A journey across the Pacific Ocean.

After reaching the Pacific Ocean, one of the kidnapped Patagonians died. He had gradually resigned himself to his fate and had been very helpful in teaching his language to the Spanish. When he felt badly ill, he embraced and kissed the cross and wanted to become a Christian. He was baptized and named Paul.

The further north we got, the milder the air became, the more favorable the wind, so that the hardships endured were almost forgotten. Instead of sudden violent storms, steady winds carried the fleet over the calm sea surface, and in thanks for this friendly reception, the sea got the name of the Pacific Sea. For three months and twenty days, not a single storm was encountered.

At first we sailed along the rugged west coast of Patagonia, but far away from it on the ulapa. The abundance of fish amazed the sailors. The Italian nobleman Pigafetta, who was on the trip and according to the diary he kept regularly wrote the most complete account of it, describes »albacores» and »bonitos» fish chasing after »colondrines» (swallows i.e. flying fish). »When pursued, these jump out of the water and fly as far as the arrow — as long as the wings are fresh — and then dive into the sea again. But the pursuers follow their shadow and, after coming to the place where they fell, attack them and eat them in their mouths — it was absolutely wonderful and funny to watch.»

On December 16, the direction was changed. Magalhães thought he had sailed far enough north to be able to turn directly towards the Moluccas. The direction was therefore turned from the steps of the 37th south latitude to northwest. But the old authors disappointed Magalhães as well, as they did Columbus before him and many more after him. He was badly mistaken about the extent of the Pacific Ocean. Day after day passed, but there was no land to be seen, nothing but the infinite vast surface of the sea. 24 d. January 1521, after nearly two months of sailing, a small island with trees was finally seen, but it was uninhabited. When the sea was so deep that the bullet wouldn’t sink, we just kept going. After eleven days land was seen again, but it was as small and uninhabited an island as the previous one.

The direction of travel was still towards the northwest. It was a great disappointment when no land was found in the same country from which food supplies could be obtained, because the most deplorable conditions prevailed on the ships. The doses had been reduced to the smallest possible amount. “The lack of water and bread was so great,” writes Gomara, “that you had to eat by the ounce, and when you drank water, you had to pinch your nose with your fingers, so it smelled.” Pigafetta gives an even more colorful description:

»We sailed for three months and 20 days without meeting any land from which we could have obtained provisions. The bread had crumbled to dust, it was full of worms and infested with rats, the drinking water was cloudy and started to smell. We ate the skin with which the great marching beast was girded, so that it would not chafe the ropes. This skin was very tough, because it had always been exposed to sunlight, wind and rain, it had to be dissolved in sea water for days before it was fit to eat when baked in glowing ashes. Rats were delicacies and were paid half a ducat each. On top of all the bad things, scurvy started to rage and 19 men died from it. If God and the Holy Mother had not given us good weather on the way, we would have died of hunger in this wide open sea, and I don’t think

Day after day, the ships, driven by a steady wind, plowed the immense sea. Having reached the equator, Magalhães headed somewhat further north, to come first to China, in the ports of which he hoped to obtain more abundant supplies such as were needed to repair the dilapidated ship. The degrees of latitude were determined somewhat accurately along the way, but it was more difficult to find out the geographic longitude with the aids of the time. Only by the length of the sailed distance could one guess where on earth one was. Magalhães seems to have taught his mates to watch out for compass deviations, as did Columbus on his first voyage.


Full of misery and suffering, the fleet sailed and sailed, with an ever-favorable wind, from morning to evening and from evening to morning, watching the land from the distant shore of the sky. Finally it rose from the sea. On March 6, land was visible and it was immediately clear that it was inhabited. A whole group of boats arrived to meet the ships. But the first acquaintance was not encouraging. Scarcely had the ships come to anchor, before the inhabitants stole a boat from the stern of the master’s ship, cutting the rope by which it was fastened, and took it away with surprising speed. Others quickly boarded the ships and stole everything they could get their hands on. In the end they had to be driven away by force and a skirmish ensued, which was so fierce that the Spaniards had to use firearms as well. Magalhães, who was very sorry for the loss of his boat, landed a little farther off, and sailed there for the night, to be safe against a sneak attack. But in the morning he returned and went ashore himself, with half a hundred armed men, burned the village, recaptured his boat and all the provisions. Residents fled the scene when the first firecrackers were fired. They had no other weapons than fishbone spears, not even bows and arrows. When they were struck by the arrow of a bow-gun, they drew it out of their bodies, and looked upon it with such great astonishment that it was a pity to see it, as Pigafetta affirms. But at sea they, in their ships, which were alike at both ends, and fitted with parallel veers to maintain their balance, moved with astonishing swiftness, overpowering even the ships, though these were under full sail. It was also strange, that although the first association ended so badly, they were ready to barter with the strangers, bringing a great deal of all kinds of food and fruit for sale. They were poor, but intelligent and extremely cunning thieves, which is why these islands got the name of »Ladrones», i.e. »islands of robbers». The islands thus discovered by Magalhães were probably Guam and S. Rosa.

