Home >       History and Biography >       Laurence Bergreen: Over the Edge of the World
Site Map
Laurence Bergreen
Over the Edge of the World
Summary by Michael McGoodwin, prepared 2004

Poynter (Sir Edward John): Cave of the Storm Nymphs (1903, excerpt)
Sir Edward John Poynter: Cave of the Storm Nymphs (1903, excerpt)

Acknowledgement: This work has been summarized using the 2003 William Morrow edition.  Quotations are for the most part taken from that work, as are paraphrases of its commentary.   

Overall Impression: A highly entertaining and suspenseful book telling the story of a great and wily explorer who in the end was undone by his inflated ego and perhaps a touch of tropical madness.  Highly recommended.

Selected Characters in This Book

Non-Voyaging Characters

King Charles I of Spain (later Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor)
King Manuel of Portugal
Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca (Bishop of Burgos)
Cristóbal de Haro (financier of armada)
Ruy Faleiro (cosmographer who inspired the voyage)
Beatriz Barbosa (Magellan's wife)
Diogo Barbosa (Magellan's father-in-law)

Selected Members of the Armada de Molucca (c. 260 persons at departure):

Trinidad (flagship, nao)

Ferdinand Magellan (Captain General, Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, b. 1480, 
   dies at Mactan 1521)
Estêvão Gomes (pilot major, mutinies at Strait of Magellan and takes San Antonio back to Spain)
Gonzalo Gómez de Espinosa (master-at-arms, captain of Trinity after Brunei and on final voyage)
Francisco Albo (pilot)
Pedro de Valderrama
Ginés de Mafra (seaman)
Enrique de Malacca (slave to Magellan, from Malacca [not Molucca], escapes after Mactan and plots with Humabon)
Duarte Barbosa (supernumerary, later captain of Victoria, 
   co-commander of the armada after Mactan until killed at Humabon's feast)
Alvaro de Mesquita (Magellan's relative and supernumerary,
   assumes command of San Antonio from de Coca, captain after mutiny, 
   overpowered by mutiny led by Gomes and taken back to Spain)
Antonio Pigafetta (chronicler)
Cristóvão Rebêlo (Magellan's illegitimate son, dies at Mactan)

San Antonio (nao)

Juan de Cartagena (captain and inspector general, "nephew" [son] of Fonseca, mutineer, marooned on an island)
Antonio de Coca (accountant, "nephew" of Fonseca's brother, 
   assumes command until Mesquita receives it)
Andrés de San Martín (astrologer, pilot, replaced Faleiro per Fonseca, tortured after mutiny, 
   killed after Mactan)
Juan de Elorriaga (master, murdered in mutiny)
Gerónimo Guerra (clerk, mutinies at Strait of Magellan and returns to Spain)
Bernard de Calmette (Pero Sánchez de la Reina, chaplain, marooned on an island as a mutineer)

Concepción (nao)

Gaspar de Quesada (captain, appointee of Fonseca, mutineer, executed)
João Lopes Carvalho (pilot, father of Brazilian Joãozito, Captain General after Mactan, 
   deposed after Brunei, captain of Trinidad after the Moluccas)
Juan Sebastián Elcano (master, Basque, unofficial head of expedition after Brunei,
   commands Victoria on return from Moluccas to Spain)
Juan de Acurio (mate)
Hernando Bustamente (barber [serving also as a surgeon, dentist, doctor])
Joãozito Carvalho (cabin boy, killed in Brunei)
Martin de Magalhães (super)

Victoria (nao)

Luis de Mendoza (captain, appointee of Fonseca, mutineer slain during mutiny by Espinosa)
Vasco Gomes Gallego (pilot)
Antonio Salamón (master, executed in Brazil)
Miguel de Rodas (mate)

Santiago (caravel)

Juan Rodríguez Serrano (captain, later captain of Concepción, , co-commander of the armada after Mactan)
Baltasar Palla (master)
Bartolomé Prieur (mate)


The return of the tattered ship Victoria and its skeleton crew on 6 September 1522 (per the Gregorian calendar) at Sanlúcar de Barrameda in SW Spain informs the world of the first successful circumnavigation of the globe and the price paid by those that made the voyage.

