Portuguese Science and Experience 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
Magellan Fernando.LIFE Photo Collection
For Magalhães to be able to achieve his great journey, between 1519 and 1521, it was decisive the circumstance that, in 1518, it was known in Spain that he had extensive experience of navigation in Asia.
His reputation was established in the first account of circumnavigation in 1522, where Maximilian Transilvano describes him as "the Portuguese Fernão de Magalhães, a noble man, and who was, for many years, captain of Portuguese ships and had travelled the coasts of all the Orient".
Also the Spanish chronicler Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, who has known Magalhães, said: "Magalhães, skilled in things of the sea, and at first sight had much knowledge of East India, and the Moluccas and the Spices."
Magellan Before The Big Voyage by Mission Structure of the 5th Centennial of the First Voyage of Circum-NavigationThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
1505-1512: Halfway around the world
In 1505, Magalhães left Portugal on a series of journeys in the Orient, which took him to the Moluccas in 1512, in present-day Indonesia. Thus, he travelled not only across Asia, but halfway around the world.
D. Francisco de Almeida (1561/1563) by AnonymousThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
D. Francisco de Almeida
To understand Magalhães' story, we must integrate it into what happened in 1505 when King Manuel appointed Francisco de Almeida as his first viceroy of the State of India, that is, Portugal's imperial dominions in the Orient.
Portuguese Indian Armada (c. 1567) by AnonymousOriginal Source: Wikimedia
Armada of 1505
In March 1505, Magalhães joined the crew of the powerful armada commanded by D. Francisco de Almeida, which on that date left Lisbon and set sail for India. The armada was composed of about twenty-one ships, and one thousand five hundred men.
Cochin (1610) by Manuel Godinho de ErediaThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
1505: Arrival at Cochin, India
Magalhães' first great voyage ended on 1 November 1505 with his arrival in Cochin, after having travelled the route of India. This route had been followed annually by the Portuguese since Vasco da Gama's voyage (1497-1499).
Current view of Cochin in India.
India and the Middle East (1596) by Jan Huyghen Van LinschotenKalakriti Archives
Living in the East
Magalhães lived intensely in the East some of the main actions that allowed the affirmation of the State of India, such as the naval battle of Diu (1509), the first trip to Malacca (1509), the conquests of Goa (1510) and Malacca (1511).
Mozambique Island (1538)The Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
Living in the East
Magalhães travelled through the western Indian Ocean with Nuno Vaz Pereira, from Cochin. In 1506, he arrived at Melinde, in Kenya, then passed through Quíloa, in present-day Tanzania and Sofala, in Mozambique. In 1507, he left Sofala and returned to Cochin.
Painting of Diu (1541) by D. João de CastroOriginal Source: Arquipélagos
The routes of Magalhães in India were made between Cochin and Diu, having been in front of this city, in February 1509, when he participated in the important victorious naval battle against the Muslims.
Diogo Lopes de Sequeira (c. 1561-1563) by AnonymousThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
1509: Departure for Malacca
Magalhães was in Cochin when he embarked in August 1509, in the armada of Diogo Lopes de Sequeira that had the purpose of discovering Malacca, a city rich in the spice trade, where he arrived in September, after having passed by Pedir and Pacem, on the island of Samatra.
Malaca (c. 1546) by Gaspar CorreiaThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
Magalhães had an important role in this first trip of the Portuguese to Malacca, from where he left perhaps in early December 1509.
Portrait of Afonso de Albuquerque (1547) by Gaspar CorreiaThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
1510: Afonso de Albuquerque and Goa
From Cochin, he left to Goa, where he participated in its conquest, which took place on November 25, 1510, under the direction of Afonso de Albuquerque, second governor of the State of India.
Painting of Goa (c. 1538-1539) by D. João de CastroThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
1511: Departure from Goa
On April 1511, Afonso de Albuquerque left Goa in an armada destined to conquer Malacca.
Malaca (1568) by AnonymousThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
1511: Arrival in Malacca
Magalhães embarked on this armada and crossed the eastern Indian Ocean for the second time.
In July 1511, Magalhães reached Malacca and participated in its conquest, which was completed in August 1511.
Indian Ocean (1519) by Lopo HomemThe Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
Geographical knowledge of the Indian Ocean
With the arrival in Malacca, the Portuguese came to know most of the land around the Indian Ocean, as was well expressed in one of the beautiful letters of the so-called "Atlas Miller" of 1519.
Route of Antonio de Abreu's armada (1512)The Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
1512: Arrival in the Moluccas
During this period of Portuguese expansion in the East, the most important and innovative expedition in which Magalhães participated, was the one in which the Portuguese reached the Moluccas.
The first half of the world tour
Magalhães' voyage to the Moluccas is particularly important and significant because it represented the culmination of his Asian experience and allowed him to complete the first part of his circumnavigation of the Earth done indirectly.
The Magellan Legacy by James B. Garvin, Ph.D.The Portuguese Task Force for the Commemorations of the V Centenary of Circumnavigation
Ten years after his first trip to Malacca, his boldness earned him the opportunity to set off again for the Moluccas, this time by West, on his great and last voyage.
Magalhães revealed a bold demeanor since he claimed to be a committed and interested explorer of new routes.
In 1518, the great credibility and acceptance of Magalhães with Charles V and his advisers, is justified by the fact that they knew that in 1512 he had already gone east to the region where he wanted to return by west, being the only one outside Portugal that could do so.
Magalhães' deep knowledge of the routes of the Orient transformed the geographical knowledge at the time, reflected in the Portuguese cartographic science.
The Cantino planisphere, 1502
When Magalhães went to India, the Portuguese already had a very broad view of the world as can be seen in the so-called Cantino Planisphere, from 1502.
Jorge and Pedro Reinel Planisphere, 1519
The great geographical knowledge of Magalhães and the assignment of a location of the Moluccas, are revealed in the planisphere that, in 1519, commissioned the Portuguese cartographers Jorge Reinel and Pedro Reinel.
To learn more about the evolution of maps after circumnavigation, explore this exhibition.
Curatorship and scientific supervision of:José Manuel Garcia
Technical support: Mito+Rito