The Discovery of the Philippines.

After three days, after the crew was quite refreshed, we started to continue the journey. After sailing for a week, new lands rose from the sea, first of all the southern tip of the island of Samar in the Philippines. Tents were set up on an island that looked uninhabited and the sick were taken ashore. By chance, a large island ship from the nearby island of Suluan passed by it. It included a few superiors who approached Pelvotta with strangers. By order of Magalhães, they were given all kinds of trinkets, and the Malays in return gave fish, palm wine, bananas and coconuts. At the same time, the first spices were seen, from which the Spaniards could guess that they were really in the vicinity of the Moluccas.

Magalhães named this archipelago the Archipelago of S. Lazarus, because he discovered it on the day of the said saint. Only a few decades later, according to the king of Spain at the time, it got the name Filippini. It is descriptive of the archipelago’s history of discovery that the Portuguese called the Philippines “the islands of the east”, while the Spanish called them the “islands of the setting sun”.

On the 22nd of March, the ship of the land-dwellers returned as promised, bringing to Magalhães’ ships an abundance of fruit, coconuts, oranges, bananas, and a rooster as a sign that there were poultry in their country. This time there was the chief of Suluan, who had gold rings in his ears, bracelets made of the same metal, as did most of the other islanders. Of course, these gold ornaments aroused the Spaniards’ lust for booty. After receiving blood vegetables, the sick quickly recovered. Magalhães visited them every day and drank coconut milk himself. After nine days, the sick had recovered, so the journey could be continued.

After this we came to the islands, where the language spoken by the Malay slave of Magalhães was understood. Only there could you get a little idea of ​​where you were. The Spanish ships, strange objects and cannons, which were always fired on suitable occasions, aroused the greatest wonder among the inhabitants. They were even more amazed when they heard from Magalhães how infinitely vast was the sea that started from their islands towards the sunrise. In their opinion, the Strangers’ iron suits, which no weapons were capable of, were remarkable in their opinion. The name of the island was Mazaga, now Limassau. Magalhães sent one of his captains with the Italian Pigafeta as a guest of the king. Pigafetta describes the reception as follows:

as a guest of the king of Mazaga.

»When we came ashore, the king stretched his hand towards the sky and then turned to us. We did the same, and so did everyone else, really. The king then took me by the hand, and one of his chiefs took my companion by the hand, after which we were escorted under a kind of tent made of grass. In the canopy was a balangai, or large canoe, behind which we sat; we then talked through signs because there was no interpreter. The king’s companions, fully armed with swords, spears, daggers and shields, remained standing. Then pork soup and a large platter of wine were brought, and every time we ate the soup, we drank wine on top of it. If there was anything left in our glasses after drinking, — which rarely happened, — it was poured into another dish on the spot. The king’s cup was always covered, nobody drank from it but him and me. Before drinking, he raised his hand to heaven, then turned to us, and while he grasped the cup with his right hand, he thrust the fist of his left hand towards me, so that at first I thought he intended to strike me. So he drank, and I, while drinking, repeated the same trick to him, for that is what I saw every man do to his companion when he was drinking. With these expenses and tokens of friendship we ate our dinner, and I could not avoid eating meat, although it was Good Friday. and I, while drinking, repeated the same trick to him, for that is what I saw every one do to his companion when he was drinking. With these expenses and tokens of friendship we ate our dinner, and I could not avoid eating meat, although it was Good Friday. and I, while drinking, repeated the same trick to him, for that is what I saw every one do to his companion when he was drinking. With these expenses and tokens of friendship we ate our dinner, and I could not avoid eating meat, although it was Good Friday.