Chapter 1: The Quest

The division of the world for colonization in 1494 by Pope Alexander VI.  The finalization in 1506 of the Treaty of Tordesillas establishes a vertical North-South line granting territories to the west to Spain and to the east to Portugal.  The line was at 46 degrees 30' W, 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa.  Some confusion over whether the line continues to the other side of the world, not to mention the impossibility of determining longitude at the time.  The extent of the Pacific Ocean was not known at this time.  The trade in precious spices--cloves, nutmeg/mace, and cinnamon (but also pepper, myrrh, frankincense, cassia)--was monopolized by the Arabs and other middlemen, in whose hands the goods increased many times in price before reaching Europe.  Overland routes were interrupted in 1453 by the fall of Constantinople to the Turks.  The spices came from the Spice Islands (Moluccas), whose exact location was not public knowledge.  Initial explorations of western Africa and opening of trade by Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal.  His academy at Sagres (SW tip of Portugal).  Caravels with lateen sails allowed sailing close to the wind.  Explorations proceed beyond Cape Bojador in west Africa by Gil Eannes 1434, initiating the Age of Discovery.  1488 Bartolomeu Dias reaches southernmost tip of Africa (Cape of Good Hope) and Vasco da Gama (1497-8) sails around it and reaches the west coast of India (Goa and Calicut).  

Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães)--his early years and career.  His patron King João dies, and the new king Manuel I mistrusts him.  On his voyage to India he demonstrates his valor in combat.  He is involved in the Portuguese struggle for dominance in North Africa 1513.  Magellan is Quixote-like.  His legal problems, and rejection by the king.  His friend and cosmologer Ruy Faleiro jointly promote a voyage to seek the Spice Islands.  He emigrates to Spain 1517, becomes a subject of Charles I.  The high tensions between Spain and Portugal.    Magellan marries Diogo Barbosa's daughter, Beatriz.  The role of the powerful Casa de Contratación, or House of Commerce, controlled by Fonseca (Bishop of Burgos).  Magellan and Faleiro pitch their voyage to the King at Valladolid, drawing on the letters of Francisco Serrão which describe the wonders of the Spice Islands (his voyage there began in 1511).  Magellan's slave, Enrique, is thought to be from there, but actually Malacca.  Maps and geographic information are closely guarded secrets, and Magellan has brought some over from the Portuguese.  Magellan's conceptions about the world significantly underestimate it's size.  King Charles I grants a contract to Magellan 1518 with generous provisions that are not fully intended to be met and a tacit understanding that the Treaty of Tordesillas terms would probably be broken.  Fonseca plans revenge against the ambitious Magellan.  The voyage will be called the Armada of Molucca, after the Indonesian name for the Spice Islands.  

The 5 ships are described in detail: 4 naos and 1 caravel (Santiago).  Financing by Haro and the German House of Fugger.  Magellan and Faleiro are to be co-captains.

Chapter 2: The Man Without a Country

King Manuel of Portugal is alarmed upon hearing of Magellan's commission, but Magellan refuses to return or relent.  The ships are outfitted in Sevilla on the Guadalquivir [Arabic=Great River] River.  Description of Seville, its huge cathedral, religious life, etc.  A mob  attacks Magellan, alarmed that he is leading the expedition though he is not Spanish.  The Spaniard Juan de Cartagena is appointed inspector general for the armada, a dilution of Magellan's power and trouble in the making.  The king has instructed Magellan that he may enslave Arabs only in the Portuguese hemisphere but not Christians, he is to have no contact with local women.  King Manuel makes efforts to subvert the expedition.  Faleiro is in a precarious mental state, perhaps bipolar, and is removed from participation, and replaced by Fonseca with San Martín.  Fonseca's plotting by means of appointments, persecution of Juan de Aranda (who aided Magellan).

