Word of the contract that Magellan and Faleiro had signed with the Spanish crown made its way quickly back to Lisbon, creating much consternation in the court of King Manuel. Although the contract itself was cagey about the specific goals of the expedition,  it wasn’t hard to figure out that the venture in question must be the latest attempt to sail west to Asia. And needless to say, any successful venture of that type portended nothing good for Portugal’s current monopoly over that part of the world. The more mystically minded members of Manuel’s court muttered that Magellan must have been possessed by the Devil — for what else could cause a heretofore loyal, honorable servant of his king to suddenly turn traitor? The wily old hero of the Indian trade Vasco de Gama, whose supremely practical turn of mind was not diluted by any misbegotten punctiliousness, urged that Manuel send an assassin to Spain to permanently solve the problem posed by Portugal’s wayward war hero.

But the fact was that Manuel was no more eager to torch the fragile détente which Portugal currently enjoyed with its larger Iberian neighbor — not to mention his own impending nuptials with King Charles’s sister — than Charles himself was. Instead he ordered the Portuguese ambassador to Spain, whose name was Álvaro da Costa, to intervene by whatever nonviolent means he could devise. Costa tried every stratagem he could think of. He came to Magellan personally with a classic carrot and stick, the former being a promise that King Manuel would “reconsider” funding his cherished expedition under his home country’s flag if he returned to the fold, the latter promises of disgrace, ruin, and perhaps even death from out of the shadows if he continued on his current course. When the stolid old soldier, who had heard far worse threats than these in his time, remained unmoved, Costa tried a similar tack with Magellan’s father-in-law Diogo Barbosa, again to no avail. He then cajoled and bribed some of the people around King Charles to speak against the expedition to their sovereign, only to find that the Spanish king’s enthusiasm for it was unshakeable. In the end, Costa succeeded only in getting everyone’s backs up that much further. King Charles ordered several of his own royal bodyguards to stay close to Magellan and Faleiro during all hours of the day and night for a while, until the pressure from Portugal seemed to ease off a bit.

By the late summer of 1518, the five ships that were to make up the fleet had been decided upon and requisitioned. They were remarkably close in size to the ships — “two each of 130 tons, two each of 90 tons, and one of 60 tons” — that had been pledged to Magellan and Faleiro in their contract. As best we can determine, the San Antonio was about 120 tons, the Trinidad 110 tons, the Concepción 90 tons, the Victoria 85 tons, and the Santiago 75 tons. We know that none of the ships was new — far from it, in fact. Beyond that, we must largely rely upon conjecture to paint a picture of them.

Like almost all Spanish ships, each member of the fleet had probably been built on the northern shore of that country, using sturdy oak brought down from the Cantabrian Mountains. In terms of design, the ships must surely all have been carracks, which were by now the workhorses of the Spanish and Portuguese navies, incorporating some of the innovations of Prince Henry the Navigator’s famed caravels whilst being considerably bigger. Their increased size left them better equipped both to weather the fury of open-ocean storms and to carry reasonably large quantities of provisions and cargo, even as it also left them somewhat less fleet-footed and graceful. Within the established framework of the carrack design, each ship would have been to a large extent unique. Detailed blueprints were not yet used during this period, making every vessel that was built a bespoke creation of the master shipwright who supervised and adjusted the construction process on the fly, working from a set of rough specifications only.

These were in no sense warships; only the Trinidad carried any cannons at all, and even it had only four of them. Their tubby hulls were built to withstand nature’s furies, not those of men. We should try to get to know the general layout of the vessels now, given that we are soon to embark on such a long journey with them. Perhaps the best way to proceed is linearly, making our way from stem to stern.

Most of the features described below can be seen easily in this photograph of a modern replica of an early-sixteenth-century carrack. This example is on the smaller side, lacking a lower deck. (Gnsin)

The most forward part of a carrack, jutting diagonally up and out over the bow, was the bowsprit, a necessary structural support for the ship’s three masts. In some cases, a figurehead was mounted here, such as a mermaid or a dolphin, but there are no reports that such was the case for any of these ships. The bowsprit passed through the forecastle — an elevated, highly exposed platform at the prow of the ship — as did the foremast.

