THE PACIFIC REACHED ON THIS DAY IN 1520

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Ferdinand Magellan (1480 – April 27, 1521) 

After sailing through the dangerous straits below South America that now
bear his name, Portuguese navigator
Ferdinand Magellan entered  the Pacific Ocean with three ships, becoming the first European explorer to reach the
Pacific from the Atlantic.

On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in an effort to find a
western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of
five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil,
where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take
him to the Pacific.

He searched the Rio de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way
through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the
end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian.

On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their
Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the
captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.

On October 21, he finally discovered the strait he had been seeking. The
Strait of Magellan, as it became known, is located near the tip of South
America, separating Tierra del Fuego and the continental mainland. Only
three ships entered the passage; one had been wrecked and another
deserted. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and when
ocean was sighted at the other end Magellan wept with joy.

pianting of Magellan's fleet , ships at sea (Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

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posted by Bob Karm in ANNIVERSARY,Discovery,Expedition,Explorer,HISTORY and have No Comments

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