By: Nicholas Smith
Who he Sailed For?
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Spain
In search of fame and fortune, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) set out from Spain in 1519 with a fleet of five ships to discover a western sea route to the Spice Islands. In route he discovered what is now known as the Strait of Magellan and became the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean. The voyage was long and dangerous, and only one ship returned home three years later. Although valuable spices from the East, only 18 of the fleet’s original crew of 270 returned with the ship. Magellan himself was killed in battle on the voyage, but his ambitious expedition proved that the globe could be circled by sea and that the world was much larger than had previously been imagined.