Behind the forecastle was a precipitous plunge down to the main deck, which extended from end to end of the ship just below the level of the gunwale — meaning the top edge of the hull — at its lowest point. This main deck passed under the forecastle in the front and the quarterdeck and poop deck in the rear, both of which I will describe shortly. The mainmast, the tallest of the three masts, extended out of the main deck’s dead center, which was of course also the dead center of the entire ship. The two largest ships, the San Antonio and Trinidad, probably had another, completely enclosed deck — the lower deck — extending from stem to stern beneath their main decks. At the very bottom of the hulls of all of them was the bilge, a notoriously foul space where all sorts of liquids and detritus tended to collect — not least the bodily wastes of the crew, who often used the bilge as a latrine when rough seas or rains made other solutions inconvenient or actively dangerous.

Just behind the mainmast was the quarterdeck, a modestly elevated platform that was better sheltered from wind and weather than were the forecastle in front of it and the poop deck behind it. This was the nerve center of the ship, where the captain or officer of the deck stood and gave his orders. The tiller that operated the rudder was to be found below and behind the quarterdeck, in a cramped little cave appropriately known as the steerage. The officers on the quarterdeck shouted their commands down to the helmsman in the steerage through a hole cut for that purpose. Because the helmsman couldn’t see what effect his manipulations were having on the ship’s course, the officers above had to be very precise in their instructions.

Behind and above the quarterdeck was the poop deck, an equally elevated, equally exposed sternward companion to the forecastle. (Indeed, alternate names for the poop deck are the “sterncastle” or the “aftcastle.”) Through it passed the third and shortest of the three masts, the mizzenmast; this was the only sail that was lateen-rigged, meaning that it appeared to be turned sideways in relation to the others, the canvas stretching in a fore-to-aft direction rather than from beam to beam. This configuration was borrowed from the caravel, which used it for all of its masts. Here, the single lateen-rigged sail made these much larger carracks much more maneuverable than they otherwise would have been, much better able to cope with winds that would otherwise be hopelessly inclement.

For all that these carracks were fairly big ships in their day, their most striking aspect to the modern observer is their lack of size. Their dimensions strike us as almost toy-like. The largest of them probably wasn’t more than 65 feet (20 meters) from stem to stern, 23 feet (7 meters) from beam to beam at its widest point, 13 feet (4 meters) from the bottom of its hull to the lowest point of the gunwale. For the smallest, the figures might have been 50 feet (15 meters) in length, 16 feet (5 meters) in width, and 10 feet (3 meters) in height. They seem hardly ships at all by our lights; many a modern luxury yacht is far bigger in all its dimensions.

But these ships, by contrast, were anything but luxurious. Within their cramped confines must live anywhere from 31 to 62 men, depending on the vessel in question, along with everything that was needed to sustain them for months at sea. Most of the crew laid themselves down to sleep wherever they could find a spot. Only the senior officers had a designated bunk room for the purpose, located below the quarterdeck, just in front of the steerage. And only the captain had a private cabin, located behind the quarterdeck, above the steerage, and below the poop deck.

Each ship came complete with two auxiliary boats. With space at such a premium, the larger of these, the two-masted longboat, was generally towed behind the ship whenever the sea was relatively calm. In stormy weather, its 23-foot (7-meter) length was hauled aboard with the capstan and muscle power, to perch incongruously atop everything else on the main deck like a rider clinging to a galloping bronco. There was also a mast–less rowboat, or launch, of about 13 feet (4 meters) in length; this was permanently stowed on the main deck, for the crew to fight over as a prime sleeping spot.

Once procured, the five well-worn ships had to be careened, re-caulked, repainted, and generally refurbished in Seville before embarking on their unlikely adventure. As the captain of the Trinidad as well as captain general of the expedition as a whole, Magellan supervised the rejuvenation of that vessel personally, often taking off his shirt to sweat alongside the dockworkers under the blazing Sevillian sun.

Meanwhile Rodriguo Faleiro was busy with his books, charts, and instruments. He believed he was on the verge of cracking that biggest navigational conundrum still confronting sailors: that of how to calculate longitude on the open ocean. The most promising of the systems he experimented with entailed plotting the position of the Moon in relation to the stars at a given time of night, then comparing those measurements with a log of the same observations taken from Seville (or any other place whose east-west position was known). We can confirm today that this method is sound in theory, but the observations it requires are so precise and delicate that its utility aboard a moving ship is dubious at best, especially when one takes into account the state of sixteenth-century star-gazing technology.