»Before it came time for dinner, I gave the king the gifts I had brought with me, asked the names of all kinds of objects and wrote them down in memory, They were very surprised when they saw me writing and even more when I read the same words from my writing. Then it was time for dinner. Two large porcelain bowls were brought in, one with rice soup, the other with pork. We ate our dinner at the same cost as dinner. Then we went to the king’s palace, which was almost like a hay-field, covered with banana leaves, and supported by four stilts, so that steps had to be taken to climb it. In the hut the king ordered us to sit on a reed mat, and so we sat cross-legged under us like a tailor; after half an hour, fried and chopped fish, blood ginger and wine were brought in. The king’s eldest son came to sit next to me, after which more dishes were brought, fish with broth and rice, which were to be eaten with the prince. My companion had eaten and drunk so much that he got drunk.

»The resin of a tree called ‘anime’ was used as candles, which was wrapped in palm or banana leaves. The king now indicated that he wanted to go to rest, but left the prince with us. With him, we slept on reed mats, with piles filled with leaves under our heads.»

The next day both Europeans returned to the ship, the king kissed their hands goodbye and they kissed his hands. The king’s brother, who ruled another country, then embarked with a few men, and Magalhães made feasts in their honor and presented them with all kinds of things. this prince ruled over a district of Mindanao and the said island of Suluan.

Easter was celebrated most solemnly. Both kings were arriving at the service, kissed the cross and knelt with folded hands, as they saw the Europeans do. They were presented with a cross and a crown of thorns with the request that they be erected on the highest mountain and worshiped by all. Magalhães then asked his new friends if they were at war with anyone, and promised to go there to chastise their enemies. The kings replied that they were indeed at war with the two islands, but that the season was not suitable for military operations. However, they were grateful for the help offered. The cross was then carried to the top of the mountain in a festive procession and the Europeans honored it, saying each »Pater noster» and »Ave», after which refreshments provided by the king were enjoyed.


On the way, on an island we saw large bats, “flying foxes”, whose meat, according to Pigafeta, tasted like bird meat. On another island, birds were seen covering their eggs in cakes, leaving them there to incubate. The same birds are still the strangest animal phenomena of these archipelagos. On April 7, the Spanish fleet anchored in the port of Cebu. The ships were flagged and the cannon fired; the inhabitants were greatly frightened. When they had been informed of the peaceful intention of the Strangers, the king of the island sent word that no one was allowed to enter his port without paying a tax. But Magalhães replied that the greatest king in the world paid no tribute to anyone, and that he offered war or peace, as each one wished. There happened to be a Siamese merchant in the port, who had heard of the exploits of the Portuguese in India, and he urged the king to choose peace. That is how the best friendship between the king and the Spaniards was established. A Treaty of Peace and Blood Brotherhood was concluded, through which the Spanish got the exclusive right to trade in the lands of the King of Cebu. The residents of Cebu happily announced that they would become Christians after the basic features of the doctrine had been explained to them.

Then the trading started. The Spaniards built trade sheds on the land and placed their goods in them, which aroused the greatest wonder. Bronze and iron objects yielded plenty of gold, other objects yielded foodstuffs. Magalhães had to forbid his men to lose all their necessities in exchange for gold. The people of Cebu had measurements and weights and otherwise they were a whole lot more civilized than the people with whom I had had to deal until then. On April 14, the king was solemnly baptized into Christianity. At the same time, the king of Limassaukan and many of Cebu’s superiors were baptized. The King of Cebu was named Carlos after the King of Spain. The queen was baptized as Johanna, the Queen of Limassau as Isabella. The lower folk then rushed to baptize themselves, so that the ship’s priest had a full job. 800 people were baptized on one day.

After this Magalhães called together the king’s brothers and vassals, whom he had heard were scheming against the king, and threatened to put them all to death unless they henceforth showed perfect obedience to his ally and blood-brother, Magalhães. The vassals promised, but one of them then repented of his promise and rebelled, causing the Spanish to burn and destroy his village, erecting a cross on the smoking ruins. Because of this, the king of Cebu presented Magalhães with expensive gold ornaments and precious stones.

But Magalhães had noticed that they had not burnt their idols as they had promised, but were still serving them. He scolded them severely for it. He was answered that the king’s brother was sick, and because of that the sacrifices had to be continued. Magalhães then said that his faith knew a better way to counter it, organized a ecclesiastical procession and arrived with it at the sick prince’s lodge. This could not speak, could not move, was baptized and healed in five days. “This great miracle happened before our eyes,” says the pious scribe who tells the story. After recovering, the man burned the idol in his hut, went to the seashore where there were several sacrificial temples, and allowed them to be destroyed. The inhabitants of the earth tore them up, crying “Castille, Castille,” and said that if God gave them life, so they would burn any number of idols, even if they were in the king’s palace itself. But the great power achieved by the Spanish was short-lived. It only lasted a few days, and its fall was even faster than its birth.