Author: Jules Verne
Illustrator: Léon Benett Paul Philippoteaux
Translator: Dora Leigh
Release Date: March 7, 2008 [EBook #24777]
Part I. The Exploration of the World.
Part II. The Great Navigators of the Eighteenth Century.
Part III. The Great Navigators of the Nineteenth Century
PART II. - CHAPTER II.
THE FIRST VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
Magellan—His early history—His disappointment—His change of nationality—Preparations for the expedition—Rio de Janeiro—St. Julian's Bay—Revolt of a part of the squadron—Terrible punishment of the guilty—Magellan's Strait—Patagonia—The Pacific—The Ladrone Islands—Zebu and the Philippine Islands—Death of Magellan—Borneo—The Moluccas and their Productions—Separation of the Trinidad and Victoria—Return to Europe by the Cape of Good Hope—Last misadventures.
No one as yet was aware of the immense size of the continent discovered by Christopher Columbus. Still was sought perseveringly on the coast of America—which was thought to be a collection of several islands—the famous strait which should lead at once to the Pacific Ocean and to those Spice Islands the possession of which would have made the fortune of Spain. While Cortereal and Cabot were seeking for it in the Atlantic Ocean, and Cortès in the furthest part of the Gulf of California, while Pizarro was coasting along Peru, and Valdivia was conquering Chili, the solution of this problem was found by a Portuguese in the service of Spain, Ferdinand de Magellan.
Magellan on board his caravel.
From an old print.
On his return to Portugal, Magellan obtained leave, though not without difficulty, to search through the royal archives. He soon became certain that the Moluccas were situated in the hemisphere which the bull of demarcation adopted at Tordesillas by the kings of Spain and Portugal, and confirmed in 1494 by Pope Alexander VI., had given to Spain.
In virtue of this line of demarcation, which was destined to give rise to so many impassioned debates, all the countries situated at 360 miles west of the meridian of the Cape de Verd Islands were to belong to Spain, and all those lying to the east of the same meridian to Portugal. Magellan was of too active a nature to remain long without again taking service; he went next to fight in Africa at Azamor, a town in Morocco, where he received a slight wound in his knee, but one which by injuring a nerve made him lame for the remainder of his life, and obliged him to return to Portugal. Conscious of the superiority which his theoretical and practical knowledge and his services had earned for him above the herd of courtiers, Magellan naturally felt more keenly than another would have done the unjust treatment he received from Emmanuel with regard to certain complaints laid by the people of Azamor against the Portuguese officers. King Emmanuel's prejudices soon changed to a real dislike. It showed itself by the outrageous imputation that Magellan was pretending to suffer from a wound which was really of no consequence and was completely cured, that he might escape from accusations which he could not refute. Such an assertion was a serious matter for the honour of Magellan, so susceptible and suspicious; he thereupon came to a desperate determination which corresponded moreover with the greatness of the insult which he had received. That no one might be ignorant of it, he caused it to be legally set forth that he renounced his rights as a Portuguese citizen, and changed his nationality, and he then took out letters of naturalization in Spain. This was to proclaim, as solemnly as could possibly be done, that he intended to be looked upon as a subject of the crown of Castille, to which henceforward he would consecrate his services and his whole life. This was a serious determination, as we can see, which no one blamed, and which even the most severe historians, such as Barros and Faria y Sousa, have excused.
At the same time as Magellan, the licentiate Rey Faleiro left Lisbon with his brother Francisco and a merchant named Christovam de Haro; the former was a man deeply versed in cosmographical knowledge, and had equally with Magellan fallen under Emmanuel's displeasure. Faleiro had entered into a treaty of partnership with Magellan to reach the Moluccas by a new way, but one which was not otherwise specified, and which remained Magellan's secret. As soon as they arrived in Spain, (1517), the two partners submitted their project to Charles V., who accepted it in principle; but there remained the always delicate question touching the means for putting it into execution. Happily, Magellan found in Juan de Aranda, the factor of the Chamber of Commerce, an enthusiastic partisan of his theories, and one who promised to exert all his influence to make the enterprise a success. He had an interview accordingly with the high Chancellor, the Cardinal and Bishop of Burgos, Fonseca. He set forth with such skill the great advantage that Spain would derive from the discovery of a route leading to the very centre of the spice production, and the great prejudice which it would cause to the trade of Portugal, that an agreement was signed on the 22nd of March, 1518. The Emperor undertook to pay all the expenses of the expedition on condition that the greater part of the profits should belong to him.
