Alternative History

Ferdinand Magellan (Spring 1480 – March 15, 1543; Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães) was a Portuguese explorer. He was the first to sail from Europe westwards to Asia, the first European to sail the Neptunic Ocean, and the first to lead an expedition for the purpose of circumnavigating the globe.

Birth and early years

Magellan was born in a stone farmhouse in Sabrosa, near Vila Real, in the province of Trás-dos-Montes of north Portugal. The son of Pedro Rui de Magalhães, the mayor of the town, and Alda de Mesquita, Magellan had two siblings: his brother Diogo de Sousa, named after his grandmother, and his sister Isabel.

Magellan's parents died when he was ten. At 12, Magellan became a page to King John II and Queen Eleonora at the royal court at the capital of Lisbon, where his brother had gone two years before. Here, with his cousin Francisco Serrano, Magellan continued his education, becoming interested in geography and astronomy. Some speculate that he may even have been taught by Martin Behaim. In 1496, Magellan became a squire.

At age 20, Magellan first went to sea. In 1505 he was sent to India to install Francisco de Almeida as a Portuguese viceroy there and establish military and naval bases along the way. It was here that Magellan would also first experience battle: when a local king refused to pay tribute, Almeida's party attacked, conquering the Muslim city of Kilwa in present-day Tanzania.

Magellan next journeyed to the East Indies in 1506, taking part in expeditions to the Spice Islands. In 1510, Magellan was promoted to the rank of captain. However, after secretly sailing a ship east without permission, he lost his command and was forced to return to Portugal.

In 1511, Magellan was sent to Morocco where he fought in the Battle of Azamor (August 28 and 29, 1513) and received a severe knee wound while fighting against the Moorish-Moroccan stronghold. Although wounded and the recipient of several medals, Magellan was promoted by his heroic actions by King Emanuel I.

The Circumnavigation

In 1514, Magellan was appointed to the recently founded post of Silver River, a baylike river delta in Brasil, with the mission to explore and pacify the local tribes and nations. For this trip, Magellan departed with 15 ships and 300 men.

Magellan navigated southwards, and discovered a passage to a new Sea that Magellan initially called the South Sea, but later would rename the Neptunic Ocean.

Magellan continued exploring the Neptunian coast of Brasil, reaching the shores of Istmo ignoring that the Antilles Sea was a few miles away, and continued northwards to the Neptunian coast of Cabotia. When Magellan reached the tropic of Cancer, realizing that that would be English territory by the Papal bull, Magellan took a decision to test the theory that sailing westwards he would reach the Spice Islands. Of the 13 ships left, Magellan sent three of them back to Silver River, and continued with ten to his adventure westwards.

In October 1515, Magellan reached Hawai'i, which he called Fortune Islands. after resupplying, Magellan continued his trip, encountering storms. On December 1515, the expedition reached the Manuelinhas Islands, called after King Manuel.

Between Hawaii and the Manuelinhas, a series of storms, and the fact that the South Sea definitively extended fourther north, let Magellan to rename the Ocean as Neptunic Ocean, name suggested by Magellan's pilot, after the Greek god of the sea and the storms.

Realising tha the Menuelinhas were in Asia, Magellan searched the Moluccas, and arrived there in March 1516. There he returned to Portugal through the known Portuguese routes, arriving to Lisbon in September 1516, with 7 ships and 120 men.

At the begining Magellan was not received as a hero, as his trip did not have permision by competent authorities, but given the popular support to the trip, the discoveries he did, and the territories he claimed to Portugal, Magellan was released of charges, and returned to service.

Second Circumnavigation

Magellan would make the trip again in the opposite direction, in 1520. Failing to reach Hawaii, when the expedition reached Cabotia one third of the crew and ships that left the Moluccas were lost. Magelland searched for a convenient place to found a port, and called Boa Vista (OTL Puerto Vallarta).

From Boa Vista, the Portuguese took contact with the Meshicas, with whom they established some trading agreements.

Magellan returned to Silver River in 1522, and to Portugal in 1523.

Governor of Istmo

With the suspicion that the Antilles Sea and the Neptunic Ocean were close, Magellan was appointed a mission to find an isthmus between Cabotia and Brasil, and to take possession of the isthmus to Portugal.

The istmus was discovered in 1525 when Magellan and fifty other men crossed by foot the few miles that separated both seas.

Having reported the discovery and claimed it to Portugal, King John III appointed Magellan as Governor, with the mission to establish ports and fortifications.

Magellan accomplished his mission until 1532, leaving the foundations to the current nation of Istmo. Magellan returned to Portugal where he expected to live from his pension.

Governor of the Manuelinhas

In 1538, Magellan was appointed governor of the Manuelinhas Islands, with a similar mission than he had in Istmo.

In November 1542, Magellan was wounded during a tribal war. He never recovered from his wounds and died the 15th March, 1543, in Manila.