Nevertheless, innovations like these illustrate that Faleiro was as brilliant as his reputation would suggest. Unfortunately, he was growing more and more unstable as well, being no longer just eccentric but clearly, increasingly mentally ill, subject to volcanic outbursts of temper and by all indications frequent hallucinations. His behavior was becoming truly outrageous, such that he was now commonly described as “insane” or a “madman.” For his part, Magellan said nothing publicly on the subject, but it must surely have weighed upon him. Always the senior partner of the pair when push came to shove, he was now forced to bear more of the burden than ever on his own shoulders.

But Faleiro wasn’t even the worst of his problems. As always, most of his difficulties revolved around the cruel fact that he was a Portuguese in a Spanish world. Still unable to express himself in Spanish as effectively as he might have wished, he struggled to navigate the winds of prejudice and conspiracy that swirled around him.

October 22, 1518, ought to have been a day of celebration. For on that day, Magellan’s future flagship, the Trinidad, was to be re-floated after a long spell in a careening wharf. As usual, Magellan was on hand to supervise the proceedings personally. Absorbed in the details of the complicated operation, he failed to notice that the only standard to be seen on the ship was his own family’s coat of arms, which he had affixed to the capstan, as was his right as captain; the flag of Spain and the banner of the Christian Trinity, which ought to have flapped far above it on the ship’s masts, were absent. Some reports have it that it was an agent of King Manuel who told idlers around the docks that the coat of arms in question was actually that of the aforementioned Portuguese king rather than Magellan. However it came about, the spectators got this idea into their heads. The atmosphere turned ugly, a mob ashore hurling insults and imprecations at the men working on the vessel. Scuffles erupted; one of Magellan’s work crew was stabbed through the hand. Half or more of his workers fled the scene without looking back, and the Trinidad was very nearly allowed to float off down the  Guadalquivir River on its own amidst the strife and confusion. Luckily, the mob was dispersed by grudging dockside policemen before that could happen, after Magellan explained to them both his own mistake of forgetting to raise the flag of Spain and his harassers’ confusion over whose coat of arms was to be seen aboard the ship. Still, the whole episode was a potent demonstration to Magellan that he was in the minds of many Spaniards a foreign viper loose in their garden. How would it go for him once he was out on the ocean with a crew that was mostly Spanish?

As it happened, this very same thought was occupying Bishop Fonseca, albeit in his case with more glee than foreboding. Having seen the new Spanish king appoint Magellan and Faleiro as leaders of the expedition against his will, he was now plotting to ensure that they were its leaders in name only — and not even that for very long after it got underway, if he had anything to do with it. Knowing the ins and out of Spain’s maritime institutions in all the ways that King Charles did not, he appointed his own hand-picked candidates to most of the positions below Magellan and Faleiro on the expedition’s leadership hierarchy. His ace in the hole was Juan de Cartagena, officially his nephew, in reality his illegitimate son, a man who, despite never having gone to sea before in any capacity, was now to be placed in command of the San Antonio. Even more importantly, he was given the title of inspector general of the expedition, meaning he was to be the man in charge of the purse strings, not only before it sailed but afterward as well. His contract described him as its anti-corruption cop, with broad powers accruing therefrom; he was to “ensure that the captains and officers” — i.e., Magellan and Faleiro — “observe our instructions and other matters of service.” It was strongly implied that he could step in and override the orders of these two, even relieve them of command, if he felt he had good grounds for doing so. Tellingly, his own salary was higher than that of the expedition’s ostensible commanders, even as the ship he was given was slightly larger than Magellan’s flagship. From their first meeting on, he treated Magellan and Faleiro with scornful insolence.

The Concepción and the Victoria were likewise given to men who knew nothing of the sea, who came recommended to Bishop Fonseca primarily by their loyalty to himself and Cartagena and their antipathy toward the two Portuguese. Their names were, respectively, Gasper de Quesada and Luis de Mendoza. The latter was also appointed treasurer of the expedition, to march in lockstep with Cartagena. Only the Santiago, the smallest of the ships, was suffered to be given to a man who was actually a sailor, who had been chosen for his abilities rather than his loyalties. Juan Rodríguez Serrano had sailed across the Atlantic and back several times over the past twenty years. Capable in all things having to do with ships and the sea, steely-eyed under pressure, and possessed of no doubts about the right and proper chain of command, he would prove a vital friend and ally to Magellan. Ditto the no-nonsense Spanish soldier Gómez de Espinosa, the master-at-arms of the expedition, in charge of the 50 muskets and various other weapons and armor that were stowed in the ships’ holds. On a venture as plagued by as many contravening loyalties as this one, such a man was an essential ally indeed for Magellan to have.

