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The Magellan Expedition
• Also known as “Magellan-delCano Circumnavigation”
• The first voyage around the world in human history. It
was a Spanish expedition that sailed from Seville in
1519 under the command of Ferdinand Magellan.
• A major breakthrough in perception of the Europeans
towards world geography
• Objective was to discover this alternate path to
Moluccas because of 1494’s Treaty of Tordesillas, a
decree from Pope Alexander VI that had essentially
divided the world in half between the Spanish and the
• Lasted for 3 years (1519-1522)
• Chronicled by Antonio Pigafetta
• Portuguese explorer who
sailed, under Spain, to reach
Moluccas without crossing
• Proposed route to Moluccas
by sailing west and through
an Atlantic passage to the
Pacific could be found.
• Discovered Philippines
(named it Archipelago of St.
• Introduced Christianity in
Preparation: The Fleet
September 20, 1519 - a royal commission was sent,
allowing Magellan to head the expedition.
The Spanish Armada de Molucca consisted of five
ships with 237 men:
• Santiago under Juan Rodriguez Serrano.
• San Antonio under Juan de Cartageña;
• Concepcion under Gaspar de Quesada;
• Trinidad (flagship) under Ferdinand Magellan
• Victoria under Louis de Mendoza;
• The crew of about 237 included men from several nations: including
Portuguese, Spanish, Italians, Germans, Flemish, Greeks, English and
• Spanish authorities were wary of Magellan, so that they almost prevented
him from sailing, switching his mostly Portuguese crew to mostly men of
Spain. Nevertheless, it included about 40 Portuguese, among them
Magellan's brother-in-law Duarte Barbosa, João Serrão, a relative of
Francisco Serrão, Estêvão Gomes and also Magellan's indentured servant
Enrique of Malacca.
• Juan Sebastián del Cano, a Spanish merchant ship captain settled at
Seville, embarked seeking the king's pardon for previous misdeeds
• Antonio Pigafetta, a Venetian scholar and traveller, had asked to be on the
voyage accepting the title of "supernumerary" and a modest salary,
becoming a strict assistant of Magellan and keeping an accurate journal.
• The only other sailor to report the voyage would be Francisco Albo, who
kept a formal logbook.
• Juan de Cartageña was named Inspector General of the expedition,
responsible for its financial and trading operations.
Strait of Magellan and Pacific Ocean
• After Santiago was shipwrecked, four ships began an
arduous trip through the 373-mile (600 km) long passage
that Magellan called the Estrecho (Canal) de Todos los
Santos, ("All Saints' Channel"), because the fleet travelled
through it on 1 November or All Saints' Day. The strait is
now named the Strait of Magellan. Magellan first assigned
Concepcion and San Antonio to explore the strait, but the
latter, commanded by Gómez, deserted and returned to
Spain on 20 November.
• On 20th of November the three remaining ships entered
the South Pacific. Magellan named the waters the Mar
Pacifico (Pacific Ocean) because of its apparent stillness.
Magellan and his crew were the first Europeans to reach
Tierra del Fuego just east of the Pacific side of the strait.
Arrival in the Philippines
• Arrival to Marianas and Guam
• March 17, 1521, sighted Samar, part of a group of islands
they called Archipelago of St. Lazarus
• reached the island of Homonhon in the Philippines, (their
first meeting with the Filipinos)
• March 31, 1521 - First catholic mass in Limasawa (Easter
• April 1, 1521 – Arrival in Cebu, cordial relations with Raja
Humabon (conversion of 800 natives with Humabon, his
wife and daughter to Christianity), establishment of
• April 27 – in a war with Lapu-lapu, chief of Mactan and
Humabon’s enemy, was fatally wounded with a poisoned
arrow thus causing his men to retreat.
• August 10: Departure from Seville.
• September 20: Departure from Sanlúcar de
• December 13: Entering the bay of Rio de
• December 27: Departure from Rio de Janeiro.
• January 10: Entering the Río de la Plata.
• February 27: Entering Bahia de los Patos.
