Fernand de Magellan (born in Portugal) was the first European to cross the “South Sea”, which journey was the first circumnavigation around the world.|
He proposed finding the passage to the Pacific to the king of Spain, Charles 1er, who armed five ships, on which about 240 men embarked.
He left Seville on August 10, 1519. At the end of December, he reached the American continent, then went south along the coast, until October 21, 1520, when he finally found himself in front of the sought opening. On 1 November he entered this labyrinth, which he called “de Tous les Saints” (Strait of Magellan), and on 28 November 1520 entered the “large, wide” and unknown sea, which he was about to cross.
On January 24, 1521, he discovered an uninhabited island which he called San Pablo (Fakahina or Puka Puka), celebrating this conversion day, “so well surrounded by reefs that it seemed that nature had armed it to defend itself against the sea. We found only birds and trees”, then another atoll called Isla de los Tiburones (island of kiribati). Disappointed at not being able to refuel, he called them “the Unfortunate Islands”.
He continued his journey on such a calm ocean that he called it “Pacific”. He saw Rota and Guam, then came to the Philippines, where he had a mass said and baptized “800 people” including King Humabón, who swore loyalty to the King of Spain.
On 27 April Magellan was killed in a battle against Lapu-Lapu, the leader of Mactan island. Back in Cebu, Humabón trapped almost all the Spanich crewmembers, murdering them during a feast.
The last ship “La Victoria”, loaded with large quantities of clove, under the command of Juan Sebastián Elcano, began the return journey. He crossed the Indian Ocean and passed through the Atlantic, arriving at Sanlúcar with 21 survivors, on September 6, 1522: “In our shirt, barefoot, and carrying a torch, we went to the church of Sainte-Marie, as we had promised in moments of anguish”.
Fare Rata, the French Polynesia Post is proud to retrace this formidable epic during which Magellan was able to see the Tuamotu Archipelago.
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