While the original plan to sail before 1518 was out had always been wildly optimistic, the dilettantes within the expedition’s ranks and the constant infighting did the schedule no favors either. This extended voyage into the unknown with murky goals, precariously led by a shifty-looking foreigner, garnered an ill-starred reputation for itself in the ports of Spain, such that seamen were reluctant to sign up, even after the pot was sweetened with fairly exorbitant salaries. The fact was that there were plenty of other contracts out there for fit and able seamen in this burgeoning era of overseas empire, and most of them, if not exactly safe, were nonetheless safer,  not to mention better defined in all their details than a berth on one of these ships. Unable to find sufficient Spanish sailors, Magellan threw open the ranks to all comers, regardless of nationality, signing 23 Italians, 19 Frenchmen, 5 Greeks, 5 Flemings, a couple of Germans and Irishmen, and a single Englishman, Norwegian, and Austrian to sail alongside his 151 Spanish officers and crew.

He also wished to hire what struck Bishop Fonseca and his allies as an alarming number of Portuguese. An extended spat erupted when Magellan was told that he could take no more than five of his countrymen with him. The captain general protested stridently, and for once necessity trumped politics; at least 28 other Portuguese in addition to himself and Faleiro were hired in the end, constituting more than 10 percent of the total personnel. Most prominent among them was Estevão Gomes, who as pilot major — i.e., chief navigator — of the fleet was to stand at Magellan’s side on the quarterdeck of the Trinidad. One would have thought that their shared nationality and language would have made them fast friends, but this was not the case. Gomes had actually tried and failed to get a westward expedition similar to this one funded earlier, with himself as captain general, and he took his relegation to the status of subordinate with no good grace, treating Magellan almost as disrespectfully as Cartagena, Quesada, and Mendoza.

Magellan was no dunce; he could see the danger signals all around him, could see that his fleet was being deliberately primed for mutiny by Bishop Fonseca. If circumstances had been different, he might have been pleased when a Spanish court voided the old contract with Juan de Aranda, the Sevillian operator who had introduced him and his grand idea to King Charles’s court for the price of 12.5 percent of the proceeds. As it was, though, the dodgy deal which he had seen no other choice but to make was held up by Fonseca’s camp as yet another proof of his dubious moral character.

He complained directly to King Charles in long, surprisingly frank letters, but few remedies were forthcoming from that quarter, for that monarch was distracted by more immediately pressing matters. On January 12, 1519, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I died. Being the anointed successor to that throne as well as that of Spain, Charles, still not yet twenty years old, had to figure out how to get himself properly crowned in Germany without losing his grip on a still-restive Spain. He wound up arranging to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in absentia for the time being. He wouldn’t make his way to Germany — yet another alien culture, speaking yet another language which he didn’t! — until the second half of 1520. In the meanwhile, he watched from afar as the agitator Martin Luther exhorted the German people to defy the pope in Rome, the securer of a millennium-old religious and political order in Europe, the very order to which he was owed his titles and status. In the face of that existential crisis at home, voyages of discovery abroad suddenly seemed a rather trivial matter.

So, the preparations continued apace in Seville on terms that were now dictated almost solely by Bishop Fonseca. The ships’ holds were stuffed with food that had cost almost as much to procure as the vessels themselves — a testament both to the strange economics of Early Modern sea travel in general and to the agedness of these ships in particular. The bills of lading were dominated by two items: weak wine, whose alcohol content acted as a natural preservative in conditions that would quickly turn ordinary water foul, and hardtack, the dense and tasteless “sailor’s biscuits” that shattered many a rotten tooth, but that could remain edible essentially forever under almost any conditions — by some definitions of “edible,” that is. But in addition to these two staples of last resort, there were also barrels of flour for making more appetizing forms of bread, along with cheese, nuts, beans, rice, lentils, honey, jams and jellies, dried figs and other fruits, a variety of salted meats and fishes, even some living cows and pigs that would have to be slaughtered fairly quickly once the ships got underway, lest they eat up too much of the rest of the food.

