1480 - 1521

Great explorer


Ferdinand Magellan was one of the greatest explorers of the Renaissance Period.


Magellan was born in 1480. In his native tongue his name was Fernanao de Magalhaes. In his younger years he became a page in the Portuguese court. He became a soldier when he was 25 and served in India.

In 1512 he went to offer his services to the king of Spain. Inspired by rumors of another ocean on the other side of the new world that Christopher Columbus had discovered, he wanted to prove that the Spice Islands were on the Spanish side of the line of demarcation between Spain and Portugal. In 1518, King Charles I of Spain approved the plan and after a year of preparation the expedition left Seville on September 20, 1519.

Food and water gave out and the crew had to eat rats, ox hides, and sawdust before reaching Guam.

In 1521, Magellan was killed in a fight between local natives while on the Spice Islands.


At a young age of 17 Magellan sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and he sailed for the king of Spain.

He got five ships and left Seville on September 20, 1519. He sailed around the tip of South America. He found the westward passage and it was named the Strait of Magellan in his name. He also found the new ocean and named it the Pacific in honour of its calm and peaceful waters, and crossed it East to West.

He landed in Guam and then in the Phillipines where he was killed.

His crew moved on to the Spice Islands and later made it back by sailing around the tip of South Africa with only 10 men left. Even though he didn't live to the end of the trip Magellan is still considered the leader of the first circumnavigation around the world.


Magellan's impact was providing the first positive proof that the world was round, and that opened up trade routes to explorers all over the world.

Magellan's route


1.] "Magellan." 1997.

2. "Magellan." World Book Encyclopedia, 1991, vol. 13, pp. 46-47.

3. Solnick, Bruce B. "Ferdinand Magellan: The First World Tour." Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1995.

This homepage was prepared by Alex, Grade 8, Riverdale Junior Secondary School.