forgiven.[16] Reportedly those killed were drawn and quartered and impaled on the coast; years later, their bones were found by Sir Francis Drake.[17][18] There is a replica of the Victoria that can be visited in Puerto San Julian.
Passage into the Pacific
The journey resumed. The help of Duarte Barbosa was crucial to face the riot in Puerto San Julian, becoming since then captain of the Victoria. The Santiago was sent down the coast on a scouting expedition and was wrecked in a sudden storm. All of its crew survived and made it safely to shore. Two of them returned overland to inform Magellan of what had happened, and to bring rescue to their comrades. After this experience, Magellan decided to wait for a few weeks more before again resuming the voyage.
At 52°S latitude on 21 October the fleet reached Cape Virgenes and concluded they had found the passage, because the waters were brine and deep inland. Four ships began an arduous trip through the 373-mile (600 km) long passage that Magellan called the Estrecho (Canal) de Todos los Santos, ("All Saints' Channel"), because the fleet travelled through it on 1 November or All Saints' Day. The strait is now named the Strait of Magellan. Magellan first assigned Concepcion and San Antonio to explore the strait, but the latter, commanded by Gómez, deserted and returned to Spain on 20 November. On 28 November the three remaining ships entered the South Pacific. Magellan named the waters the Mar Pacifico (Pacific Ocean) because of its apparent stillness.[19] Magellan and his crew were the first Europeans to reach Tierra del Fuego just east of the Pacific side of the strait.
Death in the Philippines
Heading northwest, the crew reached the equator on 13 February 1521. On 6 March they reached the Marianas and Guam. Magellan called Guam the "Island of Sails" because they saw a lot of sailboats. They renamed it to "Ladrones Island" (Island of Thieves) because many of Trinidad's small boats were stolen there. On 17 March Magellan reached the island of Homonhon in the Philippines, with 150 crew left. Members of his expedition became the first Spaniards to reach the Philippine archipelago, but they were not the first Europeans.[20]
Magellan was able to communicate with the native tribes because his Malay interpreter, Enrique, could understand their languages. Enrique was indentured by Magellan in 1511 right after the colonization of Malacca and was at his side during the battles in Africa, during Magellan's disgrace at the King's court in Portugal and during Magellan's successful raising of a fleet. They traded gifts with Rajah Siaiu of Mazaua[21] who guided them to Cebu on 7 April.
Rajah Humabon of Cebu was friendly towards Magellan and the Spaniards; both he and his queen Hara Amihan were baptized as Christians. Afterward, Rajah Humabon and his ally Datu Zula convinced Magellan to kill their enemy, Datu Lapu-Lapu, on Mactan. Magellan had wished to convert Lapu-Lapu to Christianity, as he had Humabon, a proposal of which Lapu-Lapu was dismissive. On the morning of 27 April 1521, Magellan sailed to Mactan with a small attack force. During the resulting battle against Lapu-Lapu's troops, Magellan was hit by a bamboo spear and later surrounded and finished off with other weapons.[22]
Pigafetta and Ginés de Mafra provided written documents of the events culminating in Magellan's death:
When morning came, forty-nine of us leaped into the water up to our thighs, and walked through water for more than two cross-bow flights before we could reach the shore. The boats could not approach nearer because of certain rocks in the water. The other eleven men remained behind to guard the boats. When we reached land, [the natives] had formed in three divisions to the number of more than one thousand five hundred people. When they saw us, they charged down upon us with exceeding loud cries... The musketeers and crossbow-men shot from a distance for about a half-hour, but uselessly... Recognizing the captain, so many turned upon him that they knocked his helmet off his head twice... A native hurled a bamboo spear into the captain's face, but the latter immediately killed him with his lance, which he left in the native's body. Then, trying to lay hand on sword, he could draw it out but halfway, because he had been wounded in the arm with a bamboo spear. When the natives saw that, they all hurled themselves upon him. One of them wounded him on the left leg with a large cutlass, which resembles a scimitar, only being larger. That caused the captain to fall face downward, when immediately they rushed upon him with iron and bamboo spears and with their cutlasses, until they killed our mirror, our light, our comfort, and our true guide. When they wounded him, he turned back many times to see whether we were all in the boats. Thereupon, beholding him dead, we, wounded, retreated, as best we could, to the boats, which were already pulling off.[22]
Magellan provided in his will that Enrique, his interpreter, was to be freed upon his death. However, after the Battle of Mactan, the remaining ships' masters refused to free Enrique. Enrique escaped his indenture on 1 May with the aid of Rajah Humabon, amid the deaths of almost 30 crewmen. Pigafetta had been jotting down words in both Butuanon and Cebuano languages – which he started at Mazaua on Friday, 29 March and grew to a total of 145 words – and was apparently able to continue communications during the rest of the voyage. "Nothing of Magellan's body survived, that afternoon the grieving rajah-king, hoping to recover his remains, offered Mactan's victorious chief a handsome ransom of copper and iron for them but Datu Lapulapu refused. He intended to keep the body as a war trophy.
