Portuguese Navigators and the Discoveries: Ferdinand Magellan

498 years ago the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan started the trip that made him famous.

One of the biggest navigators in Portuguese History is Ferdinand Magellan, who earned his place in history as the first man to successfully complete a circumnavigate voyage – the ultimate proof that the earth was round.

Ferdinand Magellan lived most of is life in Portugal. He was raised as a servant of the Queen D. Leonor and later became part of the royal house. He participated in several trips of the Discoveries between Lisbon and India and fought on several military cãmpaigns in the Indian Ocean for the conquests of Sofala, Quiloa and in the attempt of Mallacas conquer.

In 1517, 37-year-old Ferdinand moves to Spain and the reasons behind this are still discussed among scholars, but one thing we know for sure, he left the country in search for economical compensations, likelier to be granted by the Spanish King. The crown of Spain had a lot to profit with Ferdinand Magellan’s knowledge, in particular from the area of Mallacas, where he had been once at the service of the Portuguese crown.

Ferdinand Magellan leaves Portugal: The true purpose of the trip

However, the voyage that became famous as the first complete voyage around the world, did not have this purpose at heart.

Ferdinand’s and King Carlos V of Spain’s objective was to reach the less known Maluku Islands, following a western route, taking an opposite route from the on the Portuguese followed to India. The Maluku were rumored to have many riches and were further to the east and therefore it was believed that they could be on Spanish waters, according to the Treaty of Tordesillas. This could entitle Spain to claim a new territory that would grant them a desirable stake in the spice market route, until that time dominated by the Portuguese.

It’s clear the importance of the Treaty of Tordesillas on the planning of this trip. The Spanish king, king Charles V authorized the expedition, but the navigator was not allowed to cross Portuguese waters on his way to India and therefore the only available route was to try to prove that there was a passage through the west and respect the Treaty of Tordesillas.

Retrato de óleo sobre tela do navegador Fernão de Magalhães

Painting of Ferdinand Magellan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primeira página do Tratado de Tordesilhas rubrica pelos reis e carimbada pela Biblioteca Nacional

Page of the Treaty of Tordesillas

 

Ferdinand Magellan leaves Spain in the hope to find the Muluku Islands.

On September 20th, 1519 Ferdinand and his crew departed from San Lúcar de Barrameda (near Seville) on an expedition with 5 ships “Victory”, “Santiago”, “Conceição” Conception??, “Saint Antony” and “Trindad”. With over 200 men he takes off to discover the route to the Maluku Islands and starts what was concluded as the first circumnavigation voyage of the earth.

Although Ferdinand passed away during the expedition his contribute to reshaping what we knew of the world then was recognized by all. The knowledge acquired on this trip had a major influence to the renascence period as it enlightened scholars about the shape and dimensions of the earth.

Rota de Fernão de Magalhães

Rote of Ferdinand Magellan

An unkwon navigator for Portuguese and Spanish History

Although Ferdinand passed away during the expedition his contribute to reshape what we knew of the world then was recognized by all. The knowledge acquired on this trip had a major influence to the renascence period as it enlightened scholars about the shape and dimensions of the earth.

Ferdinand Magellan is however a forgotten navigator by the Portuguese and the Spanish history alike… and the reasons are easy to understand. For Portugal Fernão de Magalhães was someone who fought and participated on several expeditions serving the Portuguese crown and sold that knowledge to the Spanish, considered by many as a traitor. For Spain he was a Portuguese that lived only a few years in Spain before embarking on this trip he did not return from and and expedition that was not as profitable as had been anticipated.

Ferdinand Magellan his place in history as the navigator who discovered a western route to India.

A Strait with is name

The Strait of Magellan is the passage with approximate 600 kilometers at the southern part of South American. This strait is the biggest natural passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean and Ferdinand Magellan was the first to navigate it.

Portugal prepares to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage

Do you know that Portugal created a committee to plan the celebrations for the 500 anniversary of this famous voyage, the committee goes by the name of “Misson of the commemorations of the 500 years of the first circumnavigation voyage of Ferdinand Magellan” headed by the current mayor of the village where Fernão de Magalhães was born, Sabrosa, in the North of Portugal. One of the main partners of this committee is in fact NASA.

Visit Lisbon and find Ferdinand Magellan

Visit Lisbon and find Ferdinand Magellan

Today one of the few places you can find Ferdinand Magellan’s in Lisbon is at the Monument to the Discoveries, among all the heroes from the Age of Discovery. Visit this monument and find out where Ferdinand Magellan is.

Ferdinand Magellan in Lisbon – Lisbon Statues

A prove of the lack of interest from the Portuguese in this navigator is the fact that only a small square in the city bears his statue – the Praça do Chile or Chile Square.

Navegadores da História de Portugal: Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Monument of the Discoveries

Conheça Lisboa a bordo da Caravel on Wheels!

Visit Lisbon a board Caravel in Wheels! Find out many other great Portuguese Navigators. Men who changed the history of Portugal and the world on the Age of the Discoveries.

The best historical tour in Lisbon, we will take show Lisbon best monuments this time and introduce you to many personalities of one of the biggest achievements of Portuguese History – The maritime Discoveries.

Are you planning a trip to Lisbon, Portugal and you love history?

Learn more about our Caravel on Wheels Lisbon city tour, a unique bus tour guided by video where you will learn more about Ferdinand Magellan and many more Portuguese heroes while sightseeing in Lisbon. Book our Best of Lisbon city tour on the caravel touristic bus for sightseeing in Lisbon.

Special private tours for groups and special programmes for Educational tours for students and School trips in Lisbon.

And when in Lisbon… learn history while sightseeing with our Caravel on Wheels historical tour!

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