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Describe Magellan's voyage to circumnavigate the globe. What hardships did the fleet face?
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Attempting to circumnavigate the globe in the early 16th Century took not only vision, but a considerable amount of courage. After all, the ocean floors are littered with the remains of the ships of other brave men who tried and failed. When Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, set sail from Spain on September 20, 1519, his expeditionary fleet consisted of five ships crewed by 270 men. Almost exactly three years later, on September 6, 1522, one ship, the Vittoria, arrived back in Spain with the 18 crewmen who survived the journey. Magellan was not among the survivors.
In between those dates in 1519 and 1522, Magellan and his fleet sailed across the oceans, heading west from Spain with the intention of making it to the Spice Islands in present-day Indonesia. The first destination was the west coast of Africa, and then across the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil, where Magellan hoped to locate a passage to the Pacific. Upon arriving off the coast of Brazil, it became apparent, sailing south, that no such passage would be forthcoming. The approach of winter required the expedition to remain in South America, specifically, at Port St. Julian, where Magellan was confronted by mutinous captains of his vessels. He successfully defeated the mutiny, but at the expense of two of his captains, one killed the other banished ashore.
Setting sail again in the spring, continuing south, Magellan, after losing one of his five ships to a wreck and another to desertion, finally reached the southern-most point of South America and rounded what became known as the Strait of Magellan, reaching the Pacific Ocean. Following a stay in Guam, the remaining expedition continued on to the Philippine Islands, where Magellan unwisely became overly engaged in tribal politics while confronting armed resistance to his crew’s efforts at converting the locals to Christianity. The resulting battle cost Magellan his life. The two remaining ships, under the command of Juan Sebastian Del Cano, reached their destination, the Spice Islands. Upon departure, the other captain decided to attempt to return to Spain by retracing the expedition’s path. That ship was lost. Sebastian Del Cano, commanding the Vittoria, reached Spain in 1522.
Among the challenges faced by Magellan and his crew during their journey were, in addition to the rebellion from the captains, disease and hunger, with many of the crew dying from scurvy. At times, the food shortages were so serious that the men were reduced to eating rats and sawdust. As noted above, of the original 270, only 18 returned to Spain.
Posted by kipling2448 on March 7, 2014 at 7:35 PM (Answer #1)
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