Since his wife and child died in Seville before any member of the expedition could return to Spain, it seemed that every evidence of Ferdinand Magellan's existence had vanished from the earth."[23]
The casualties suffered in the Philippines left the expedition with too few men to sail all three of the remaining ships. Consequently, on 2 May they abandoned Concepción and burned the ship. The fleet, reduced to Trinidad and Victoria, fled westward to Palawan. They left that island on 21 June and were guided to Brunei, Borneo by Moro pilots who could navigate the shallow seas. They anchored off the Brunei breakwater for 35 days, where Pigafetta, an Italian from Vicenza, recorded the splendour of Rajah Siripada's court (gold, two pearls the size of hens' eggs, etc.). In addition, Brunei boasted tame elephants and an armament of 62 cannons, more than 5 times the armament of Magellan's ships; Brunei also disdained the Spaniard's cargo of cloves, which were to prove more valuable than gold upon the return to Spain. Pigafetta mentions some of the technology of the court, such as porcelain and eyeglasses (both of which were neither available, or at best were only just becoming available, in Europe).
After reaching the Maluku Islands (the Spice Islands) on 6 November 115 crew were left. They managed to trade with the Sultan of Tidore, a rival of the Sultan of Ternate, who was the ally of the Portuguese.
The two remaining ships, laden with valuable spices, attempted to return to Spain by sailing westwards. However, as they left the Spice Islands, the Trinidad began to take on water. The crew tried to discover and repair the leak, but failed. They concluded that Trinidad would need to spend considerable time being overhauled, but the small Victoria was not large enough to accommodate all the surviving crew. As a result, Victoria with some of the crew sailed west for Spain. Several weeks later, Trinidad departed and attempted to return to Spain via the Pacific route. This attempt failed. Trinidad was captured by the Portuguese, and was eventually wrecked in a storm while at anchor under Portuguese control.
Victoria set sail via the Indian Ocean route home on 21 December, commanded by Juan Sebastián Elcano. By 6 May the Victoria rounded the Cape of Good Hope, with only rice for rations. Twenty crewmen died of starvation before Elcano put into Cape Verde, a Portuguese holding, where he abandoned 13 more crew on 9 July in fear of losing his cargo of 26 tons of spices (cloves and cinnamon).
On 6 September 1522, Elcano and the remaining crew of Magellan's voyage arrived in Spain aboard the last ship in the fleet, Victoria, almost exactly three years after they departed. Magellan had not intended to circumnavigate the world, only to find a secure way through which the Spanish ships could navigate to the Spice Islands; it was Elcano who, after Magellan's death, decided to push westward, thereby completing the first voyage around the entire Earth.
Maximilianus Transylvanus interviewed some of the surviving members of the expedition when they presented themselves to the Spanish court at Valladolid in the autumn of 1522 and wrote the first account of the voyage, which was published in 1523. The account written by Pigafetta did not appear until 1525 and was not wholly published until 1800. This was the Italian transcription by Carlo Amoretti of what we now call the Ambrosiana codex. The expedition eked out a small profit, but the crew was not paid full wages.
Four crewmen of the original 55 on Trinidad finally returned to Spain in 1522, 51 of them had died in war or from disease. In total, approximately 232 Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, English and German sailors died on the expedition around the world with Magellan.

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