But Magellan had still many obstacles to surmount before taking to the sea. In the first place there were the remonstrances of the Portuguese ambassador, Alvaro de Costa, who, seeing that his endeavours were in vain, even tried to compass the assassination of Magellan, so says Faria y Sousa. Then he encountered the ill-will of the employés of the Casa de contratacion at Seville, who were jealous of a stranger being entrusted with the command of such an important expedition, and envious of the least token of favour which had been accorded to Magellan and Rey Faleiro, who had been named commanders of the order of St. James. But Charles V. had given his consent by a public act, which seemed to be irrevocable. They tried, however, to make the Emperor alter his decision by organizing, on the 22nd of October, 1518, a disturbance paid for with Portuguese gold. It broke out on the pretext that Magellan, who had just had one of his ships drawn on shore for repairs and painting, had decorated it with the Portuguese arms. This last attempt failed miserably, and three statutes of the 30th of March, and 6th and 30th of April, fixed the composition of the crews and named the staff; while a final official document dated from Barcelona the 26th of July, 1519, confided the sole command of the expedition to Magellan.
What had meanwhile been happening to Rey Faleiro? We cannot exactly say. But this man, who had up to this time been treated on the same footing as Magellan, and who had perhaps first conceived the project, now found himself quite excluded from the command of the expedition, after some dissensions of which the cause is unknown. His health, already shaken, received a last shock from this affront, and poor Rey Faleiro, who had become almost childish, having returned to Portugal to see his family, was arrested there, and only released upon the intercession of Charles V. At last, after having sworn fidelity and homage to the crown of Castille, Magellan received in his turn the oath of his officers and sailors, and left the port of San Lucar de Barrameda on the morning of the 10th of August, 1519.
But before entering on the narrative of this memorable campaign, we must give a few particulars of the man who has left us the most complete account of it, Francesco Antonio Pigafetta or Jerome Pigaphète as he is often called in France. Born at Venice about 1491, of a noble family, Pigafetta formed part of the suite of the Ambassador Francesco Chiericalco, sent by Leo X. to Charles V., who was then at Barcelona. His attention was no doubt aroused by the noise which the preparations for the expedition made at that time in Spain, and he obtained permission to take part in the voyage. This volunteer proved an excellent recruit, for he showed himself in every respect as faithful and intelligent an observer as he was a brave and courageous companion. He was wounded at the battle of Zebu, fighting beside Magellan, which prevented him from being present at the banquet during which so many of his companions were destined to lose their lives. As to his narrative, with the exception of some exaggerations of detail according to the taste of that time, it is exact, and the greater part of the descriptions which we owe to him have been verified by modern travellers and learned men, especially by M. Alcide d'Orbigny.
Upon his return to San Lucar on the 6th of September, 1522, after having fulfilled the vow which he had made to go bare-foot to return thanks to Nuesta Señora de la Victoria, the Lombard (as they called him on board the Victoria,) presented to Charles V., then at Valladolid, a complete journal of the voyage. When he returned to Italy, by means of the original as well as of some supplementary notes, he wrote a longer narrative of the expedition, at the request of Pope Clement VII. and of Villiers de l'Isle Adam, grand-master of the Knights of Malta. He sent copies of this work to several distinguished personages, and notably to Louisa of Savoy, mother of Francis I. But she not understanding, so thinks Harrisse, the very learned author of the Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima, the kind of patois used by Pigafetta, and which resembles a mixture of Italian, Venetian, and Spanish, employed a certain Jacques Antoine Fabre to translate it into French. Instead of giving a faithful translation, Fabre made a kind of abridgment of it. Some critics, however, suppose that this narrative must have been written originally in French; they found their opinion upon the existence of three French manuscripts of the sixteenth century, which give very different readings, and of which two are deposited in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris.
Pigafetta died at Venice about 1534, in a house in the Rue de la Lune, which in 1800 was still to be seen, and which bore the well-known device, "No rose without a thorn."
At the same time, not wishing to confine ourselves to Pigafetta's narrative entirely, we have compared and completed it with that of Maximilian Transylvain, secretary to Charles V., of which there is an Italian translation in Ramusio's valuable collection.
The fleet of Magellan consisted of the Trinidad, of 120 tons' burden, which carried the flag of the commander of the expedition; the Sant'-Antonio, also of 120 tons, commanded by Juan de Carthagena, the second in rank, the person joined with Magellan, says the official document; the Concepcion, of 90 tons, commanded by Gaspar de Quesada; the famous Victoria, of 85 tons, commanded by Luis de Mendoza; and lastly the Santiago, of 75 tons, commanded by Joao Serrâo, called by the Spaniards Serrano.
