Travel Arrangements

With the support of Charles V, Magalhães got five ships and 237 crew members to begin the greatest feat in human history.

Arrangements for the Circumnavigation by Mission Structure of the V 5th Centennial of the First Voyage of Circum-NavigationThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation

Painting of Goa (c. 1538-1539) by D. João de CastroThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation

Magalhães's experience

In 1505, Magalhães went from Lisbon to India, having remained in the East and participated in several expeditions until 1513, when he returned to Portugal with great experience of navigation. 

Arrival of the Antaviana at Tidore and Ternate (Moluccas) (1991) by José M. NuñezThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation

First half of the world tour

In the meantime, he was one of the Portuguese who reached the Moluccas in 1512, a region he later wanted to return to from the west, through a project prepared in Lisbon between 1516 and 1517 that would allow him to complete a round-the-world trip. 

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Portrait Charles V (1516) by Bernard van OrleyOriginal Source: Wikimedia

The proposal to Charles V

Magalhães came into conflict with King Manuel and therefore went to Seville in 1517 with the intention of proposing to Charles V the completion of a voyage to the Moluccas by a western route and not eastern, as that followed by the Portuguese. 

Spices, their nature and growth, the vanilla bean, a talk on tea (1915) by McCormick and companyOriginal Source: Internet Archive

Thus, the navigator aimed to provide him with riches as the spices of these islands, by claiming that they belonged to him, according to what was stipulated in the Treaty of Tordesillas that in 1494 divided the world between Portugal and Spain. 

Miller Atlas - Portulan World Map (1519) by Lopo HomemThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation

The cartography of the time

Most of Magalhães' journey was to be made in the unknown, without any acceptable cartography. There were charts with magnetic bearings for crossing the seas, but they mainly concerned the Mediterranean.

Talks: Navigation Instruments by Mission Structure of the V the 5th Centennial of the First Voyage of Circum-NavigationThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation

The Navigational Instruments

In the logs of the circumnavigation, 21 wooden quadrants, 6 metal astrolabes, 1 wooden astrolabe, 35 compasses and 18 hourglasses are mentioned. Commander Carlos Valentim presents the instruments and techniques used that contributed to the success of the expedition.

Portuguese Indian Armada (c. 1567) by AnonymousOriginal Source: Wikimedia

The Crew

Charles V supported the realization of his project and gave him the direction of a "spice armada" with five ships and 237 crew members of more than ten nationalities.

Antonio Pigafetta

Among the crew, was the Italian chronicler Antonio Pigafetta, known as Lombardo. Pigafetta took part in the most glorious nautical feat of all time and his diary is the best documentary evidence for understanding Magalhães' great project. 

Talks: Pigafetta by Mission Structure of the V the 5th Centennial of the First Voyage of Circum-NavigationThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation

Pigafetta's account

Based on the literary heritage of this Italian nobleman, Professor Ana Paula Laborinho reflects on the importance of Pigafetta's account.  

The fame of a so generous captain, must not be forgotten in our times. Among his virtues, there was a great fortune, greater than anyone in the world; he endured hunger more than all others, and made maps and sailed more accurately than others in the world and that this was true, is clearly seen (...). 


Antonio Pigafetta, 1524

To know other eulogies made about Magalhães, in the words of Pigafetta and other personalities, visit this exhibition.

Credits: Story

Curatorship and scientific supervision of: José Manuel Núñez de La Fuente e José Manuel GarciaTechnical support: Mito + Rito

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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