(It would perhaps be best if I interrupt my research on the historical figure to whom
Neil Obstat digressed, and post what I've already drafted: I believe today is the historically tightly connected Filipino feast of
Señor Santo Niño [‡].)
Fernão de Magalhães sailed from Sanlúcar
, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir (River) with a 5-ship flotilla on September 20, 1519
Ferdinand Magellan lived to be 41 years old, having survived a treacherous voyage across the Pacific into unknown territory [....]
There was plenty of treachery in the Western Hemisphere before
he reached the ocean that he cluelessly named "Pacific": A major mutiny, quelled by executions, plus a separate desertion in or just before the Strait of Magellan, the deserters taking 1 ship with them back toward Spain. And 1 other ship was wrecked in a storm while exploring ahead before reaching the Strait.
[...] only to die in battle defending his ships.
His fateful arrival in the Philippine Archipelago was not until 1521
. He was killed in that archipelago at Mactan Island, while in direct command of a military shore party from his ships. Having been successful at converting 1 local chief on Cebu to Catholicism, Magalhães had imprudently decided to increase his favor with that chief by intervening in a rivalry between the latter and a chief on Mactan (Island) who refused conversion. Mactan was within what might be considered the "sphere of influence" of the newly Catholic chief, being a small island barely-offshore of Cebu [@
]. The intervention by Magalhães began with a boastful message to the effect that the Mactan chief would feel the power of Spanish arms if he and his subjects didn't accept the Spanish terms.Well !
Thomas Hendrick, in The Catholic Encyclopedia
, called it "a foolhardy battle"[‡]. The Spaniards failed to comprehend the military significance of the island's fringing coral reef to a landing that was intended to be covered by cannon fire and various small arms from their ships. Instead, the reef kept the ships out of range, and required the soldiers to enter the "water up to our thighs", which slowed their approach, "through water for more than two cross-bow flights". That was a serious disadvantage when overwhelming numbers of armed natives, estimated as 1500, appeared on shore and charged. As the attack turned against Magalhães, most members of the shore party fled, instead of making the orderly retreat that he ordered. The ships
themselves, being out beyond the reef, were in no danger
. The fleeing shore party climbed back into the boats that brought them, "except six or eight of us who remained with the captain" to fight off increasingly bold attacks from the natives, who had recognized (or figured out) that Magalhães was the leader of the attack. So it was that his own voyage ended, as he was cut down and killed
Note @: Mactan occupies approx. 25 sq. mi. approx. 1 mi. offshore [#
]. The ".png" URL below is an illustration that's worth well more than the proverbial "1000 words": It shows the relationship of the 2 islands. Most accounts I've read simply name
the islands. Uh, huh
. Cebu is one of the religiously (thus culturally) most prominent islands [‡] in the Philippine Archipelago, so some readers either know or can look up its location. But just about everyone is left with nearly no hope of finding Mactan among the more-or-less 7000 other islands there.
>, displayed on <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mactan
Note †: In the quote translated as "he ordered us to retire slowly, but the men took to fight
, except six or eight of us who remained with the captain", the bolded word should be corrected to "flight
In general, see this source, which includes excerpts as translated from de facto
chronicler Antonio Pigafetta: "The Death of Magellan, 1521". EyeWitness to History
, © 2001: Ibis Communications, Inc.
Note ‡: Thomas Hendrick: "Diocese of Cebú
(CEBUANENSIS); DIOECESIS NOMINIS JESU". The Catholic Encyclopedia
, vol. 3, 1908. Robert Appleton Co.: New York. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03471a.htm