Emilee Bell


Dependable, Laurence Bergreen, Intermediate, Explorers, History, Portugal, Spain, Magellan

Document Type

Book Review


Failure after failure drives Ferdinand Magellan to forsake his native Portugal and fly under Spanish colors in the name of fame, fortune, and exploration. Political intrigue sows doubts of the feasibility of his quest, but eventually, Magellan becomes commander of an armada aiming to find a faster route to the Spice Islands. On the sea, Magellan finds no respite. Mired in the center of Portugal-Spanish political conflict, Magellan maneuvers through ocean storms while diplomatic tempests never wane. One by one, the Armada de Molucca sheds men and ships as a result of storms, scurvy, mutinies, and conflicts with natives until Magellan himself is slaughtered on the sands of an island in the name of Christianity. Only one of the five ships limp back to Spain, making the crew, not Magellan, the first to circumvent the globe.