The American historian Laurence Bergreen, author of a book on the first circumnavigation, begun in 1519, by Fernão de Magalhães, pointed out to Lusa that “perhaps there are still things to discover about the voyage” of Portuguese.
“There may still be things to find out about your trip,” Bergreen said, adding that the first circumnavigation journey has contributed to the shift in paradigms that “now seem obvious but are difficult to process when they are something so new” .
Bergreen points out that although the purpose of the trip was not scientific, a number of discoveries were made over the course of its three-year journey.
“The trip was not a scientific expedition, but it was responsible for a number of discoveries. First, in the field of geography, discovering lands and islands, but also biology, with a vast biodiversity found. now called the Magellan Strait “- between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, south of South America.
In Portugal, on the occasion of the presentation of the celebrations of the V Centenary of the first voyage that circumnavigated the planet, Bergreen stated “not being sure” about how Magellan is remembered these days, something that is believed to have been a Portuguese to command a Spanish expedition.
“He was Portuguese, but he traveled through Spain … so he does not belong well to a place, although everyone is aware of its meaning.” Magalhães “represents exploitation,” he commented.
Magellan sailed from the port of Seville in August 1519, commanding a fleet of five vessels carrying more than 260 people of various nationalities (Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians, Germans, Belgians, Greeks, Englishmen and Frenchmen were among the present) and included sailors , academics (such as the Italian writer Antonio Pigaffeta, who compiled a detailed account of the trip), among others.
The historian recalled some of the difficulties the expedition faced, such as scurvy and riots.
Magellan’s leadership on this voyage was not always assured.He was a Portuguese man traveling in Spain.The House of Hiring [of Seville] gave him a Spanish adjunct, who was not a sailor but a nobleman. Magellan worked for him – which was not the case – so he regularly had to deal with his rivalry, “said the biographer and historian.
To deal with this noble Spaniard, who “had a group of Spaniards who supported him and raised his protest against Magellan,” the Portuguese, “sometimes had to deal with the situation in a more violent way: he executed some of the men, hanged (…), something that had not been done would provoke a general upheaval. ”
Bergreen stressed that at first “the environment was more peaceful,” but that it became “more and more aggressive”, which led to Magellan’s behavior becoming “more autocratic and dictator in the final parts of the journey. arrived in the Philippines, was ‘cranky’. ”
The historian associated this behavior change with the experiences lived by Magalhães since leaving the port of Seville in 1519.
“As Magellan has been going through various parts of the world, his perspective on people, religion – everything – has changed,” he said.
Magellan was to die in the Philippines in 1521, during a battle with a tribe in which the Portuguese-led crew were at a strong numerical disadvantage.
Only one of the vessels, Vitoria, commanded by Juan Sebastian Elcano and with only 18 of the 260 crew, returned to Spain in 1522, which would make them the first to complete a trip around the globe.
However, Bergreen points out that another initial crew member could have been the first to achieve this status.
“Magellan had taken his slave with him [Enrique], and no one knew where he came from, but somewhere in the Pacific he began to speak the native language. It became apparent that this was his place of origin. way, that his slave was the first to go around the world, “the American admitted.
Bergreen considers Magellan “an Odysseus [figure in Greek mythology] of modern life: it is a legend, but it is real.”
The Portuguese navigator Fernão de Magalhães (1480-1521) was notable for organizing and commanding the first circumnavigation trip to the globe, in the service of the King of Spain, reaching the southern end of the American continent and crossing the strait that came to be baptized with his name.
The historian, who also wrote a book on the exploration of Mars, was invited in 2007 by the North American Space Agency (NASA) to name characteristics of the impact crater ‘Victoria’, which shares the name