The ship's provisions, foods, hardtack, wine, salt, vinegar, etc.  Objections are made to the non-Spanish crew members, but nevertheless Magellan takes aboard about 40 Portuguese including his relatives Alvaro de Mesquita and Cristóvão Rebêlo (his illegitimate son).  The Venetian scholar Antonio Pigafetta is taken as a supernumerary--he will create the best chronicle of the voyage, a candid personal diary.  He is a type of Sancho Panza to Magellan's Quixote, level-headed and always diplomatic.  Albo, the Trinidad pilot, will also keep a good logbook.  Magellan makes his will and provides carefully for his wife.  Magellan and his relatives are dishonored in Portugal.

Chapter 3: Neverlands

On August 10, 1519, the fleet begins to sail from Sevilla with about 237 + 20 = 257 men and no women, trying to avoid the Moorish pirates in the area.  They reach Sanlúcar de Barrameda at the mouth of the river.  Uncertainty about the destination and route of the voyage.  They set out to sea September 20, 1519.  Discussion of mythical threats, Pliny the Elder Natural History, the state of maps of the world at this time (e.g., the "T in O" maps).  Tales of Prester John, the mythical Christian king in India and Asia  The effects of the Travels of Marco Polo (c. 1298, partly embellished) and the Travels of Sir John Mandeville (a book of marvels, quite embellished).  François Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532)  poked fun at the unreliable accounts of antiquity.  Magellan represented the new attitude of looking for one's self (autopsis) what comprised the world.

They reach the Canary Islands (known to Pliny as the Fortunate Islands) in late September.  The locals swindle Magellan's fleet when they take on provisions.  Magellan also learns there that the King of Portugal has sent 2 fleets in pursuit, and (from his father-in-law's letter) that the Castilian captains including de Cartagena plan to mutiny at the earliest chance.  They depart hastily October 3.  They pass Cape Verde (islands west of Senegal), taking evasive action and sailing day and night, hugging the African coast to avoid the enemy rather than heading across the Atlantic.  They witness sharks, flying fish, storms, and St. Elmo's fire (which they regard as a favorable omen).

Chapter 4: The Church of the Lawless

They are in need of repair and low on food, so the crew is placed on reduced rations.  Cartagena begins to exhibit rebellious and defiant behavior.  Antonio Salamón (master of Victoria) is brought before a court martial and condemned to death for sodomizing a cabin boy.  While the ships are becalmed, the future mutineers hatch their plot--captains Cartagena, Quesada, and Mendoza (but not the Santiago's captain Serrano.).  Cartagena refuses to take orders from Magellan, but his co-conspirators do not back him up.  Magellan orders Cartagena held aboard the Victoria by Mendoza and he is relieved of his command of San Antonio--this passes to de Coca.  They sail toward Rio de Janeiro, where João Lopes Carvalho (Concepción's pilot) has previously visited in 1512, and he is made pilot of Trinidad.  They reach Rio December 13, 1519 after first landfall two weeks earlier at Cape Saint Augustine on the coast of Brazil.  Review of earlier expeditions reaching Brazil--Pinzon (1499), Cabral (1500), Amerigo Vespucci (1502)--and the valuable brazilwood which was exploited there.  Discussion of Brazilian native customs including cannibalism.  Pigafetta's impressions of the local Guaraní: cannibalism, sexual orgies with the crew.  Barbosa's abortive attempt to jump ship.  Provisioning the ships.  Antonio Salamón is executed by strangulation--Ginovés, his cabin boy and victim also somehow dies.  Difficulties in determining longitude.  de Coca is replaced by Mesquita as commander of San Antonio.  Carvalho takes aboard his native son Joãozito, but Magellan will not allow his Brazilian wife to join him.  They sail in December, passing Paranaguá Bay, reaching Cape Santa María by January 10.  They are reaching the end of their reliable maps.

The arduous and cramped life aboard the ships is described--their food, chants, books, clothing, pests, division of labor and named positions, hygiene, patron saints, the provisions of the Spanish maritime code (Consulado del Mare, formallly compiled in 1494), what motivated men to go to sea. 

Storms force them to turn back, intending to return to Paranaguá Bay, but instead they end up at the mouth of the Río de la Plata [which forms the boundary between Uruguay and Argentina, location of Montevideo and Buenos Aires].  This river fails to be the sought-after waterway to Asia, and Magellan's efforts to explore it were hampered by weather.  

