Ferdinand de Magellan was born about 1470 of noble parents, and probably spent his
boyhood as a page for the Queen of Portugal. As a young man, he was in the East India service
in Morocco. After a slight from King Manuel, he enlisted under the Spanish king, and set forth
his project for a trip around the Americas to the Spice Islands but his expedition became
first to sail round-the-world.
The expedition of five ships and a crew of 260 set sail from Seville, Spain on
September 20, 1519. It's ships and their crews were made up of men from many places in the
world. One crewman was from their destination, the Spice Islands (the Malaccas). It is
theorized that he was purchased as a slave from an earlier expedition for his language
skills. He was Malaccas Henry.
The expedition steered southwest to the Island of Tenerife arriving there on
September 29th. They then passed the Cape Verde Islands crossing the Atlantic Ocean making
land contact in Brazil arriving at Rio de Janeiro on December 13th. They proceeded south
following the Atlantic coastline of South America and began their winter stay at Port Saint
Julian on March 30, 1520. Three of the ships attempted mutiny claiming that Magellan was
taking them all to destruction. The remaining ships were refitted and on August 24th, four
ships continued their journey. The proceeded through the tip of South America via the now
named, Straits of Magellan and began their journey across the Pacific on November 26, 1520.
Arriving in the Philippines Islands on March 6, 1521, they explored various islands. On
Cebu, Magellan had a disagreement with the local people which lead to conflict and his death
on April 28, 1521. He never made it round-the-world but had reached the eastern edge of the
then known world.
Three ships and a crew of 108 re-provisioned for continuing their voyage to return
back to Spain. Moluccas Henry was still one of the crew. On July 21, 1521 they set sail for
Borneo. They continued island hopping, re-provisioning and repairing their ships arriving at
Timor on April 6, 1522. They continued toward Indonesia arriving at the Spice Islands
(the Malaccas). Malaccas Henry was home again. Without any fanfare, he had unknowingly become
the first man on this earth to travel round-the-world.
Only 18 of the original 260 men, in one of the original five ships, finally made it
back to Spain arriving there on September 8, 1522. The journey made by latitude sail and
dead reckoning was quite underestimated turning out to be long and arduous, punctuated by
starvation, disease, mutiny and desertion. This first round-the-world circumnavigation took
1,083 days to complete. It reassured many that the earth was truly round.