A voyage into history

Posted: August 30, 2022 by chrisharper in Uncomfortable Truths
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By Christopher Harper

On September 5, 1522, The Victoria sailed into the harbor near Seville, Spain, after completing a three-year, 60,000-mile trip around the world.

For centuries, the expedition, launched by Ferdinand Magellan, was regarded as one of the most outstanding achievements in history and had a significant impact on the West’s understanding of the world.

See a map of the incredible journey at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uKhVFlasxE

Mired in today’s wokeness, the voyage is regarded as the beginning of colonialism and the dominance of the Catholic Church over those colonies. 

But Magellan’s vision and his sailors’ persistence against all odds demonstrate what’s wrong with wokeness.

Would the world really have been better if people didn’t know how to sail around it?

After studying maps for years, Magellan had a dream. He was convinced that by sailing west instead of east, he could find a better route to Indonesia and India from Europe. The king of Portugal wouldn’t finance his trip, so he headed for Spain, where he gained citizenship and Charles V’s backing for five ships. 

But he was in an awkward position regarding his crew and royal mission. “The [Spanish] resented sailing under a Portuguese commander, and the Portuguese considered him a traitor,” historian Lincoln Paine wrote.

After winter weather forced his ships to wait for months in what is now Argentina, Magellan’s crew mutinied. One ship was wrecked; another headed back to Spain. 

Magellan managed to navigate a treacherous passage around South America that later was named in his honor—the Strait of Magellan. He’s also credited with naming the Pacific Ocean.

But the troubles weren’t over. As the crew traveled across the Pacific, food spoiled, and scurvy and starvation occurred. The sailors reached the Philippines, where Magellan was killed in April 1521 by a local tribe. 

After Magellan’s death, his crew continued in the single ship that remained, captained by Juan Sebastian Elcano. Only 18 of the 270 men survived, but the expedition had proven that the globe could be circumnavigated and opened the door to European colonization of the New World in the name of commerce.

A legend was born—and in 1989, one of Magellan’s namesakes even traveled to Venus. During a five-year-long journey, NASA’s Magellan spacecraft made images of the planet before burning up in its atmosphere.

According to Antonio Pigafetta, who chronicled the journey and lived to tell the tale: “Magellan’s main virtues were courage and perseverance, in even the most difficult situations; for example, he bore hunger and fatigue better than all the rest of us. He was a magnificent practical seaman who understood navigation better than all his pilots. The best proof of his genius is that he circumnavigated the world, none having preceded him.”

Today, Magellan’s vision and fortitude should be praised rather than placed on the altar of wokeness.

Fortunately, a relatively apolitical rendition of Magellan’s accomplishments is now airing on Amazon Prime. See https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B0B1LNS6LB/ref=atv_hm_hom_1_c_lZOsi7_2_1

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