Previous explorers including the Portuguese explorer Antonio Galvão had searched for the reputed strait to the Indies there, the so-called "Dragon's Taile".  The expedition of Juan de Solis and Vicente Pinzón (1506) had failed.  The Portuguese Estêvão Froes and João de Lisboa had sailed in 1511 and returned to describe a strait which was probably the Strait of Magellan.  The Spanish conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa had glimpsed the Pacific Ocean on September 13, 1513 from the western shore of what is now Panama.  Juan de Solis had returned to Brazil in 1515, but he and six others in his landing party were slain by natives.

Magellan's ships are approached by Indian canoes at the Río de la Plata, and a brief contact is made.  They sail past 40 degrees latitude, into more severe weather.  Victoria's hull is damaged on a shoal.  They reach San Matías Gulf, on the coast of Argentina (c. 42 degrees), on February 23, 1520.  

Chapter 5: The Crucible of Leadership

Magellan's leadership of the armada is in question, and is to be sorely tested.  They continue sailing toward Bahía Blanca (? c. 38 degrees), but again find no strait.  They encounter penguins ("geese"), sea lions and sea elephants ("sea wolves"), St. Elmo's fire, more storms.  They reach the Bay of Toil, push further south, finally decide to overwinter at Port Saint Julian at c. 49 degrees.  Magellan is worried that he has strayed into Portuguese territory.  The seamen are placed on short rations, and become insubordinate.  Magellan gives a speech to bolster the determination of his wavering crew.  A conspiracy is hatched around Easter, April 1, 1520.  Magellan learns he is to be killed, and craftily assesses the loyalties of his captains.  Quesada, Mendoza, Elcano, and Cartagena join in a mutiny assisted by about 30 men.  Some board the San Antonio, take control, and place Mesquita in irons.  Elorriaga is murdered.  Magellan agrees to meet with them aboard the San Antonio, while hatching a ruse to win back the Victoria.  Mendoza is slain, and the Victoria is reclaimed.  Magellan blocks the inlet, arranges to entrap Quesada in the Concepcíon.  Trinidad attacks and recaptures Concepcíon, Quesada is arrested and Cartagena imprisoned.  Mendoza's body is drawn and quartered, and body parts including the skull impaled on spits for the others to see for several months.  Discussion of torture, the Spanish Inquisition under Tomás de Torquemada.  Magellan's inquisition.  Mesquita becomes captain of San Antonio and conducts the trials of the mutineers.  San Martín undergoes the torture called strappado, Hernando Morales' limbs are disjointed and he later dies from these injuries.  Forty men are sentenced to death, but these sentences are commuted to hard labor.  Quesada is executed and drawn and quartered.  Cartagena hatches yet another plot, but Magellan is reluctant to execute him.  They discover that their provisions are less than expected, due to dishonest chandlers in Seville and the Canary Islands.  

Chapter 6: Castaways

Magellan sends out Serrano and the Santiago to search for the strait.  This ship dallies at Santa Cruz, where food is plentiful. Eventually it ends up shipwrecked, and some of the crew heroically trek back to the armada.  Magellan sends a rescue party to recover the others safely.  Magellan appoints Barbosa as captain of Victoria, and Serrano to captain Concepción.  They pass a severe winter at Port Saint Julian.  They encounter a "giant", a member of the Tehuelche tribe, other men and giant women, and guanacos.  Pigafetta, always interested in native languages and customs, befriends and studies the giant, who has been placed in chains along with another, to be held as gifts to King Charles.  Magellan names the local Indians Pathagoni (Bigfeet Indians, alluding to dogs with great paws), from which the name Patagonia derives.  Indians attack with poisoned arrows, killing Diego Barrasa.  Pigafetta baptizes one of the giants John.  On August 11, 1520, Magellan orders Cartagena and the conspiratorial priest Pero Sánchez de la Reina marooned on a small island.  They depart to head south August 24, 1520.

