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As we know, Magellan died on the Philippines, so he did not circumnavigate the globe. However, I found an opinion claiming that he actually did, because he'd made some travels to east Asia before his last expedition, so he can be considered to have made the full trip.

I tried to search this and Wikipedia says that he was as far as Malacca, which is long. 102 degrees east, while he was killed on the Mactan Island, which is long. 123 degrees east.

Had Magellan reached 123deg E from west before his last journey?

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Voictus, it seems so. In fact Mactan, where Magellano died on april 27, 1521, stays, according to Wikipedia, on 10°17′47″N 123°59′10″E. Furthermore, according to Italian Wikipedia, "La spedizione di Magellano ed Elcano fu la prima circumnavigazione del globo terrestre, intrapresa tra il 10 agosto 1519 e il 6 settembre 1522", where the highlighted phrase means that Magellan and Elcan were the first circumnavigating the globe :) –  user2237 Jul 29 '13 at 9:02
@Carlo_R. On meta, your account is already deleted, but here it is still active? Listen Carlo, I noticed you voted 20 times just today. You wouldn't be passing out downvotes to get even with some people on your last day, hmm? –  Eugene Seidel Jul 29 '13 at 10:19
P.S., not sure whether to praise for your generosity in giving away your rep in form of bounties.... or to shake my head, given that you want to be deleted ASAP yet you know that every time you post a bounty, the deletion is delayed by another seven days... I guess there's never a dull moment with Carlo! –  Eugene Seidel Jul 29 '13 at 12:35
@Eugene, but do you agree that if Magellan died in Mactan, then he really circumnavigated the globe? Magellan always fascinated me and I am really interested knowing the answer to this question. –  user2237 Jul 29 '13 at 13:00
P.S., rep-points do not interest me, the best thing instead of SE is the possibility of having serious cultural interactions with people from every country in the world. –  user2237 Jul 29 '13 at 13:06

3 Answers 3

Long story short, yes, he did. He was for a brief time military counsellor for the sultan of Ternate (around 1512). Ternate lies on longitude 127 East.

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The Magellan article says: "Serrão departed in the first expedition sent to find the Spice Islands in the Moluccas, where he remained, having married a woman from Amboina and becoming a military advisor to the Sultan of Ternate, Bayan Sirrullah." So it is about Serrao, not Magellan. The Ternate article does not mention Magellan, but Serrao. Do you have another source? –  Voitcus Jul 29 '13 at 17:28
@Voictus, you asked "Had Magellan reached 123deg E from west before his last journey?" So, is not it enough to say that Magellan dead in Mactan for having your question answered? If not, why not? Please, explain. –  user2237 Jul 30 '13 at 8:58
@user2237: if I begin my trip in Paris, go to Moscow, then go back to Paris, then go west via America, Japan, India, Turkey etc. and die in Berlin it means that I circumnavigated the globe, because I was twice in Moscow. I mean that Magellan first travelled to Malacca, then somewhere further east (did he?), then he got back to Spain, and moved westwards to Philippines. If he had been on Philipps. going east before he reached it going west, that would mean that he actually rounded the globe, but his way would start not in Spain, but on Philippines. Or in other words: did he reach Mactan before? –  Voitcus Aug 1 '13 at 6:41

Even if Magellan did reach points further east than where he died, nonetheless, he himself never circumnavigated the Globe:


To sail or fly around; make the circuit of by navigation: to circumnavigate the earth.

Circumnavigation means completing a circuit: A circular journey whereby you end up at the point where you started out - going around the world.

If Magellan managed to get further east than where he died in the Phillipines, this would have been when he travelled from India with Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, a Portuguese official who was sent to India and embarked on journies further east, from India. If so, during those trips Magellan was coming from the west via India, as opposed to his famous, ill fated attempt at circumnavigation, which was a separate journey during which he traversed first the Atlantic and then the Pacific, arriving in the Philippines from the east.

So there was never a circular voyage, but two separate ones, which in totality span the globe, and are mapped approximately as two arcs which might converge or run parallel to one another at some point:

One of about 300 degrees, starting at a point east:


Another of about 60 degrees, starting at a point west:

Portugal->Arabian Sea (presumably)->India->Indian Ocean->Points East??

So Magellan never went around the world. Were this not the case, when on his voyage from Spain going westward, Magellan could have claimed circumnavigation as soon as he reached a point further east than he had in his previous travels.

It might also be contended that even if one made two voyages from east to west or vice versa, such that in their totality they spanned the globe, but they were entirely separate endeavors with a significant lapse of time between them, (as were Magellan's) this would not be considered circumnavigation.

For example: If one went on a military expedition from Portugal to Goa via the Arabian Sea, laid over in Goa for ten years, and then hitched a ride on a whaling vessel through the Pacific, the Atlantic and back home to Portugal - difficult to call this circumnavigation in the sense of the Age of Discovery, since there would be little or no connection between the two voyages such that they could be considered a circuit.

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Thank you for the answer. Maybe the question title is unfortunate, but I'm going to count his efforts even if they lasted 20 yrs. and were divided in 80 trips (as you've written in your last 2 paragraphs), like I asked in the last sentence of my question. You say "Magellan's forays further east than the point where he died", so this would be the "yes, he did" answer to my question. Could you please back your words with some sources confirming that he was in Ternate with Diogo Lopes de Sequeira or anybody else? (your Wikipedia art. mentions only Malacca as most eastern point of Lopes' activity) –  Voitcus Sep 23 '13 at 5:57
Edited the answer. I had sent you to the reference in other answer regarding Ternate and the Moluccas, but that is incorrect, as you pointed out. I looked now again and you are very correct. Perhaps aenariel has confused Malacca with Moluccas. Magellan was involved in a military campaign in Malacca, but Malacca is in Malaysia, further west. There is no reference there in wiki to Magellan having gotten further east than where he died. I researched no further because my answer remains regarding circumnavigation: No. –  user2590 Sep 23 '13 at 7:26
You may of course differ, but I focused on circumnavigation because IMO, unless Magellan did circumnavigate, it's not very significant: That he managed to travel the full 360 degrees, perhaps unconsciously,in the course of different voyages, from different directions, with different intents, about ten years apart, does not seem very meaningful to me - really just a coincidence. The important point is setting out to circumnavigate, and achieving that goal. (Although in fact, I don't find there in wiki that circumnavigation was ever his stated goal. Need to check primary sources...) –  user2590 Sep 23 '13 at 8:06
We can surmise that Magellan, the adventurer and explorer, had in his mind circumnavigation as his ultimate goal, but this was not suitable justification for a voyage for the King of Spain, his sponsor, who was interested only in new trade routes and ways to expand his empire and influence. Again, here primary sources are a must, and regarding Magellan's voyage, we have them. –  user2590 Sep 23 '13 at 8:40

In the Philippines, some of my teachers have already settled this fact.

  1. Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the world in two trips. He was the second do it in two trips. (first, his ventures in Ternate and second trip, the expedition from 1519 to his death in 1521).
  2. Sebastian de Cano circumnavigated the world in one trip.
  3. Enrique of Malacca (Magellan's Malay slave and their interpreter) circumnavigated the world. He was the first to do it in two trips. (He originally lived in the Malay archipelago, returned to Malay archipelago in the expedition making him ahead of Magellan).
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