After this they entered into the channel, which at some places had a width of three leagues, and two, and one, and in some places half a league, and he went through it as long as it was daylight, and anchored when it was night: and he sent the boats, and the ships went after the boats, and they brought news that there was an outlet, for they already saw the great sea on the other side; on which account Ferdinand Magellan ordered artillery to be fired for rejoicing.
Continuing Magellan’s Voyage Around the World,
our selection from First Voyage Around the World by Joan Bautista and by Antonio Pigafetta published in 1874. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in a series of installments for 5 minute daily reading.
Previously in Magellan’s Voyage Around the World.
Time: 1519 – 1522
Place: Strait of Magellan
They wear shoes which cover them four inches above the ankle, full of straw inside to keep their feet warm. They do not possess any iron, nor any other ingenuity of weapons, only they make the points of their arrows with flints, and so also the knives with which they cut, and the adze and awls with which they cut and stitch their shoes and clothes. They are very agile people and do no harm, and thus follow their flocks; wherever night finds them, there they sleep; they carry their wives along with them, with all the chattels they possess. The women are very small and carry heavy burdens on their backs. They wear shoes and clothes just like the men. Of these men they obtained three or four and brought them in the ships, and they all died except one, who went to Castile in a ship which went thither.
They sailed from this river of Santa Cruz on October 18th: they continued navigating along the coast until the 21st day of the same month, October, when they discovered a cape, to which they gave the name of Cape of the Virgins, because they sighted it on the day of the eleven thousand virgins; it is in 52°, a little more or less, and from this cape, a matter of two or three leagues’ distance, we found ourselves at the mouth of a strait. We sailed along the said coast within that strait, which they had reached the mouth of: they entered in it a little and anchored. Ferdinand Magellan sent to discover what there was farther in, and they found three channels; that is to say, two more in a southerly direction, and one traversing the country in the direction of Molucca, but at that time this was not yet known, only the three mouths were seen.
The boats went thither, and brought back word, and they set sail and anchored at these mouths of the channels, and Ferdinand Magellan sent two ships to learn what there was within, and these ships went; one returned to the captain-major, and the other, of which Alvaro de Mesquita was captain, entered into one of the bays which was to the south, and did not return any more. Ferdinand Magellan, seeing that it did not come back, set sail, and the next day he did not choose to make for the bays, and went to the south and took another which runs northwest and southeast and a quarter west and east. He left letters in the place from which he sailed, so that, if the other ship returned, it might make the course which he left prescribed.
After this they entered into the channel, which at some places had a width of three leagues, and two, and one, and in some places half a league, and he went through it as long as it was daylight, and anchored when it was night: and he sent the boats, and the ships went after the boats, and they brought news that there was an outlet, for they already saw the great sea on the other side; on which account Ferdinand Magellan ordered artillery to be fired for rejoicing; and before they set forth from this strait they found two islands, the first one larger, and the other, nearer toward the outlet, is the smaller one; and they went out between these islands and the coast on the southern side, as it was deeper than on the other side.
This strait is a hundred leagues in length to the outlet; that outlet and the entrance are in 52° latitude. They made a stay in this strait from October 21st to November 26th, which makes thirty-six days of the said year of 1520, and as soon as they went out from the strait to the sea they made their course, for the most part, to west-northwest, when they found that their needles varied to the northwest almost one-half; and after they had navigated thus for many days they found an island in a little more or less than 18° or 19°, and also another, which was in from 13° to 14°, and this in south latitude; they are uninhabited.
They ran on until they reached the line, when Ferdinand Magellan said that now they were in the neighborhood of Molucca, and that he would go in a northerly direction as far as 10° or 12°, and they reached to as far as 13° north, and in this latitude they navigated to the west and a quarter southwest a matter of a hundred leagues, where on March 6, 1521, they fetched two islands inhabited by many people of little truth; and they did not take precautions against them until they saw that they were taking away the skiff of the flag-ship, and they cut the rope with which it was made fast, and took it ashore without their being able to prevent it. They gave this island the name of Thieves’ Island (dos Ladroes).
Ferdinand Magellan, seeing that the skiff was lost, set sail, it being already night, tacking about until the next day; as soon as it was morning they anchored at the place where they had seen the skiff carried to, and he ordered two boats to be got ready with a matter of fifty or sixty men, and he went ashore in person and burned the whole village, and they killed seven or eight persons, between men and women, and recovered the skiff, and returned to the ships; and while they were there they saw forty or fifty paraos come from the same land, and which brought much refreshments.
Ferdinand Magellan would not make any further stay, and at once set sail, and ordered the course to be steered west and a quarter southwest, and so they made land, which is in barely 11°. This land is an island, but he would not touch at this one, and they went to touch at another farther on which appeared first. Ferdinand Magellan sent a boat ashore to observe the nature of the island; when the boat reached land, they saw, from the ships, paraos come out from behind the point; then they called back their boat. The people of the paraos, seeing that the boat was returning to the ships, turned back the paraos, and the boat reached the ships, which at once set sail for another island very near to this island, which is 10°, and they gave it the name of the Island of Good Signs, because they observed some gold in it.
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