Chapter 7: Dragon's Tail

Strait of Magellan, detail from NASA Visible Earth project photo 2003

Magellan pauses at Santa Cruz because of storms, and they take on more fish.  Re-embarking October 18, 1520, and come upon the Strait of Magellan October 21 at c. 52 degrees, demarcated by the Cape of Eleven Thousand Virgins (modern Cabo Virgenes).  Digression on extant maps, the unknown Pacific.  They spend much time trying to navigate the circuitous 300 miles to the Pacific, through 24 foot tides and numerous channels and a maze of islands.  Magellan sees fires in the distance, and calls the land Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire--actually a large triangular storm-lashed island).  They pass glaciers with deep blue ice, view the Southern Cross in the heavens.  Gomes, now pilot of San Antonio, wants to go back.  San Antonio fails to meet back up with Magellan's ships (did it even try?), eventually mutinies under Gomes and Guerra (overpowering Mesquita), and turns back to Spain.  Efforts to find the San Antonio are unsuccessful.  Magellan  consults with Duarte Barbosa, fearing yet another mutiny.  San Martin urges that they continue on for a while.  Magellan orders the voyage to proceed, and they reach the "Western Sea" (Pacific Ocean) c. November 28, 1520.  They begin to sail northward along the western coast of Chile.

Chapter 8: A Race Against Death

They are now about 200 men in 3 ships.  They catch fish: dorado, albacore, and bonito, as well as flying fish.  Pigafetta observes the Magellanic Clouds--Nubecula Major and Minor (nearby galaxies).  At around Santiago, they deviate and begin to sail west away from South America.  The trade winds carry the rapidly across the vast Pacific.  Pigafetta attempts to learn the Tehuelche language, introduces his giant to Catholicism, learns about Setebos (the great devil).  The giant is baptized as Paul, dwindles, and dies at sea.  His description becomes the basis of Shakespeare's Caliban in The Tempest.  They encounter few islands crossing the Pacific: they sail east of the Juan Fernández Islands; north of Easter Island, the Marshall's, and the Society Islands and Tahiti; south of the Marquesa's and Christmas Island.  They are tormented by thirst and hunger.  Scurvy sets in.  History of scurvy, the Arab use of oranges, European attribution to bad air, James Lind and the British Royal Navy limeys, sparing of Magellan and the other officers by their quince preserves.  Their first potential landfall is San Pablo, which proves to be inaccessible, and they reach another also inaccessible island, probably one of the Caroline Island in Micronesia, February 4, 1521.  They cross the equator Feb. 13, reach the Marianas Islands on March 6.

Chapter 9: A Vanished Empire

They pass what was probably Rota and finally land at Guam, after 98 days at sea and a voyage across 7,000 miles of the Pacific.  The natives (Chamorros) come out in proas--highly maneuverable outrigger canoes with lateen sails--and welcome them.   The natives steal what they can, fight, but also feed the sailors, trade for goods, steal the skiff.  Magellan orders a landing party to burn houses and attack the natives, recovering  the skiff.  In actuality, the bellicose ways of the islanders were mainly ritualistic.  Magellan named these the Island of the Thieves, but the author diplomatically suggests a more accurate name would be the Islands of the Sharers.  The armada departs March 9 and the natives become angry, attacking the ships.  A crew member is slain.  Discussion about native understanding of navigation via clouds, the star compass, etc.  They sail west and arrive near Samar on March 16, 1521 in the Philippines at Suluan Island and on Homonhom Island.  Digression regarding Chinese and Arab traders preceding them by centuries: the Chinese Treasure Fleet of 1405-1453 led by Cheng Ho, their withdrawal from trade abroad, the trade vacuum into which Portugal and Spain entered.  Magellan claims the Philippines, later named Las Islas Filipinas.  Contact with friendly natives, palm wine, growing intimacy with women, trade in spices hinting of the Moluccas.  They sail WSW into the Philippine archipelago.  Enrique addresses some natives in a Malay dialect successfully.  They are hospitably received at Limasawa Island (S of Leyte Island), and Enrique negotiates for more food with Rajah Kolambu.  The Rajah becomes blood brother to Magellan, with whom he feels a kinship.  Display of Spanish weapons and armor.  The luxury of this trading island.  Tatoos, gold, betel, women and exotic foods.  Magellan introduces Christian religion, a cross is erected.  Magellan wants to push on for Cebu for more provisions.  Large bats at Gatigan.  

