A simple history/ Epic History TV collaboration In the late 1400s, a great new age of European exploration began, led by Portuguese, Spanish and Italian sailors. They made great voyages into the unknown, full of danger, adventure and discovery. These pioneers were driven by Christian zeal and profit. In Europe, spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg which grew only in the Far East were worth their weight in gold. Whoever controlled their trade was guaranteed immense wealth. By 1518, the route to the, so called, Spice Islands was dominated by Portugal. Spain wanted a route of its own. Enter 38 year old Portuguese sailor; Fernando de Magallanes. Ferdinand Magellan, as he’s known in English, was a brilliant navigator who’d spent many years sailing the Indian Ocean. But he’d fallen out with the King of Portugal and now offered a bold plan to his rival, King Charles I of Spain. Magellan believed it was possible to sail around The New World and reach the Spice Islands from the east. Since contrary to popular myth, it had been widely accepted for centuries that the Earth was round. King Charles accepted Magellan’s proposal and helped him assemble an expedition with 270 crew and five ships known as carracks. The fleet set sail on the 20th September 1519 and crossed a stormy Atlantic to reach the future site of Rio de Janeiro in modern Brazil. Here, the men traded with local tribes, exchanging simple objects like metal fish hooks and playing cards for fresh food and water. Magellan continued south until winter storms forced him to camp it Puerto San Julian (Argentina). There Magellan faced a mutiny led by Spanish officers convinced he was leading them to their doom. Magellan acted swiftly and ruthlessly, he sent loyal men to kill one of the ringleaders while another was captured and executed. Two others were marooned left behind when the fleet sailed south again in August. As Magellan searched for a passage west, one ship, the Santiago was wrecked though the crew were saved. Another ship, the San Antonio, deserted and sailed home. But Magellan did discover a 350 mile strait which now bears his name. Through to the far ocean, a sea that seemed so calm he named it; Mara Pacifico, the peaceful sea, or Pacific Ocean. But the Pacific Ocean was far bigger than they’d estimated. Their supplies ran out, the men forced to eat rats and drink putrid water. Nineteen died of scurvy. Then, after 99 days at sea, the lookouts spied land. They found Guam in the Mariana Islands, but when the islanders stole one of their boats, fighting broke out and Magellan had to leave without fresh provisions. A week later, Magellan and his men became the first Europeans to reach The Philippines, where they were able to feast on bananas and coconuts. With Magellan’s Malays slave acting as translator, they sailed on through The Philippines, to Cebu. Where they made an alliance with a local ruler who agreed to be baptised a Christian and swore allegiance to the King of Spain. A local chief from the island of Mactan then asked Magellan for help in defeating his rival named Datu Lapu-lapu, and Magellan agreed. He crossed to Mactan with 60 men in boats. But though the Europeans had superior weapons and armour, they were massively outnumbered. After burning the enemy village, Magellan’s men were driven back into the shallow water where Magellan himself was cut down as they tried to reach the boats. Now their former allies on Cebu turned on Magellan’s crew, butchering 30 of them in an ambush. The survivors fled. With only enough men left to crew two ships, they burned the Concepción and continued their search for the Spice Islands. They travelled to the Muslim Court of Brunei on Borneo and were amazed by its splendor. Finally, with the help of local guides and more than two years after sailing from Spain, they reached their destination, the spice or Maluku Islands. Today, part of Indonesia. They traded everything they had for all the cloves their two ships could carry. But as they prepared for the long voyage home, the Trinidad sprang a leak and had to stay behind for repairs. Its crew later tried to return to Spain across the Pacific, but most of the men became sick or died. The survivors had to return to the Maluku islands where they and the Trinidad were captured by the Portuguese. The Victoria, the last and smallest ship of Magellan’s fleet sailed west for home, captained by Juan Sebastian Elcano. Crossing the Indian Ocean, it took 9 weeks of battling headwinds before they could round the Cape of Good Hope. The men began to starve once more. Twenty-one died before they found fresh provisions at Cape Verde. On the 8th of September 1522, almost exactly 3 years after their departure, the famished, exhausted crew of the Victoria cast anchor at Seville, Spain. Just 18 of the original crew of 270 had made it home. But what they and Magellan’s expedition had achieved was astonishing. The first voyage of circumnavigation, around the World. Mankind, at last, at final conclusive proof that their planet was sphere and a greater idea than ever before of its vast size. It was an incredible feat, not repeated for 58 years when an Englishman named Francis Drake made his own remarkable voyage around the Earth. This video was made with our friends at Epic History TV. Watch the other half of this exploration double-bill with the story of Francis Drake here. And if you don’t already, why not subscribe to both channels and click the bell to get notified of every new video.