Magellan’s Trip around the World
He left Spain in 1519 with five ships (Trinidad, the San Antonio, the Conception, the Victoria and the Santiago) and about 260 men. At first he did not tell his men where they were going because he thought they would be too frightened to obey him. Magellan found a passage through South America that is now named after him, but only by chance. When two of his ships were driven towards land in a storm, the men feared they would be dashed against the shore. Then, just in time, they spotted a small opening in the coastline. It was the passage for which they had been searching since they left home. He called the ocean the pacific because The Ocean was calm and peaceful when Magellan finally entered it. By now one of his ships had deserted, but the other four started the journey across their new-found sea. To everyone's amazement, the crossing was to take three months and 20 days. In the pacific Magellan and his men suffered terrible hunger. They ran out of fresh food and many died of scurvy, an illness caused by a lack of the vitamin C found in fresh fruit and vegetables. One of the crew wrote: ‘We ate only old biscuit reduced to powder, and full of grubs, and stinking from the dirt which the rats had made on it when eating the good biscuit, and we drank water that was yellow and stinking. The men were so hungry that if any of them caught a rat, he could sell it for a high price to someone who would eat it.'
Magellan Exploring the Strait That Bears his Name
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