The fleet was now slated to depart in September of 1519, not quite one year behind King Charles’s optimistic original wish. It had been obvious for some time that Rodriguo Faleiro was in no shape to join it, such that his official dismissal in July was more of a formality than anything. Surprisingly, though, Fonseca chose to carry it out with tact, even a measure of kindness. Faleiro was to stay behind, said the letter that arrived stamped with the seal of King Charles himself, to prepare a second, follow-up expedition that would confirm and consolidate the discoveries of the first. On that note of polite fiction, Faleiro bowed out of history. He would eventually return to Portugal, where he was interned for at least some span of time in a prison or a madhouse. He became a footnote at most to the story of his erstwhile partner whose name is still known to every schoolchild in the Western world. So thin is the line between greatness and obscurity.

Bishop Fonseca promoted Juan de Cartagena to Faleiro’s role as the expedition’s theorist-in-chief, even though his son knew no more of maps, charts, and astrolabes than he did of sailing in general. A plausible argument could be made that Magellan and Cartagena now enjoyed equal authority, as had Magellan and Faleiro — in theory, at any rate — prior to these latest changes in personnel. Undermined at every turn as he was, a more judicious man than Magellan might have simply given up and walked away — which was of course exactly the outcome desired by Fonseca. But the pugnacious soldier just couldn’t bring himself to do so. He had promised King Charles that he would sail west to Asia, and by God, he would do it, even if Charles himself no longer seemed to set much store by the voyage.

King Manuel of Portugal dispatched Ambassador Álvaro da Costa to try to dissuade his countryman one last time. He visited Magellan in the home of Diogo Barbosa, where the captain general and his wife were still living. His letter back to his king describes a dejected, vaguely pathetic figure who has been worn down to the nub by the backbiting and politicking, who has lost touch with all of the joy of his adventure and has only his fussy notions of duty left to fall back on.

Because this would be the last time I would speak with him, I wanted him to remember how, as his friend and a good Portuguese, I had tried to dissuade him from the great error he was about to make. After asking his pardon, lest what I was about to say should offend him, I reminded him how many times I had spoken to him, and how he had always responded with courtesy, and that his replies had always given me hope that, in the end, he would not do such a great disservice to Your Highness. I had told him to desist, for this road he was taking had as many dangers as Saint Catherine’s Wheel. Rather, he should return to his native land in the good graces of Your Highness, from whom he would always receive favors.

In this interview, I wanted to alert him to all the dangers that I saw, and the errors he was making. He replied that honor gave him no other choice than to continue with what he had begun. I answered that to win honor improperly, and with such infamy, was neither wisdom nor honor, but rather lack of both. He could be sure that the foremost among the gentry of Seville held him to be an ill-bred scoundrel, since, to the disservice of his true king and lord, he had undertaken such a venture. Worse, as he had been the one who had proposed, organized, and set it going, he could be certain that he was held a traitor for opposing Your Highness’s interests.

At this point, he replied that he saw the error he had made, but that he hoped to safeguard Your Highness’s interests and that, by this voyage, he would do you a real service. I replied that those who would believe such a thing did not understand what he proposed to do, for even if he should find what he expected without touching Your Highness’s dominions, it would do them great harm. At this point, he began to show contrition, saying how deeply this matter had affected him, but that nothing had happened to give him reason to leave a king who had shown him so much favor…

Costa went on to write in his letter to King Manuel that the ships earmarked for the expedition were “very old and patched up,” such that he would be “ill inclined to sail in them to the Canaries,” much less all the way to the New World and into the unknown seas beyond. He seemed almost ready to dismiss the whole affair as a bad business for those involved, and much ado about nothing for those who were not. His sovereign, however, was not so inclined. He began planning a bold if not brazen final gambit to stop the fleet after it sailed.

There arrived a late addition to the expedition during these worrisome latter days before its departure, one to whom every author who has ever written about it, myself included, owes an immense debt of gratitude. Antonio Pigafetta was a gregarious Venetian nobleman in his late twenties who had come to Spain as an adjunct to the pope’s ambassador to King Charles. Magellan’s plans inflamed his youthful yen for adventure as soon as he heard of them, so much so that he asked his employer whether he might be detached from his service in order to join the fleet. Doing so would enable him to write a first-hand account of the foreign lands it reached, one that would surely be of interest to the Holy Father and many others in the courts of Europe. Permission was granted, and so Pigafetta turned up out of the blue in Seville one day, armed only with letters of introduction from the papal ambassador. He ingratiated himself with Magellan — no mean feat in itself! — and soon talked himself aboard the Trinidad. The book he would go on to write is our best single source of information about the voyage by far; Pigafetta himself has gone down in history as a less fanciful, more trustworthy nautical equivalent to Marco Polo, that other famous Venetian traveler to Asia.

