Ferdinand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan was an important navigator of Portuguese origin who was one of the greatest explorers of his time, in fact, was the first European who managed to cross the Pacific Ocean, also played a crucial role in the first circumnavigation of the world. He was a Portuguese nobleman and navigator, who always looked for the support of his king, Manuel I, on three different occasions to carry out an expedition in search of a new water route to Spice Islands. He had acquired experience and demonstrated loyalty, having served the king in a crucial role in an eight-year expedition that attempted to create a permanent Portuguese presence in India and conquer Malacca, followed by military.

Ferdinand Magellan

Personal information

  • Born: 03/02/1480
  • Birthplace: Sabrosa, Portugal
  • When he died: 27 /04/1521
  • Where did he die: Mactan Island, Philippines

Who was Ferdinand Magellan?

Ferdinand Magellan was an important soldier, explorer, sailor and navigator of Portuguese origin, of noble lineage, discoverer of the Strait of Magellan, who tried to make different expeditions to find new lands.

Biography of Ferdinand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan was born in 1480 and was the son of a noble Portuguese family. His parents died when he was still a child and he became a page of the court in Lisbon. In 1505, he joined the Portuguese viceroy’s fleet to the Indies, and spent the following years participating in a series of Portuguese expeditions in India and Africa. In 1511, he joined the fleet that conquered Malacca, located on the Malay Peninsula, gaining control of the most important trade routes in the region.

He also explored the islands of modern Indonesia, as far east as the Moluccas which were also known as the Spice Islands. Magellan was the son of Rui de Magalhães and Alda de Mesquita, members of the Portuguese nobility. When he was still a child, he became a page of Queen Leonor, wife of John II in Lisbon. At the beginning of 1505 he joined the fleet of Francisco de Almeida. In 1507, Ferdinand Magellan returned to India.

He participated in the great Battle of Diu, in which the Portuguese defeated a Muslim fleet and thus obtained supremacy over most of the Indian Ocean. Magellan is mentioned as an envoy to warn the commander of Portuguese ships in Malacca waters of the impending Malay attack.

In mid-1513, Magellan managed to return to Lisbon, where he soon joined the forces sent against the Moroccan fortress of Azamor. In August, he suffered a leg injury that forced him to limp for the rest of his life. Returning to Lisbon in November 1514, he asked King Emmanuel for a symbolic increase in his pension as a reward. Later Magellan was accused of having sold part of the spoils of war to the enemies. Rejecting Magellan’s request for a reward, Manuel ordered him to return to Morocco. In early 1516, Magellan renewed his request; the king, once again refusing, told him that he could offer his services elsewhere.

What Ferdinand Magellan did?

Ferdinand Magellan was an important sailor who worked for the king of Spain. He succeeded in discovering and naming the Strait of Magellan. He was the first European who managed at that time to go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, as he also called it, as it used to be known as the southern sea. He was the first person who sought to find a route to the spice islands in Indonesia and was the first man who managed to circumvent the world, a journey through which it was possible to prove that the land was round. He was the first European to reach Argentinian Patagonia.

Journeys of Ferdinand Magellan

In March 1505, he enlisted in the Portuguese Indian navy. This fleet was sent to install Francisco de Almeida as viceroy of India. In 1509, he left with Diogo López de Sequeira for the first embassy in Malaca, but they were badly treated with harassment and attacks that made him leave the place. He obtained important information about the places that produced species and studied the possibility of reaching that place on the island of species. Through the influence of the bishop of Burgos, he was given approval to make the first circumnavigation trip around the land. He left on September 20, 1519 in an expedition, in which he would later discover Magallanes.


The expedition of Magellan and Elcano was an expedition that was made by sea and was in charge of Magellan. It left Seville on August 10, 1519, leaving the Las Mulas dock. This route was made to reach the islands of spices sailing west. The trip was complicated because there were no navigation charts.


Ferdinand Magellan’s death occurred during the battle of Mactán. This battle took place on April 27, 1521, on the island of the Philippines called Mactan. Magellan displaced several of his men armed with crossbows and pistols, this because they could not disembark. There were more than 1500 Lapu-Lapu warriors, who were armed with arrows and spears. The soldiers were attacked as soon as they reached shore. During the battle, Magellan was wounded in one leg with a poisonous spear and in the arm with a bamboo spear. He managed to get his men to flee in the boats, but he was stabbed to death with spears.

Contributions of Ferdinand Magellan

His main contributions were as follows:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Ferdinand Magellan. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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