Four of these captains and nearly all the pilots were Portuguese. Barbosa and Gomez on board the Trinidad, Luis Alfonso de Goez and Vasco Gallego on the Victoria, Serrâo, Joao Lopez de Carvalho on the Concepcion, Joao Rodriguez de Moefrapil on the Sant'-Antonio, and Joao Serrâo on the Santiago, with 25 sailors, formed a total of 33 Portuguese out of the whole body of 237 individuals whose names have all been handed down to us, and amongst whom are found a considerable number of Frenchmen.
Of the officers whose names have been mentioned, it is to be remembered that Duarte Barbosa was brother-in-law to Magellan and that Estavam Gomez, who, by returning to Seville on the 6th of May, 1521, did not participate in the conclusion of this memorable voyage, was afterwards sent by Charles V. to seek for the north-west passage, and in 1524 sailed along the coast of America from Florida to Rhode Island, and perhaps as far as Cape Cod.
Nothing could have been better arranged than this expedition, for the equipment of which the whole resources of the nautical science of that epoch had been taxed. At the moment of departure Magellan gave his last orders to his pilots and captains, and the code of signals which were to ensure unanimity in manoeuvres, and prevent a possible separation.
On Monday morning, the 10th of August, 1519, the fleet weighed anchor and sailed down the Guadalquiver as far as San Lucar de Barrameda, which forms the port of Seville, where the victualling of the ships was completed, and it was the 20th of September before they were really off. Six days afterwards the fleet anchored at Teneriffe in the Canary Archipelago, where both wood and water were taken on board. It was on leaving this island that the first symptoms appeared of the misunderstanding between Magellan and Juan de Carthagena which was to prove so fatal to the expedition. The latter claimed to be informed by the commander-in-chief of the route which he intended to take, a claim which was at once rejected by Magellan, who declared that he was not called upon to give any explanation to his subordinate.
After having passed between the Cape de Verd Islands and Africa, the ships reached the shores of Sierra Leone, where contrary winds and dead calms detained the fleet for twenty days.
Juan de Carthagena placed in the stocks.
A painful incident now occurred. During a council which was held on board the flag-ship, a sharp dispute arose, and Juan de Carthagena, who affected to treat the Captain-general with contempt, having answered him with pride and insolence, Magellan felt obliged to arrest him with his own hand, and to have him put in the stocks, an instrument made of two pieces of wood placed one upon the other and pierced with holes, in which were placed the legs of the sailor who was to be punished. The other captains remonstrated loudly with Magellan against a punishment which was too degrading for a superior officer, and Carthagena in consequence was simply put under arrest, and guarded by one of the captains. To the calms now succeeded rain, tempests, and heavy squalls, which obliged the vessels to lie-to. During these storms the navigators several times witnessed an electric phenomenon of which the cause was not then known, but which they considered an undoubted sign of the protection of heaven, and which even at the present day is known by the name of St. Elmo's fire. Once past the equinoctial line—a passage which does not at that time seem to have been celebrated by the grotesque ceremony of baptism which is in vogue at the present day—they steered for Brazil, where, on the 13th of December, 1519, the fleet cast anchor in the magnificent port of Santa Lucia, now known under the name of Rio Janeiro. This was not, however, the first time that this bay had been seen by Europeans, as was long believed. Since the year 1511 it had been known under the name of Bahia do Cabo Frio. It had been visited also, four years before Magellan's arrival, by Pero Lopez, and seems to have been frequented since the commencement of the sixteenth century by mariners from Dieppe who, inheritors of the passion for adventurous navigation of their ancestors the North-men, roamed over the world, and founded small establishments or factories in all directions. Here the Spanish expedition procured cheaply, in exchange for looking-glasses, pieces of ribbon, scissors, hawks' bells or fish-hooks, a quantity of provisions, amongst which Pigafetta mentions pine-apples, sugar-canes, sweet potatoes, fowls, and the flesh of the Anta, which is thought to be the tapir.
