The First Circumnavigation of the World by Magellan and Elcano

The First Circumnavigation of the World by Magellan and Elcano

Spain; Portugal — 16th century

Close up: Magellan's famous circumnavigation in a compendium of various documents from three museums

  1. The epic expedition undertaken by Ferdinand Magellan (ca. 1480–1521) is a milestone of the Age of Exploration

  2. This compendium unites documents from three museums concerning Magellan's voyage from 1519 to 1522

  3. The participating persons, the history, and the course of the expedition are all brought to life

The First Circumnavigation of the World by Magellan and Elcano

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
The First Circumnavigation of the World by Magellan and Elcano

One of the most exciting events in world history made immediately comprehensible: the first circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano. In the year 1519, a Spanish fleet under the command of Ferdinand Magellan set out to find a westward sea-route to the Orient. After the death of Magellan in the Philippines, a ship under Elcano successfully returned to Spain three years later. The entire world was circumnavigated for the first time in this way. The compendium at hand assembles historic documents and pieces of writing from three significant collections, which offer an inside view into this adventurous undertaking!

The First Circumnavigation of the World by Magellan and Elcano

One of the most exciting events in world history made immediately comprehensible: the first circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano. In the year 1519, a Spanish fleet under the command of Ferdinand Magellan set out to find a westward sea-route to the Orient. After the death of Magellan in the Philippines, a ship under Elcano successfully returned to Spain three years later. The entire world was circumnavigated for the first time in this way. The compendium at hand assembles historic documents and pieces of writing from three significant collections, which offer an inside view into this adventurous undertaking!

Accounts of Adventure and Official Documents

A true treasure for the history of world discovery! The original documents of the world’s first circumnavigation by Magellan and Elcano are stored in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, the Archivo General de Simancas, and the Archivo General da Torre do Tombo in Lisbon. With the aid of these impressive documents, the participating persons, the history, and the course of the expedition are brought to life. 22 documents from the 16th century make it possible to follow and comprehend the expedition in detail: contracts between Magellan and the representatives of the Spanish Crown, the appointment of the armada’s officers, documents regarding the launching of the ships, peace negotiations with the kings of the Moluccans, and accounts of survivors, in which part of the terrible events of the voyage are described…The so-called Derrotero de Francisco de Albo is particularly of interest, it is a book with daily notes about the geographic features of the surrounding miles of sea and the exact position of the ships during the voyage of discovery.

The Promising Moluccans

The Portuguese had already reached the Far East by means of the sea route which circumnavigated the African continent. Yet, this way was barred to the Spanish as a result of the division of territory mandated by the Treaty of Tordesillas. As a result, there were numerous attempts since the early 16th century to find a straight or some similar connection to the Pacific via the American continent, and thus to reach the west and the Spice Islands of the Moluccans. It is for this reason that the Portuguese sea voyager Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521) set out on the 20th of September, 1519 at the behest of the Spanish Crown. He set to sea with a fleet of five ships and began the adventurous undertaking.

The Death of the Commander and a Happy Ending

With the discovery of the Straits of Magellan, a connection to the Pacific in South America, the first hurdle was cleared. In trying to find another way to the Moluccans, Magellan nonetheless met his death on one of the islands of the modern Philippines. Under Juan Sebastián Elcano (1486/7–1526), the new captain, the undertaking was eventually completed successfully. With a single ship – fully-loaded with spices – the expedition returned to Spain via the Portuguese route. Of the 265 men who originally set out on the onerous journey, only 18 men returned on the 7th of September, 1522. This exciting chapter in world history – from its beginnings, to its tragic events, to its happy conclusion – can now be thoroughly studied with the help of the documents collected here!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
La primera vuelta
La primera vuelta al mundo protagonistas, génesis y dessarrollo a través de
los documentos
Die erste Weltumsegelung von Magellan und Elcano
Size / Format
22 docs / 33.0 × 22.5 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
16th century
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
The first Circumnavigation of the World by Magellan and Elcano – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain) / Archivo General de Simancas (Simancas, Spain)
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1998
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 La Primera Vuelta al Mundo

Publisher: Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1998
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: Fabric lined case. Contains documents and additional study of the work.
Commentary: 1 volume (284 pages) by Germán Arciniegas, Martim E. Cortereal de Albuquerque, Manuel Ballesteros Gabrois, José Manuel Ruiz Asencio, Mauricio Herrero Jiménez and Irene Ruiz Albi
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
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