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Voyages and Adventures of Ferdinand Magellan Essay

Voyages and Adventures of Ferdinand Magellan, 494 words essay example

Essay Topic: how to, christopher columbus, position, time

Ferdinand Magellan was born in Oporto, Portugal, in 1480. His parents were members of the Portuguese nobility, and the young Magellan was in the service of royalty at an young age. He was only twelve when he began serving the queen of Portugal as a page, which is a position of employment for young people in the royal courts. As a young member of Queen Leonora's School of Pages in Lisbon, Magellan was encouraged to learn subjects that would assist him greatly later, such as cartography, astronomy, and celestial navigation (learning how to steer a ship based on the positions of the stars). Magellan joined the Portuguese fleet in 1505. He sailed to East Africa and later was at the battle of Diu, where the Portuguese destroyed most of the Egyptian fleet in the Arabian Sea. He went to Malacca twice, present-day Malaysia, and participated in that port's conquest by the Portuguese. Magellan also went on a mission to explore the Moluccas (islands in Indonesia, later called the Spice Islands). Trading in spices brought wealth to European nations, and there was much competition among countries to claim territories that were rich in spices, especially in Southeast Asia, specifically the East Indies. The Moluccas were the original source of some of the world's most valuable spices at that time, including cloves and nutmeg. In 1513 Magellan was wounded in a battle in North Africa, but all of his services to Portugal brought him little favor from the Portuguese king, and in 1517 he went to Seville, Spain, to offer his services to the Spanish court. Spain and Portugal were both great powers at this time. They were in great competition over the rights to claim and settle the newly "discovered" regions of the Americas and the East. In 1494 the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the overseas world of the "discoveries" between the two powers, essentially splitting the globe in half from. Portugal acquired everything from Brazil eastward to the East Indies, while the Spanish hemisphere of discovery and conquest was westward from Brazil to the Cape Verde Islands. The parts of this area that lay furthest east of Spain had not yet been explored by the Spaniards, and they assumed that some of the Spice Islands might lie within their half of the globe. They were wrong, but Magellan's scheme was to test that assumption. He decided that the best way to reach these islands was to sail in a westward direction from Europe, thus traveling around the globe. Other explorers had paved the way for Magellan by making key mistakes and discoveries. Christopher Columbus had badly underestimated the distance between Europe and the East Indies, sailing westward from the European coast and "discovering" North America and the Caribbean islands. Vasco Nez de Balboa's march across the Panamanian isthmus had revealed the existence of the Pacific Ocean, which he had claimed for Spain. Magellan and other explorers found passages across the Americas to the East which was rich with spices.

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