Research, Ship's Library

Journals of Pigafetta: Gutenberg Project

December 27th, 2018 by

The primary source for all things Magellan, the journals of Antonio Pigafetta, are now available online. The Gutenberg Project, a volunteer project to digitize and archive cultural works, is the largest and oldest digital library online, comprised mainly of works in the public domain. Volunteers with this project work to digitize these old and valuable […]

Who Closed the Circle First?

August 26th, 2015 by

While many people correctly associate the first recorded circumnavigation of the Earth with Ferdinand Magellan, most do not know that Magellan only made it part of the way. On April 27th, 1521, Magellan died at the Battle of Mactan in the archipelago he named San Lazaro, known today as The Philippines. Juan Sebastian del Cano […]

Prince Henry The Navigator

August 8th, 2015 by

This is the story of how Prince Henry of Portugal became the instigator of serious sea exploration in the west. It’s a story of how one family’s tragedy turned into history’s good fortune. Portugal’s independence from Castile was won largely through the efforts of Prince Henry’s father, King João I. The King had the support […]

The Silk Road

July 18th, 2015 by

When you Google for “The Silk Road” today, you find a lot more search results for the drugs-and-guns site than for the historically significant network of travel routes between China, the middle east and ancient Rome. Yet, for centuries this “international commercial highway” was the source of valuable goods, spices, gems and China’s silks for […]

The Iberians

July 15th, 2015 by

We continue the exploration of Tim Joyner’s book Magellan with Chapter 2, The Iberians. Who are the Iberians and what do they have to do with Ferdinand Magellan and his expedition? There are Eastern Iberians and Western Iberians. The Eastern group have millennias of history in the Caucuses, the descendents of which are Georgians in […]

Windward Ho!

July 11th, 2015 by

The sailing term “Windward Ho!” means to turn the boat towards the wind, or to ride ‘close to the wind.’ This is what the boat is doing when you see it ‘heeled over’ on its side, with all the people on the other side leaning out to keep it from tipping. Traveling close to the […]

The Royal World of Magellan

June 30th, 2015 by

The royalty Magellan rubbed shoulders with consisted of two competing majesties; King Manual of Portugal and King Charles of Spain. The intricacies of these two sovereigns provide a fabric of intrigue and ambition outpacing the best of good fiction. The intense rivalry between Spain and Portugal at the time was not simply an international competition […]

A Pound of Cloves

June 30th, 2015 by

One aspect of the expedition that is of interest today might be the economics of the expedition’s financing. There is little doubt that Magellan was a deeply religious man. Even then as now, the project was subject to certain expectations of a return on investment and required a large commitment of financing from investors. The King […]

The End of the Beginning

June 30th, 2015 by

“At Seville on 24 August 1519 Magellan signed his last will and testament….One-tenth of all he may gain from the voyage to the Moluccas is to be set apart for legacies; one-third to build a new chapel around Santa Maria de la Victoria, where the monks may forever pray for the repose of his soul…” […]

Notes from Mactan

June 30th, 2015 by

May 10th-14th, 2015 Visiting the Island of Mactan and Cebu is useful in understanding the background and geography of this dynamic location along the route of the first recorded circumnavigation. What is now Magellan Bay is pretty much the same as described by the expedition chronicler Antonio Pigafetta in his account of the Battle of […]