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Ferdinand Magellan: World Explorer

Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) was a Portuguese explorer who led the first expedition that sailed around the Earth (1519-1522). Magellan also named the Pacific Ocean (the name means that it is a calm, peaceful ocean).

Magellan was born in Northern Portugal (either in Sabrosa or in Oporto). His parents, Pedro Ruy de Magalhaes and Alda de Mezquita, were members of the nobility (they were wealthy and powerful).

Early in his career, Magellan sailed to India and to the Far East many times via Africa's Cape of Good Hope. He sailed for his native Portugal, but a dispute with the Portuguese King Manoel II turned him against the Portuguese. Thereafter, he sailed for Spain.

Magellan and his friend the astronomer Ruy de Falero proposed to King Charles V (of Spain) that a westward voyage around the tip of South America would take them to the Moluccas (spice-rich islands) and avoid the Portuguese (with whom they were competing fiercely). The voyage began September 8, 1519, and lasted until September 6, 1522 (almost 3 years). Magellan sailed from Seville, Spain, with five ships, the Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepcion, Victoria, and Santiago. Three years later, only one ship (the Victoria) made it back to Seville, carrying only 18 of the original 270 crew members. Magellan was killed towards the end of the voyage, on the Island of Mactan in the Philippines, during a battle with the natives. The Basque navigator Juan Sebastián de Elcano (del Cano) completed the trip.

Go to a Magellan printout
Global Treasure Hunt

Global Treasure Hunt - Magellan

This activity requires a globe or detailed world map (one showing country names, latitude and longitude). Then follow the directions to follow Magellan's route around the globe. When you are done, unscramble the circled letters to find the hidden treasure word. Or go to the answers. Or go to a pdf of the questions and answers.


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Guidelines for Writing a Report on an Explorer


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