Chapter 10: The Final Battle

They reach Cuba in the Philippines April 7, 1521.  The king Rajah Humabon demands tribute, Magellan refuses, the impasse is eventually broken, and he also becomes blood brothers with Magellan.  Introduction of Christianity.  Cebuan women consort with the crew.  Feast.  Magellan is regarded as a god.  The bizarre sexual custom of palang, emphasis on sexual pleasure.  Polygamy, infanticide, abortions.  Barter.  The Europeans force mass baptisms at threat of death, and 2,200 souls are converted. Magellan is increasingly zealous for religious conversion, threatens to kill those chieftains who defy his crusade.  The neighboring small island of Mactan is attacked, a hamlet burned.  Magellan demands that all idols be burned.  Magellan even claims that a sick native can be healed by the power of Christianity, or otherwise he would allow Humabon to behead him!--fortunately, the man does make a gradual recovery.  Magellan becomes further inflamed with Biblical fervor.  Mactan and its chief Sula invite Magellan to visit, but Sula advises him of the resistance of the chieftain Lapu Lapu.  Magellan unwisely offers to interfere in the local struggle for dominance, agrees to war against Lapu Lapu on behalf of Sula.  His men question Magellan's judgment, Serrano argues passionately against this intervention, but Magellan cannot be swayed.  The Spaniards attack on April 27, 1521, led by Magellan, who has advised the Cebuans to hold back so that he can demonstrate Spanish prowess.  Lapu Lapu refuses to yield, and Magellan and his small band find themselves unexpectedly confronted by 1,500 armed warriors coming from the village Magellan has just destroyed.  Magellan is wounded, finally slain.  His crew fails to come to his rescue in a timely manner, perhaps intentionally.  His body is hacked to pieces and left in the tide to wash up upon Mactan--nothing of him or his armor was ever recovered.  Pigafetta, who fought at his side, eulogizes his fallen hero.  Eight men from the armada have been killed.  Most believe Magellan courted death by unnecessarily picking a quarrel, squandering lives and resources, deluded by feelings of omnipotence and consumed with a thirst for glory, a visionary whose instincts outran his ideals.  Even today, Lapu Lapu is commemorated in the Philippines, whereas Magellan is loathed.

Chapter 11: Ship of Mutineers

The armada regroups, relieved at the death of the demanding Captain General.  Barbosa and Serrano are elected co-commanders.  Enrique declares his freedom, and upon meeting resistance, he flees and begins to plot with Humabon.  A feast for the leaders is planned by Humabon though actually a trap, and on arrival the Europeans are attacked (May 1, 1521).  27 European men die, and Serrano is taken hostage.  They learn also that Barbosa and San Martin are dead.  The ships sail, abandoning Serrano to his captors.

On May 6, 1521, the mutineers aboard the San Antonio arrive in Seville.  They twist and distort the facts to blame Magellan and excuse themselves.  They had failed to return to rescue Cartagena and the priest.  Mesquita is jailed and falls under the heaviest suspicion, while the others are freed.  Magellan's wife Beatriz is placed under house arrest, and she is deprived of the expected financial support owed her.  Diogo Barbosa also is forced to give up property.  Meanwhile, Faleiro lives out his days in obscurity.  

Charles I becomes Holy Roman Emperor with the help of the corrupt Pope Leo X--however, Charles must pay dearly for the title.  Revolt is brewing in Spain