• March 31: Begin of the overwintering stay at Puerto San Julián.
• April 1 and 2: Mutiny on Victoria, Concepcion and San Antonio; death of
Louis de Mendoza. Later execution of de Quesada, marooning of de
Cartagena. Alvaro de Mesquita becomes captain of San Antonio, Duarte
Barbosa of Victoria.
• End of April: Santiago is sent on a mission to find the passage. The ship is
caught in a storm and wrecked. Survivors return to Puerto San Julián.
Serrano becomes captain of the Concepcion.
• July: Encounters with the “Patagonian giants” (likely Tehuelche people).
• August 24: Departure from Puerto San Julián.
• October 11: Arriving at the Cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, entry to
what would be known as Strait of Magellan.
• End of October: San Antonio, charged to explore Magdalen Sound, fails to
return to the fleet, instead sails back to Spain under Estêvão Gomes who
imprisoned the captain de Mesquita. The ship arrives in Spain on May 21,
• November 28: The fleet leaves the strait and enters the Pacific Ocean.
• March 6: Guam.
• March 17: Arrival at Suluan in the Philippines.
• April 7: Cebu.
• April 27: Death of Magellan participating in the Battle of Mactan. Serrano
and Barbosa are voted co-commanders.
• May 1: At a local banquet Barbosa is murdered and Serrano captured,
later killed. The three remaining ships escape.
• May 2: There are not enough men to handle three ships, thus the worm-
infested Concepcion is burned down. Two ships remain: Victoria and
Trinidad. Gonzalo Gomez de Espinosa becomes captain of the Victoria.
Joao Lopez Carvalho is Captain General. The ships sail to Mindanao and
• September 21: Carvalho is replaced by Martin Mendez as Captain General,
Espinosa becomes captain of the Trinidad and Juan Sebastián del Cano
captain of the Victoria.
• November 8: Arriving at Tidore in the Moluccas.
• December 21: Victoria under the command of Elcano leaves the Moluccas
to return home sailing west towards the Cape of Good Hope. Trinidad
remains at Tidore for repairs.
• January 25: Victoria reaches Timor and starts to
cross the Indian Ocean.
• April 6: Trinidad under the command of Espinosa
leaves the Moluccas heading home sailing east.
After five weeks, Espinosa decides to return to
the Moluccas where he and his ship are captured
by a Portuguese fleet under Antonio de Brito.
• May 22: Victoria passes the Cape of Good Hope
and enters the Atlantic Ocean.
• July 9: Reaching Santiago, Cape Verde.
• September 6: Victoria returns to Sanlucar,
completing the circumnavigation.
• September 8: Victoria arrives at Seville.
Return and legacy
• The circumnavigation was completed by one
ship, the Victoria, under the command of Juan
Sebastián del Cano and a crew of 18 men.
• Antonio Pigafetta's journal is the main source
for much of what we know about Magellan
and del Cano's voyage. The other direct report
of the voyage was that of Francisco Albo, last
Victoria's pilot, who kept a formal logbook.
Significance of the Magellan Expedition
• The main significance of his voyage was that he showed it was
possible to sail around the world, and left a record of how to
• Magellan’s voyage vastly increased the geographical
knowledge of mankind and proved once and for all that the
earth is round.
• Considering the inadequacy of marine instruments at the
time, Magellan´s voyage can be considered as the greatest
single trip ever undertaken. In terms of the hardships the men
endured and the courage they displayed, Magellan’s maritime
exploit has perhaps never been surpassed. The route he took
to reach the Philippines was entirely new, and the Venetian
monopoly of the trade route to the east was thus broken.
Spain became the supreme power in the building of a colonial
• His discovery of the Philippines brought the
archipelago into the awareness of Europe.
• Finally, the voyage paved the way to Spanish
colonization and Christianization of the
Philippines. The later voyages of Fernando de
Villalobos and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, to a
certain extent, owed their success to Magellan’s
epochal voyage to the Far East.
• From the point of view of the Filipinos,
Magellan’s expedition was significant because it
paved the way for contacts between the
Philippines and western civilization
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