On August 9, 1519, in an elaborate Mass and ceremony conducted at Santa María de la Victoria, the traditional sailor’s church of Seville, the voyage was formally authorized and blessed by representatives of the Spanish king and the pope. Watching the proceedings, no one would have guessed how insecure Magellan’s position really was. He alone was presented with the royal banner of command, and the other captains and officers all swore an oath to obey his orders from first to last, whatever they might be.

The next morning, the five ships left Seville with no more public fanfare, drifting with the current at a snail’s pace down the Guadalquivir River to the village of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, situated at the point where the river empties into the Atlantic Ocean, 60 miles (100 kilometers) to the southwest of Spain’s most important port city. Neither Magellan nor any of his captains went with the ships, having all stayed behind to conduct their final business before the real departure. It seems likely that they were in such a hurry to get the ships out of Seville because some of their crew had already gotten cold feet and deserted to sign on with other, less chancy voyages. In Sanlúcar, such other gigs wouldn’t present such a temptation, reducing the risk of a trickle of desertions turning into a flood. Again, this says much about the mood of foreboding that had come to surround the expedition, a mood which no quantity of fine speeches, heartfelt prayers, and solemn oaths could entirely dispel. Even the happy-go-lucky outsider Pigafetta could pick up on it. “The masters and captains of the other ships of his company loved him not,” he writes in his book of the captain general. “I do not know the reason, unless it be that he was Portuguese and they were Spaniards, which peoples have long borne ill-will and malevolence toward one another.”

On August 24, Magellan filed an updated version of his last will and testament. Much of it seems predicated on the notion that, although he himself has died, his enterprise has succeeded, making his beneficiaries the heirs to a fortune accruing from the trade lanes that have been opened up thereby. Along with the expected dispensations to his wife, sister, and of course his children (one of whom is still unborn), he wishes to free his slave Enrique and provide him with a lifelong stipend. Then, too, there are to be generous endowments to a convent in Seville and a monastery in Barcelona. In a striking testimony to how complete a break Magellan saw himself as having made with Portugal, he asks that his funeral be held in Seville, and that his body, if it should be on-hand, be buried in the graveyard of Santa María de la Victoria rather than being returned to his homeland.

Soon after, Magellan said farewell to his pregnant wife and infant son and chartered a river galley with the other officers to join the fleet in Sanlúcar. Now, there was nothing left to do but wait for the brisk northeasterly winds that marked the transition from summer to autumn in this part of the world. These proved an unusually long time in coming this year, yet another omen of ill repute in the minds of superstitious sailors.

Finally, though, the wind began to blow as it ought to. On September 20, 1519, the ships filed out of the little harbor. Even now, the great voyage was arguably not really starting in earnest: this first leg was to carry them only as far as the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the northwestern coast of Africa that had been known already to the ancient Romans, one which was now either the most remote part of Spain proper or the nearest outpost of its overseas empire, depending on how you looked at it. Either way, this leg of the voyage was a routine bit of sailing, one that should take no more than a week.

Still, the ships were underway on the ocean at last, with sails fully unfurled, with open water in front of them and mainland Europe fading from view in their wake. On a beautiful day such as this one, bursting with the pristine splendor of nature, Magellan might have been tempted to imagine that he was leaving the venomous politics of Iberia behind along with the rest of Europe. But alas, this was not the case. There were good men aboard those ships, men of courage and conviction, intellect and principle. And yet the ships carried with them all of the sins and failings of humanity as well as they sailed into the azure-tinted West, bound for one of the more extraordinary adventures in human history.

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(A full listing of print and online sources used will follow the final article in this series.)

4 Comments for "Chapter 4: The Expedition"

  • Leo Vellés

    “King Charles ordered several his own royal bodyguards to stay close to Magellan and Faleiro”.
    I believe an “of” is missing between “several” and “his”.
    Another great chapter Jimmy

    • Jimmy Maher


  • Tom Chambers

    ‘…that biggest navigational conundrum still confronting sailors: that of how to calculate latitude…’ Pretty sure you mean longitude.

    Such a great story behind what schoolchildren learn as just the plain ‘fact’ of “1521 Magellan circumnavigated the globe.” Thanks!

    • Jimmy Maher

      Yes. Thanks!


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