Chapter 12: Survivors

The survivors in the Philippines believe they are too short-handed to man all the ships, and unwisely decide to burn Concepcíon May 21, 1521.  Espinosa is placed in command of Victoria, Carvalho is made Captain General.  They focus on their commercial goals and searching for the Spice Islands.  They navigate the labyrinth of the Philippine archipelago, passing Mindanao (the largest island).  There, the ruler Calanoa hosts Pigafetta, who observes great wealth.  They wander west into the Sulu sea and arrive at Caghaian (Cayayan) Island.  They encounter predatory "Moors" from Borneo, who fortunately leave them alone.  They are increasingly short of food.  At Palawan (a large western Philippine island), they taken on food in what they regard as a tropical paradise.  By June 21, they depart with the aid of 3 pilots captured from a balanghai.  These Arabs take them SW toward Brunei on the island of Borneo rather than SE to the Moluccas.  There they are generously received, mistaken for the Portuguese with whom they had traded.  Ashore, the invited guests observe an advanced civilization with a written language led by a Moorish king Rajah Siripada, elephants, kowtowing, comfortable mattresses, and of greatest interest spices including cinnamon and cloves, along with numerous Chinese wares, giant pearls, etc.  Some of the men fail to return from the trip ashore, including Carvalho's son, Elcano, and Espinosa.  The armada is at one point surrounded by junks and proas, and fighting ensues.  They Europeans capture a junk and discover that the captain is from Luzon, whose king is related to the Brunei king.  Carvalho releases the captured captain after receiving a bribe.  Carvalho keeps Brunei hostages to retaliate against the hostage-taking by Rajah Siripada, including 3 women whom he uses for a personal harem (a breach of protocol which Magellan would have never allowed).  Eventually, Elcano and Espinosa are released, but Carvalho learns that his son has been killed, and 2 other men have deserted.  Carvalho is relieved of command after Brunei, and Martín Méndez becomes the fifth Captain General, Gonzalo Gómez de Espinoza the captain of Trinity, while Juan Sebastián Elcano serves as the  unofficial head of the expedition.

Departing Brunei, the Trinidad runs aground, reflecting a lack of discipline that Magellan would not have tolerated.  They must lay over to make hull repairs at Cimbonbon.  There, they encounter wild boars, large crocodiles, and leaf-like insects.  They depart September 27.  They capture a Pulaoan junk, sack it, and take the local ruler hostage, demanding food and provisions.  They also encounter the Bajau tribe on Monoripa island near Mindanao--they are a waterborne tribe of sea gypsies who had developed a trade in sea cucumbers (trepang) with the Chinese.  There they also see their first cinnamon tree.  Later, they attack a large proa, and kill seven of the men aboard, by now desensitized to the frequent and killing.  They have captured the brother of Mindanao's ruler, and use him to guide them SE toward the Moluccas.  They pass a cannibal tribe, the Manobos.  Taking on more hostages, they pass the Karkaralong group of islands (S of Mindinao).  After storms and other mishaps, they finally cross the Molucca Sea and arrive at the Moluccas (Spice Islands) November 6, 1521: four small volcanic island Ternate, Tidore, Motir, and Makian, along with the larger Bacan (there are many more island in the group currently called the Moluccas).  

Chapter 13: Et in Arcadia Ego

On November 8, 1521, they arrive in the harbor of Tidore.  Their King Almanzor welcomes the ships, lavishes hospitality on them.  He is very familiar with the Portuguese from earlier trade, and now wishes to give his allegiance to Spain (though this violates the Treaty of Tordesillas).  Review of Portuguese efforts to break the Arab monopoly on spices, the conflict between Tidore and Ternate.  They tour the lovely landscape.  The fate of Juan Serrão: he had taken sides (just as Magellan had) between rival powers, in this case Tidore versus Ternate, and was poisoned on the order of Almanzor.  Ternate also attempts to court an alliance with the armada.  The Muslim king's many children.  They proceed to trade goods for tons of spices.  Serrão's former companion Pedro Alfonso de Lorosa arrives by proa, and informs them of the Portuguese armada in pursuit of the illegal Spanish armada.  From him, they also learn of the extent of the secret trade between Portugal and the Moluccas--this explains King Manual's refusal to allow Magellan to embark on his proposed voyage.  Discussion of cloves, nutmeg.  The men wish to depart, but Almanzor wants them to delay, to involve them in local politics and especially to save face with neighboring rulers.  While they stay on, the crew learns that the lesser chiefs are urging Almanzor to kill the Europeans to please the Portuguese.  The son of Ternate's king arrives to lure Lorosa aboard, but he refuses.  The king of Bacan arrives and a banquet is given.  They taken on more cloves, and some dead birds of paradise are given to them.  The Trinidad, whose upkeep had been neglected, begins to leak, putting the cargo in danger.  They debate what to do, and decide to send Victoria on the western route back to Spain, led by Elcano.  Some crew members refuse to board the dilapidated boat.  Carvalho stays behind to captain the Trinidad, which is to undergo repairs and then sail later on the eastern return route.  Victoria departs December 21, 1521--Pigafetta is aboard.

