Until the 500th anniversary of the sail date of the first Voyage of Circumnavigation! Four Hundred and Ninety Five Years ago today, five ships (the Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepcion, Santiago, and Victoria) under the command of Ferdinand Magellan left Seville, Spain, in an expedition that, even after the death of Magellan in the Philippines on 27 April 1521, would be the first to circumnavigate the globe under the command of Juan Sebastian Elcano (who was Magellan’s second in command) when the Victoria returned to Spain on 6 September 1522. This voyage took the fleet to the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, Santa Lucia Bay, Rio de Solis, Cabo Virgenes, around the tip of South America, to the Sharks’ Islands, San Pablo Island, the Ladrones Islands, Palawan, Brunei, Tidore, Ambon Iasland, Timor, The Cape of Good Hope, and then back to Spain.
Considering that there is no record of anyone completing the feat prior to this voyage, that the voyage was finished in 3 years in a time when you were sailing by sail alone, and that, even today, circumnavigation efforts take amateur sailors a year and half, this was no small feat*. (For example, Laura Dekker, whose voyage was interrupted at several points, took 518 days to circumnavigate the globe in her 38 foot yacht.)
It was a historic day as Magellan, and Elcano, discovered new trade routes that would be utilized for centuries to come!
* Although it would have been faster had Magellan not tried to convert the Lapu-Lapu of the Philippines to Christianity, which not only cost the voyage time, but Magellan his life.