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The Life of Ferdinand Magellan, And The First Circumnavigation of The Globe: 1480-1521 Francis Henry Hill Guillemard

The Life of Ferdinand Magellan, And The First Circumnavigation of The Globe: 1480-1521

Francis Henry Hill Guillemard

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310 pages
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PREFACE.It is a curious circumstance that, while the world is year by year presented with biographies of persons who cannot lay claim to a tithe of the renown so justly accorded to Magellan, no life of the great circumnavigator has yet been writtenMorePREFACE.It is a curious circumstance that, while the world is year by year presented with biographies of persons who cannot lay claim to a tithe of the renown so justly accorded to Magellan, no life of the great circumnavigator has yet been written in English, or indeed—if we make one exception—in any other language. The exception is Sni/ Diego de Barros Aranas Vida y Viages de Hernando de Magallanes, which in 1881 was translated into Portuguese by Snr. F. de Magalhaes Villas-Boas, with the addition of an original appendix. This work, although accurate, does not aim at detail, and Magellans early life in India under Almeida and Albuquerque is dismissed in five pages. Students desirous of a further knowledge are forced to gather it as best they can from the pages of Navarrete, or to tread the thorny paths of the old chronicles and the documents of the Torre do Tombo and Simancas.Under these circumstances I have been led to depart somewhat from the plan upon which this series was instituted. While striving to offer the present volume in such guise as may not be unacceptable to the generalreader, I have thought it advisable to treat my subject as thoroughly as it deserves, or, more accurately, as thoroughly as space permits me. I have, therefore, sacrificed some of the trivial details of the voyage as related by Pigafetta and others, which are accessible to the English reader in Lord Stanley of Alderleys First Voyage round the World, and endeavoured not only to render the account of Magellans earlier life as complete as possible, but to leave no detail of the more important questions and difiiculties unconsidered. The solution of the latter has not always been an easy task, and has necessitated the perusal of a much larger mass of material than, from the size of the present volume, might be inferred. In the ensuing pages I have given my authorities—wherever it seemed necessary—together with the discussion of all points of a technical nature, in the footnotes. In consulting the old Spanish documents relating to the subject, I have come across much of interest which want of space has prevented me from using. I can only trust that I may not be considered to have made a wrong selection.----CHAPTER I.INTRODUCTORY.Ere we begin the story of Magellans life, we must consider for a moment the condition of geographical knowledge at the time when he first appeared upon the worlds stage as an explorer. Himself destined to immortality, a chapter-writer in the history of the world, the First Circumnavigator, he witnessed in his lifetime the three most distinguished deeds of geographical discovery—the rounding of the Cape by Bartholomew Diaz, the first voyage to India by Vasco da Gama, and the discovery of America by Columbus. It is remarkable that all these, together with his own great voyage, should have occurred within the limits of so short a period, but that they were the natural outcome of preceding work is evident enough if we glance at the history of the Peninsula during the fifteenth century.As in most sciences, so in geography, a great discovery is rarely sudden. It is foreshadowed and led up to by a train of minor facts wdnch are for the most part lost sight of in the eclat of the greater. Had we to assign a definite date to the commencement of theRenascence in geography, it should, perhaps, be placed at the period when Prince Henry the Navigator, removing from the court, gave himself heart and soul to the adding of new lands to the crown of Portugal. But even before his time some part of the African seaboard had been coasted — the end of the clue grasped which, when followed up, was to lead those who held it to India, the Moluccas, and Cathay.