Ferdinand Magellan

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Aristotle first theorized that the earth was round. Columbus died believing he proved Aristotle correct, but the real confirmation came in the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan, the captain of the first ship to sail completely around the world.

Magellan was a Portuguese sailor who explored Asia. While he was in Asia, Magellan picked up an Asian boy he called Enrique, who he brought back to Portugal. Magellan asked the King of Portugal to finance an expedition around the world. When the king rejected him, Magellan disowned his allegiance to Portugal and offered his services to Spain.

Magellan left Spain in 1519 with five ships. It took more than fourteen months to find the southern opening to the Pacific Ocean. He found it in the frigid, stormy waters now known as the Strait of Magellan. What Magellan did not count on was the immensity of the Pacific, a body of water larger than all of the land on earth. Magellan expected Asia to be a few hundred miles past beyond the coast of South America. Instead, the expedition traveled 12,600 miles before reaching land.

The starving sailors arrived the island of Guam after more than six months at sea, and then moved on to the Philippines. While in the Philippines, Magellan discovered that his servant, Enrique, could understand the native language. Magellan realized that Enrique was the first person to have traveled completely around the world.

Magellan had survived eighteen months at sea, but he was killed in battle in the Philippines. A local warrior persuaded Magellan to defeat his rival in battle. Most of Magellan’s men considered the battle both pointless and dangerous, so they refused to participate. Magellan was hit with a poison arrow in the battle and died.

One of Magellan’s five ships did make it back to Spain, only twelve days less than three years after their journey started. Only one ship and eighteen sailors remained of the 265 men accompanied Magellan.

Answer in Complete Sentences

1. How did Magellan’s sailors prove one of Aristotle’s theories?

*2. In your opinion, was Magellan Spanish or Portuguese? Defend your answer.

*3. Magellan and his crew noticed that the land south of his passageway was so cold, that the native people were forced to huddle over fires. This is why the southern tip of South America is called Tierra del Fuego, or “Land of Fire.” Why is Tierra del Fuego the coldest part of South America?

Fill in the Blanks

Aristotle first t________________ that the e________ was r________, but he couldn’t *p________ his hypothesis. Christopher C_______________ believed he did s______ to A______ by traveling w______, but Columbus instead d___________________ that a c________________ stood between the *w______ coast of Europe and the east coast of *A______. Artistotle’s t__________ was not proven correct until **15____, when an e______________________ led by Ferdinand M______________ returned to *S________ after *s____________ around the w________.

Magellan left S________ with f______ ships. After sailing more than a *y______, Magellan’s *s____________ found the southern o____________ to the P____________ Ocean. Magellan expected A______ to be only a few h_____________ miles beyond the c________ of South A____________. Instead, his e___________________ traveled __________ miles across a b______ of w________ larger than all the l______ on e________.

Magellan and his s____________ were within days of starvation when they reached the i__________ of Guam. They sailed on to the Philippine islands, where M______________ discovered that his servant, E____________, could u_________________ the n__________ language. Enrique was the f________ person to have t______________ completely around the w________.

Magellan was k__________ in the P____________________ when a local w____________ persuaded him to d__________ his r________ in b________. Most of Magellan’s men considered the b__________ both p________________ and d________________, so they r____________ to p___________________. Magellan was *k_________ after being hit with a p__________ arrow.

Only o____ of Magellan’s f______ ships returned to S________. Their voyage lasted *________ days. Only ______% of the men who accompanied Magellan survived the trip.


**This is a trick question. Be careful, and see if you can deduce the right answer.

Answer in Complete Sentences

*44. How did Magellan conclude that he had sailed around the world?

*45. Why do you think Magellan might have believed he could win the battle that killed him?

*This is a higher order learning question. You will earn credit for any reasonable answer.

2013 Mike Dowling, www.mrdowling.com, All rights reserved.

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