This year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan’s departure from Spain in 1519. Leading 5 ships and 260 men only 1 ship and 18 men returned after a 3 year journey of 60,000 miles.
Magellan did not set out to sail round the world in 1519. His purpose was to discover a west route to the spices islands . The east route was prohibited as the Pope had carved out the world and given the east to Portugal and the west to Spain.
This is a readable story of the journey. It is also the latest available. Bergreen’ style of writing is vivid and flows well.
Readers interested to know more should read the biography of Magellan by Stefan Zweig though it is dated now and a first hand account of the journey by one of the 18 survivors – Magellan ‘ s voyage by Antonio Pigafetta. The Dover translation has a useful Introduction and end notes.