In the Footsteps of Ferdinand Magellan

Centuries ago, travelling was not all about pleasure and relaxation. To explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan, it was a mission. On August 10, 1519, he lived out both a dream and a task: to conquer the Spice Islands. Although his pursuit ended tragically, his expedition is forever etched in history, and he is forever remembered as the first person to circumnavigate the Earth. Here’s a summary of Magellan's great conquests…

  • India. Magellan’s first voyage was at the age of 25, when he was sent to “install Francisco de Almeida as the Portuguese viceroy.” India then wasn't the “planet's most multidimensional country” as it is today. With an overwhelming number of attractions—from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the incredible beaches of Goa—this country is definitely worth seeing.

  • Seville, Spain. This Spanish city was the starting point of Magellan’s expedition. Since Magellan was Portuguese, no Spanish sailor wanted to be under his command, which allegedly resulted in prisoners being released to accompany him in his mission. Today, people in Seville no longer occupy themselves with goals of conquering islands. They devote their time instead on all things fun—festivals, flamenco, and tapas bars.

  • Sanlucar de Barrameda, Andalucia, Spain. The place where Magellan and his crew stayed for five days, Sanlucar de Barrameda is famous for its sherry-producing towns and the oldest horse races in Spain. Five days, though, isn’t enough to experience what this town has to offer. Visit Palacio de los Duques de Medina Sidonia, the former home of a noble family who once owned the majority of Spain. Another must-see is Iglesia San Francisco, built by Henry VIII of England as a hospital for British sailors.

  • Canary Islands. This was one of the stops in Magellan’s expedition, and a stop tourists must make, too. Its strikingly diverse landscapes and sexy beaches are treasures to modern travellers, just like spices were to ancient explorers.

  • Cape Verde. Magellan crossed the equator from this African republic. Although it isn’t as hot as the Earth’s circle, holidays sizzle here with the beaches around Tarrafal and the volcano-hiking adventures in Fogo.

  • Puerto San Julian, Argentina. Magellan established this settlement when he reached the South American country. Here, two captains revolted, but they were outnumbered by Magellan’s supporters. According to some witnesses’ accounts, Gaspar Quesada (captain of the ship Concepcion) was executed, while Juan de Cartagena (captain of San Antonio) and Padre Sanchez de la Reina, a priest, were abandoned. Today, Puerto San Julian thrives with its salt fishing industry, and tourists can actually stay in the town and explore attractions such as the island of Banco Justicia, where interesting creatures such as Magellan’s penguins abound.

  • Marianas. Dubbed by Magellan as Islas de Ladrones or Islands of Thieves (small boats from the ship Trinidad were stolen here), Marianas is as rich in history as its natural surroundings. For one, the American B-29s took off from here to drop atomic bombs on Japan during the second World War. This is also where the beautiful island of Rota is located, which is popular for its rolling hills, beautiful sunsets, and lots of deer. Part of the islands is Guam, which is now a US territory.

  • Philippines. This was Magellan’s last stop. Rajah Lapu-Lapu and other Muslim locals, resisting his evangelical mission, killed him in Mactan, Cebu. Although Magellan’s dream ended here, he left behind a legacy, as 90 percent of the Philippines is now made up of Christians. Today, the huge cross he brought, known as Magellan’s Cross, is one of Cebu’s major attractions. Tourist spots in the Philippines aren't limited to historical and religious places, though. White sand beaches such as those in Boracay and natural wonders such as Bohol’s Chocolate Hills lure many travellers to the archipelago, too.

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