Ferdinand Magellan

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Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, pronounced [fɨɾˈnɐ̃w̃ ðɨ mɐɡɐˈʎɐ̃ȷ̃s]; Spanish: Fernando de Magallanes, pronounced [feɾˈnando ðe maɣaˈʎanes]; c. 1480 – April 27, 1521) was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, but later obtained Spanish nationality in order to serve King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" (modern Maluku Islands in Indonesia).

Magellan's expedition of 1519–1522 became the first expedition to sail from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean (then named "peaceful sea" by Magellan; the passage being made via the Strait of Magellan), and the first to cross the Pacific. It also completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth, although Magellan himself did not complete the entire voyage, being killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines. (Magellan had, however, traveled eastwards to the Malay Peninsula on an earlier voyage, so he became one of the first explorers to cross all of the meridians of the globe.) Of the 237 men who set out on five ships, only 18 completed the circumnavigation and managed to return to Spain in 1522,[1][2] led by the Basque Spaniard navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, who took over command of the expedition after Magellan's death. Seventeen other men arrived later in Spain: twelve men captured by the Portuguese in Cape Verde some weeks earlier and between 1525 and 1527, and five survivors of the Trinidad.

Magellan also gives his name to the Magellanic Penguin, which he was the first European to note,[3] and the Magellanic clouds, now known to be nearby dwarf galaxies.


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