The story of Magellan's voyage around the world is one of almost uninterrupted adventure and peril. His men faced harrowing hardships, storms, mutiny, disease, starvation, sunstroke, shipwreck, cowardice and desertion, treachery, savage warfare, and vicious national jealousies. Yet at great cost they prevailed over all obstacles and after three year's one of Magellan's ships returned to Spain with only 18 of the 250 who set forth. This book follows one of the greatest adventure stories of all time and introduces dozens of fascinating indigenous peoples the Spanish encountered in their voyages.
MAGELLAN LEAVING HOME.
Magellan performed a voyage far more difficult, perilous, and uncertain than that of Vasco da Gama; and as an explorer of the ocean, he was not less persistent and dauntless. As Vasco found the waterway to Asia around the Cape of Good Hope, so Magellan, a little more than twenty years after, discovered the route to the same mysterious continent, by sailing westward instead of eastward, and by passing through the stormy straits, at the extreme southern point of the South American Continent, which still perpetuate his name and renown.
He crossed not only the Atlantic, but the Pacific also, and bestowed its gentle name upon the latter ocean; and one of his ships was the first to sail completely around the globe, though Magellan did not himself live to assist in achieving this great triumph of navigation.
Besides encountering the many perils of the sea, the harrowing hardships of famine, the terrible scourges of disease, and threatened destruction by conspiracy and revolt, it was Magellan's fate to engage in fierce conflicts with savage tribes, and to meet with treachery at their hands, as well as to receive from them honest welcome and bounteous hospitality. No voyage, indeed, could be imagined, into which every feature of romance and adventure, of narrow escape and brilliant achievement, could be more crowded, than was that of Magellan from the port of Cadiz to the island clusters of Australasia.
Magellan's own character is well fitted to call forth the young reader's admiration. It was his ambition, not to enter upon a career of bloodshed and conquest, nor, mainly, to acquire wealth, honors, or power for himself; but to achieve for the civilized world the vast benefits which he knew would follow the discovery of a route around the American Continent, and to confer upon heathen barbarians the blessings of what he devoutly believed to be the true faith.
He was generous and noble in disposition; never wantonly cruel; indulgent to and beloved by those whom he commanded; brave as a lion, and indomitable in perseverance and tenacity of purpose; undismayed by any obstacle, however formidable; and resolute in subduing men and circumstances to the end he had in view; easily angered, but brief in his anger; humane, considerate, and large-hearted.
The story of his famous expedition comprises one of the most important as well as thrilling portions of the world's history; and can scarcely fail to interest as well as inform those who peruse it.