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Saturday, September 25, 2021
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Tracing Magellan’s expedition from Spain to the Philippines

Photo from The National Quincentennial Committee (NQC)

THIS year, the world celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Ferdinand Magellan-Sebastian Elcano expedition and the 500th anniversary of the birth of Christianity in the Philippines.

As we celebrate this special anniversary of the first global voyage, let us trace this momentous expedition from Spain to the Philippines 500 years ago.

Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, believed that there was a westward route to reach the Spice Islands.

Magellan's proposal was then accepted by King Charles of Spain and helped him assemble an expedition with 270 crew members and five ships, namely Trinidad, San Antonio, Conception, Victoria, and Santiago.

Sept. 20, 1519

The voyage begins. Magellan and his crew depart from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, and cross the Atlantic to reach Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Sept. 26, 1519

Magellan and his crew sail southwestward and reach the Canary Islands to take in provisions. A fast-sailing ship overtakes him, bringing a message from his father-in-law who warns him of treachery among his men.

Dec. 13, 1519

Magellan and his men enter Rio de Janeiro. Magellan names the place "Santa Lucia" because upon reaching the island it is Santa Lucia's Day. Here they trade with the local tribes. They exchange their stuff for food and water.

March 31, 1520

Magellan continues his expedition going south until winter storms came and force him to stay in Puerto San Julian in Argentina.

April 1, 1520

A mutiny breaks out. This is led by Quesada, the captain of Conception; Mendoza, captain of Victoria; and Cartagena, captain of San Antonio. Juan Sebastian de Elcano also participated.

Magellan handles the situation and serves justice to the guilty. Quesada is executed, Cartagena and Father Sanchez de la Reyna are marooned on the coast. The 40 men who joined the mutiny, including Elcano, are pardoned.

End of the April

The ship Santiago is sent on another mission to find a passage. The ship is caught in a storm and is wrecked.

Oct. 21, 1520

Magellan arrives at the Cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, known today as the Strait of Magellan.

Nov. 28, 1520

Magellan begins his trans-pacific voyage with only three ships. During the expedition, Magellan and his crew are lost in the Pacific for more than three months.

The crew members go mad due to sickness and hunger that forces them to eat worms, rats, sawdust, and water-soaked leather. They suffer scurvy. Nineteen of his men die and 30 of them become very ill.

Still, Magellan continues his voyage and finds two barren and uninhabited islets, which he calls the "Unfortunate Island."

March 16, 1521

After being lost in the Pacific for more than three months, Magellan sights an island in Samar at the dawn of March 16, 1521. Some call this event the “discovery of the Philippines."

Note: "Discovery of the Philippines" is a term used by foreigners. Our ancestors have long been in the Philippines and already had a connection with different people and countries.

March 17, 1521

Magellan lands in Homonhon.

March 18, 1521

Magellan and his hungry crew are welcomed by our ancestors from the neighboring island of Saluan. They feed the foreigners bananas, fish coconuts, and palm wine.

March 25, 1521

Magellan leaves Homonhon. During his expedition, Magellan is caught in a storm, forcing him to sail south. He seeks shelter from the typhoon at the northeast tip of Mindanao toward Butuan Bay.

March 28, 1521

Magellan lands in Masao, Butuan, Agusan Del Norte, which is ruled by King Raha Kolambu. Upon Magellan's arrival, Kolambu and his brother are hunting. Kolambu welcomes Magellan.

March 29, 1521

A blood compact is made between Magellan and King Kolambu to seal their newfound friendship and brotherhood. This is the first blood compact recorded in the country.

March 31, 1521

The first Catholic mass is held on Limasawa island. The mass is officiated by Rev. Pedro de Valderama, the fleet chaplain. The mass is attended by Magellan, King Kolambu, Siagu, Spanish voyagers, and fellow Filipinos.

April 7, 1521

After he is directed by King Kolambu, Magellan lands in Cebu that is ruled under Raha Humabon. On the same day, Magellan and Humabon make a blood compact.

April 14, 1521

A mass is held in Cebu. After the mass, Magellan plants a wooden cross that still exists today and is now known as the Magellan's Cross.

Hara Amihan, the wife of Raha Humabon, is baptized along with 800 natives. Hara Amihan is then named Queen Juana in honor of King Charles I’s mother, Juana.

Before her baptism, Queen Juana is presented with a small sculpture, the image of the Santo Niño. This event marks the foundation of the Sinulog dances wherein Queen Juana holds the Sto. Niño in her arms and blesses her people.

April 27, 1521

Magellan invades Mactan with his army of 60 Spaniards from the three vessels and 1,000 Cebuano warriors. His goal is to defeat Datu Lapu-Lapu. On this day, the battle of Mactan happens.

Though Magellan and his men are armed, they are greatly outnumbered.

Magellan is wounded in his right leg by a poison arrow and a bamboo spear is pierced to his face. Falling on his face, Magellan is killed by Lapu-Lapu and his men.

After the death of Magellan, his men flee Mactan.

Lapu-Lapu is then named the first Filipino hero who fought for freedom.


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