On September 6th of 1522 a battered ship with a starving crew arrived at Sanlucar de Barrameda in Spain, it is the one remaining ship out of five that left on a voyage three
years earlier led by the famous Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who was sailing for Spain. It was the first ship to circumnavigate the earth. On this page is a list of
interesting facts about Ferdinand Magellan and his famous voyage. Information on this page includes why Magellan did not return from the voyage and how the famous voyage
sailed around the world. This information is written for both kids and adults.
Ferdinand Magellan and His Famous Voyage
Ferdinand Magellan was born into a wealthy family in northern Portugal around 1480 AD.
When he was only 10 years old his parents died and he was raised in the royal household.
In 1505 when he was 25 years old Magellan sailed to the newly established colony of Portuguese India as part of a force sent to establish the Portuguese governor there.
In 1506 he sailed to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia (Spice Islands).
Although made a captain in 1510 he was soon demoted due to an incident where he sailed a ship eastward without getting permission. He sailed back to Portugal in 1512.
In 1513 Magellan fought in the Battle of Azemmour (Azamor) which resulted in the Portuguese conquest of the Moroccan city of Azemmour. Magellan received a severe knee wound during
Ferdinand Magellan, having fallen out of favor with the King of Portugal, went to sail for the King of Spain. The Spanish King, Charles V, wanted to find a westward route to
Asia that did not involve sailing around the southern tip of Africa; which was a route controlled by Portugal. Magellan presented a plan to the Spanish King for a westward voyage to
In August of 1519 five Spanish ships, the Victoria, Trinidad, San Antonio, Santiago, and the Concepcion, departed Seville Spain headed for the "New World" commanded by Ferdinand
In December of 1519 the fleet reached the New World and took on supplies near present-day Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The fleet scanned the South American coast looking for a strait that would enable them to pass through the continent and sail onward to Asia (the Spice Islands).
The Santiago, one of the five ships in the fleet, was sunk during a violent storm; most of the crew was rescued.
Two of the ships in Magellan's fleet had mutinies that were quelled.
Near the tip of South America, in modern day Chile, they found a strait that Magellan believed would provide passage through the continent. However only three of the remaining
four ships would attempt to pass through it as the captain of the San Antonio deserted and sailed back to Spain.
The three remaining ships made the dangerous 373 mile long voyage through the narrow turbulent passage. On November 28th of 1519 they reached the Pacific Ocean.
The fleet sailed across the Pacific Ocean and on March 16th of 1521 reached the island of Homonhon in the Philippines.
Ferdinand Magellan was killed at the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines on April 27th of 1521. A native tribe defeated the small Spanish force killing Magellan and several
members of his crew.
With the loss of so many sailors in the Philippines the remaining sailors burned one of the remaining ships, the Concepcion, and sailed on with the remaining two ships; the
Trinidad and Victoria. The two ships attempted to return to Spain via different directions; the Victoria sailed west and the Trinidad, after several weeks of repairs, sailed
The Trinidad would be captured by Portuguese ships and eventually sank in a storm with only four of the fifty five crew members ever making it back to Spain.
The only surviving ship of Magellan's fleet, the Victoria, now commanded by Juan Sebastian Elcano, arrived back in Spain on September 6th of 1522 almost three years to the day
after they had started their voyage; therefore completing the first circumnavigation of the earth.
Interesting Ferdinand Magellan Facts
Magellan was the first explorer to reach Asia by sailing westward from the European continent. This had been what Christopher Columbus was attempting and thought he had
accomplished in 1492.
The famous Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European to discover the Pacific Ocean; however Ferdinand Magellan was the first to sail across it.
Ferdinand Magellan gave the Pacific Ocean its name. After his fleet ran into severe storms off of South America and passed through the dangerous Strait of Magellan they entered
into a calm ocean which he named "Mar Pacifico," meaning "peaceful sea" in Portuguese.
The Magellanic penguin, which can be found in South American, is named after Magellan; he was the first European to document it.
The Magellan spacecraft launched by NASA in 1989 to map the surface of Venus was named after this famous explorer.
Two moon craters (Magelhaens and Magelhaens A) and one crater on Mars (Magelhaens) were named after Magellan.