Friday, September 6, 2013

Today in History...Magellan's Expedition Ends Its Journey

On September 6, 1522, the Vittoria, the sole surviving ship belonging to Magellan's expedition arrives back in Spain being the first to circumnavigate the world.  Sadly, the ship returned home without its leading explorer. 

The expedition began on September 20, 1519 with 5 ships and about 270 men.  They began their journey traveling to the west side of African then heading off for Brazil.  Following the coastline south they finally found what they were searching for, a straight to the ocean on the other side.  After passing through the straight, now known as the Straight of Magellan, they arrived at the Pacific Ocean.  Sailing the wide expanse of ocean for a little over 3 months they landed in Guam with no food left. 

Traveling though the islands in the Philippines they stopped on the island of Cebu and after staying several days Magellan persuaded the chief and his people to convert to Christianity.  The chief asked Magellan to help him defeat a rival, Chief Lapu-Lapu.  Magellan was killed during the fight. 

At this point two ships remained and they sailed for Moluccas to complete their trading.  One ship attempted to return home over the Pacific the way they had come but did not make it.  The other continued circling the globe heading east and finally, with only 18 survivors, arrived home in Spain 491 years ago today.
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