First Voyage Around the Globe


The idea behind Magellán's expedition was, like Columbus', to find a shorter way from Europe to the (East-)Indies. The detour around the South-African Storm Cape opened by Vasco da Gama was long and dangerous. Also, after the Treaty of Tordesillas where the pope had divided the world between Portugal and Spain, the Spanish hope was that the Portuguese monopoly on the spice trade could be broken.
Magellán, basing his theories on letters by Francisco Serrão, mistakenly placed the Spice Islands far to the East of their actual position, within the Spanish hemisphere. Then, just like Columbus, he thought that the world was much smaller than it was, which resulted in an estimated voyage of only half the actual length.

The "Strait" through the South-American continent he was looking for may only have existed in somebody's imagination (at least until he found it), but there was at least one Portuguese map depicting it. Historian Bartolomé de las Casas was among the many who were skeptical about its existence.

Strait of Magellan
NASA photo

adjusted to Gregorian calendar

1492 Columbus' first Voyage
1494    Treaty of Tordesillas
The newly discovered lands outside Europe are divided between the Spanish and the Portuguese
along a meridian 370 leagues west of Cabo Verde islands
1499 Vasco da Gama returns from India to Portugal, rounding Africa
First voyage to the Americas of Alonso de Ojeda (with Amerigo Vespucci)
Spaniard Vicente Yáñez Pizón first to see coast of Brasil and explore Amazon mouth
1517 20 October Magellán arrives in Sevilla, Spain from Portugal
1519 10 August
20 September
26 September
3 October
29 November
13 December
20 December
27 December
31 December
The "Moluccan Armada" (Magellán's Victoria and four more ships) departs from Sevilla
sets sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Arrival at Tenerife, Canary Islands
Departure from Monterose, Tenerife
Sodomy trial - Mutinous Captain Cartagena replaced by Antonio de Coca
Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Brasil
Bahia Santa Lúcia, Rio de Janeiro
Execution of Antonio Salamón for sodomy
Departure from Rio de Janeiro
Bahia Paranaguá
1520 8 January
10 January

3 February
5 February
13 February
23 February
24 February
27 February
31 March
1 April

3 April

3 May

11 August
24 August
26 August
18 October
21 October
shoals encountered
Cabo Santa Maria (Rio de la Plata, Montevideo)
storms force fleet to turn back
Rio de la Plata explored, but is not entrance to Strait
Fleet turns southward
rounds Cabo Corrientes
pass 40 degrees south - heavy storm
returns northward
Golfo San Matías
Bahía Blanca
Bahía de los Patos [ducks - really penguins]; later renamed Bay of Toil
Porto San Julián - stay there for winter
Easter Sunday - Mutiny starts.
Concepción captain Quesada, Cartagena and Elcano board and conquer San Antonio. Victoria and Concepción join mutiny; Santiago remains neutral.
Magellán breaks mutiny and cruelly tortures and executes the leaders.
Forty other men (Elcano among them) are sentenced to death, but get off with hard labor.
Serrano in Santiago discovers Santa Cruz river, runs into storm and is shipwrecked.
2 castaways manage to reach San Julian over land. All are rescued.
Juan de Cartagena and priest Pero Sanchez de la Rema are marooned in San Julian.
The fleet, now four ships, continues the voyage south.
Forced by a storm to enter Santa Cruz; stay there for 6 weeks.
Fleet departs after restocking with wood, salted fish.
Fleet enters the Strait.

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