Chapter 14: Ghost Ship

The Victoria carries as much cloves as possible, along with 60 men.  They are focused now on survival, fearful of cannibals and the poor condition of the ship.  They sail the Banda Sea (south of the Moluccas) and pass through the Alor Strait [?south of the Banda Sea], lay up at Malua to make hull repairs, arrive January 25 at Timor.  There, two crew members desert.  Discussion of syphilis, which was observed there and in the Moluccas (or was it leprosy?).  They take more hostages, depart Timor February 11 and sail toward Java.  Javanese practices.  They are now on the open ocean heading for Cape of Good Hope.  History of its exploration.  Victoria begins to leak badly, and they stop at Amsterdam Island (c. 37 degrees south) to make repairs.  

Trinidad departs Tidore on its ill-fated voyage April 6, 1522, laden with spice and commanded by the inexperienced Espinosa.  They leave four men behind to establish a trading post at Tidore.  They arrive at the Island of the Thieves, sail north of the latitude of Japan, experience scurvy, and finally turn back to the Moluccas, arriving after seven months.  The Portuguese armada, led by António de Brito has arrived, has imprisoned the four men left behind, and has won back the allegiance King Almanzor.  After receiving their desperate plea for help, Brito captures the Trinidad and imprisons Espinosa and his men, sailing the ship to Ternate.  A storm finally sinks the sad remains of the stripped ship in October 1522.  The logs of the ship provide evidence of the Spanish route through Portuguese waters, and Brito plans revenge.  Lorosa is beheaded, and the crew members are put to work in leg irons constructing a fortress.

Meanwhile Elcano is struggling to round the Cape of Good Hope, which he succeeds at on May 22, 1522.  Heading north, they cross the equator and suffer scurvy.  They learn for the first time at Santiago Island that they have gained a day.  They struggle to elude hostile Portuguese ships.  Only 22 men remain in this ship by July 15, 1522.  They pass the Canary Islands, pumping constantly to keep water out of the leaking hold.  There may have been an attempted mutiny.  They arrive at Seville September 10, 1522 after a circumnavigation of about 60,000 miles [though the Earth's circumference is about  25,000 miles].  Their small but precious cargo of cloves has paid for the armada, a water route to the Moluccas has been established for the Spanish, and mankind will never think the same about the world, now much larger than previously known and with a huge ocean.  The sailors do penance and the 18 survivors are commemorated: Elcano, Albo, Bustamente, Pigafetta, etc.

Chapter 15: After Magellan

The Large Magellanic Cloud, detail from photo by Eckhard Slawik 1 Jul 2004

The king receives Elcano, Albo and Bustamente on Oct. 18, 1522.  Elcano distorts the facts of the mutiny, condemning Magellan.  He receives a royal pardon. Gradually differing versions of the expedition emerge: Pigafetta champions Magellan  Pigafetta publishes his "Relation" in a Venetian dialect.  Magellan remains despised in Spain and especially Portugal, though admired in England.  Only four members of the Trinidad crew return to Europe.  Espinosa eventually returns to Seville, only to be jailed there though finally released.  De Marfa returns to learn his wife has remarried and spent his estate, so he returns to sea and the Philippines.  The issues of longitude of the Moluccas' position remains unresolved, and both Spain and Portugal claim them.  Subsequent armadas to the Moluccas. To pay debts, King Charles I eventually bargains them away to the Portuguese in 1529.  Sir Francis Drake completes the next circumnavigation in 1580. Victoria is returned to commercial service, and sinks with all hands in 1570 in the Antilles. Subsequent mapping of the Strait of Magellan and the naming of the Magellanic clouds in honor of Magellan commemorate the leader of the greatest sea voyage in the Age of Discovery.