Embassy of Portugal marks 500th anniversary of the circumnavigation of Fernão Magalhães

Embassy of Portugal marks 500th anniversary of the circumnavigation of Fernão Magalhães

Fernão Magalhães. Especial's image

DILI, 09 february 2022 (TATOLI) – The Portuguese embassy in East Timor held a conference to mark the 500th anniversary of the departure of the fleet led by the Portuguese navigator Fernão de Magalhães, who is the first European to travel the world by ship.

The colloquium took place at the Center of the Portuguese Embassy in Dili, under the theme “East Timor in the Magellanic Expedition: Past and future perspectives”.

Ambassador of Portugal José Pedro Machado Viera underlined that Fernão de Magalhães’s journey constitutes a reference in the globalization process, bringing peoples, cultures and knowledge closer together.

“The objective of the event is to share knowledge, especially exchanges of ideas for the future of cooperation between Portuguese and Timorese,’’ Viera told Tatoli at the Embassy of Portugal, Dili.

The Conference was attended by academics and experts in the area of defense, diplomacy, education, public policies, and the sea and natural resources.

However, Fernão de Magalhães (4 february 1480 – 27 april 1521) was a Portuguese explorer and a subject of the Hispanic Monarchy from 1518. He is best known for having planned and led the 1519 Spanish expedition to the East Indies across the Pacific Ocean to open a maritime trade route, during which he discovered the interoceanic passage bearing thereafter his name and achieved the first European navigation from the Atlantic to Asia. While on this voyage, Magellan was killed in the Battle of Mactan in 1521 in the present-day Philippines, but some of the expedition’s surviving members, in one of the two remaining ships, subsequently completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth when they returned to Spain in 1522.

Born 4 february 1480 into a family of minor Portuguese nobility, Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer in service of the Portuguese Crown in Asia. King Manuel I of Portugal refused to support Magellan’s plan to reach the Maluku Islands (the “Spice Islands”) by sailing westwards around the American continent. Facing some criminal offences, Magellan left Portugal and proposed the same expedition to King Charles I of Spain, who accepted it. Consequently, many in Portugal considered him a traitor and he never returned. He adopted the name of Fernando de Magallanes and settled in Seville. There, he married, fathered two children, and organized the expedition. For his allegiance to the Hispanic Monarchy, in 1518, Magellan was appointed admiral of the Spanish Fleet and given command of the expedition – the five-ship Armada of Molucca. He was also made Commander of the Order of Santiago, one of the highest military ranks of the Spanish Empire.

Granted special powers and privileges by the King, he led the Armada from Sanlucar de Barrameda, southwest across the Atlantic Ocean, to the eastern coast of South America, and down to Patagonia. Despite a series of storms and mutinies, the expedition successfully passed through the Strait of Magellan into the Mar del Sur, which Magellan renamed the “Peaceful Sea” (the modern Pacific Ocean).[11] The expedition reached Guam and, shortly after, the Philippine islands. There Magellan was killed in the Battle of Mactan in april 1521. Under the command of captain Juan Sebastian Elcano, the expedition later reached the Spice Islands. To navigate back to Spain and avoid seizure by the Portuguese, the expedition’s two remaining ships split, one attempting, unsuccessfully, to reach New Spain by sailing eastwards across the Pacific, while the other, commanded by Elcano, sailed westwards via the Indian Ocean and up the Atlantic coast of Africa, finally arriving at the expedition’s port of departure and thereby completing the first complete circuit of the globe.

While in the Kingdom of Portugal‘s service, Magellan had already reached the Malay Archipelago in Southeast Asia on previous voyages traveling east (from 1505 to 1511–1512). By visiting this area again but now traveling west, Magellan achieved a nearly complete personal circumnavigation of the globe for the first time in history

Journalist: Camilio de Sousa

Editor: Rafy Belo


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