Skip to main content

Magellan, Ferdinand 1480?–1521

Ferdinand Magellan

A Portuguese and Spanish explorer, Ferdinand Magellan organized and led the first circumnavigation of the globe, and named the Pacific Ocean. His daring voyage did little to aid the goals of his benefactor, King Charles I of Spain (1550–1558), but it opened the future of Pacific trade between the Americas and the East. Born into the Portuguese nobility, Magellan travelled to India in 1505. After his return, Magellan fell out of favor with King Manuel I (1469–1521) due to an escalating series of personal conflicts, and unfounded accusations that Magellan had traded illegally with Moroccan Moors. Magellan renounced his Portuguese citizenship and proposed a voyage from Spain, across the Atlantic, around the southern point of South America, and onward to Asia. Magellan intended to prove that the rich Moluccas, claimed by Portugal, were situated in territory guaranteed to the Spanish under the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). Charles and his financiers, Jakob Fugger (1459–1525) and Cristóbal de Haro (c. 1455–1538), further hoped that Magellan's westward route into the Eastern spice trade would supersede the Portuguese-controlled route around the southern cape of Africa. After crossing the Pacific, Magellan died in battle in the Philippines. Of the five ships and approximately 270 people that left Spain in September 1519, only the Victoria and 18 original crew returned to Seville in September 1522.

SEE ALSO Empire, Portuguese; India; Morocco; Portugal; Seville; Ships and Shipping; Spain.


Bergreen, Laurence. Over the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe. New York: William Morrow, 2003.

Joyner, Tim. Magellan. Camden, ME: International Marine, 1992.

Parr, Charles McKew. So Noble a Captain: The Life and Times of Ferdinand Magellan. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1953.

Jonathan Eacott

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Magellan, Ferdinand 1480?–1521." History of World Trade Since 1450. . 23 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Magellan, Ferdinand 1480?–1521." History of World Trade Since 1450. . (April 23, 2019).

"Magellan, Ferdinand 1480?–1521." History of World Trade Since 1450. . Retrieved April 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.