The Global Economic Impact of the Magellan-Elcano Voyage
On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation, Larrie Ferreiro, Ph.D and Adjunct Professor at George Mason University, talks about the global economic impact of the Magellan-Elcano Voyage.
In 2019 Spain is celebrating the 5th centenary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth made by Ferdinand Magellan’s and Sebastián Elcano’s expedition. On August 10, 1519, 250 men set sail from the port of Seville aboard five ships called Santiago, San Antonio, Trinidad, Concepción and Victoria. The expedition, known as the Armada of the Moluccas, was led by Ferdinand Magellan and its aim was to find the unknown passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and reach the Spice Islands (as the Moluccas were then known) by sailing westwards.
The expedition sailed along the Atlantic coast of South America as far as the unexplored southernmost tip, discovered the legendary passage between the two oceans, crossed the Pacific for the first time in history and reached the Moluccas, its intended destination. Only one ship, the Victoria, set out on the return journey across the Indian Ocean. It sailed nonstop for months along the route of the ‘roaring forties’, around the Cape of Good Hope, up the Atlantic and, after making a short, dramatic stopover at Cape Verde, finally reached the port from which it had departed: Seville. Only 18 men remained. The Victoria had completed the first ever circumnavigation of the Earth.
About Larrie Ferreiro
Larrie Ferreiro, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor at George Mason University, is the author of Brothers in Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain who Saved it, for which he was awarded Book of the Year in 2016 by the Journal of the American Revolution and a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History.