The account given in the same narrative of the manners of the inhabitants is sufficiently curious to be repeated. "The Brazilians are not Christians," he says, "but no more are they idolaters, for they worship nothing; natural instinct is their only law." This is an interesting fact, and a singular avowal for an Italian of the sixteenth century, deeply imbued with superstition; it offers one more proof that the idea of the Divinity is not innate, as some theologians have imagined. "These natives live to a great age, they go entirely naked, and sleep in cotton nets called hammocks, suspended by the two ends to beams. As to their boats, called canoes, each is hollowed out of the single trunk of a tree and can hold as many as forty men. They are anthropophagi (cannibals), but only on special occasions, and scarcely ever eat any but their enemies taken in battle. Their dress of ceremony is a kind of vest made of paroquets' feathers, woven together, and so arranged that the large wing and tail-feathers form a sort of girdle round their loins, which gives them a whimsical and ridiculous appearance."We have already said that the feather cloak was in use on the shores of the Pacific, among the Peruvians; it is curious to ascertain that it was worn equally by the Brazilians. Some specimens of this singular garment may be seen at the exhibition of the Ethnographical Museum. This was not however the only ornament of these savages; they suspended little stone cylinders from three holes pierced in the lower lip, a custom which is common among many of the Oceanic people, and which may be compared with our fashion of ear-rings. These people were extremely credulous and of good disposition and thus, as Pigafetta says, they could easily have been converted to Christianity, for they assisted in silence, and with gravity, at the mass which was said on shore, a remark that Alvarez Cabral had already made.
The Coast of Brazil.
After remaining thirteen days in this place, the squadron continued its route to the south, coasting along the shore, and arrived at 34° 40' of south latitude in a country where flowed a large river of fresh water. It was the La Plata. The natives, called Charruas, were so frightened at the sight of the vessels that they hastily took refuge in the interior of the country, carrying with them all their valuables, and it was impossible to overtake any of them. It was in this country that four years previously, Juan Diaz de Solis had been massacred by a tribe of Charruas, armed with that terrible engine which is still in use at the present day among the gauchos of the Argentine Republic, the bolas, which are metal balls fastened to the two ends of a long leather thong, called a lasso.
A little below the estuary of the La Plata, once thought to be an arm of the sea opening into the Pacific, the flotilla anchored at Port Desire. Here they obtained an ample supply of penguins for the crews of the five vessels—a bird which did not make a very delicious meal. Then they anchored in 49° 30' in a beautiful harbour, where Magellan resolved to winter, and which received the name of St. Julian's Bay. The Spaniards had been two months there, when one day they perceived a man who seemed to them to be of gigantic stature. At sight of them he began dancing and singing and throwing dust upon his head. This was a Patagonian, who allowed himself without resistance to be taken on board the vessels. He showed the greatest surprise at all he saw around him, but nothing astonished him so much as a large steel mirror which was presented to him. "The giant, who had not the least idea of the use of this piece of furniture, and who, no doubt, now saw his own face for the first time, drew back in such terror, that he threw to the ground four of our people who were behind him." He was taken back on shore loaded with presents, and the kind welcome which he had received induced eighteen of his companions, thirteen women and five men, to come on board. They were tall, and had broad faces, painted red except the eyes, which were encircled with yellow; their hair was whitened with lime, they were wrapped in enormous fur cloaks, and wore those large leather boots from which was given to them the name of Large-feet or Patagonians. Their stature was not, however, so gigantic as it appeared to our simple narrator, for it varies from 5ft. 10in. to 5ft. 8in., being somewhat above the middle height among Europeans. For arms they had a short massive bow, and arrows made of reed, of which the point was formed of a sharp pebble.
The captain, to retain two of these savages whom he wished to take to Europe, used a stratagem, which we should characterize as hateful in the present day, but which had nothing revolting about it for the sixteenth century, when Indians and negroes were universally considered to be a kind of brute beasts. Magellan loaded these Indians with presents, and when he saw them embarrassed with the quantity, he offered to each of them one of those iron rings used for chaining captives. They would have desired to carry them away, for they valued iron above everything, but their hands were full. It was then proposed to fasten the rings to their legs, to which they agreed without suspicion. The sailors then closed the rings, so that the savages found themselves in fetters. Nothing can give an idea of their fury when they discovered this stratagem, worthy rather of savages than of civilized men. The capture of others was attempted, but in vain, and in the chase one of the Spaniards was wounded by a poisoned arrow, which caused his death almost instantaneously. Intrepid hunters, these people wander about perpetually in pursuit of guanaquis and other game; they are endowed with such wonderful voracity "that what would suffice for the nourishment of twenty sailors, can scarcely satisfy seven or eight of them." Magellan, foreseeing that the stay here was likely to be prolonged, and perceiving that the country only presented meagre resources, gave orders to economize the provisions, and to put the men on fixed rations, that they might not experience too great privations before the spring, when they might reach a country where there was more game. But the Spaniards, discontented at the sterility of the place, and at the length and rigour of the winter, began to murmur. This land seemed to stretch southwards as far as the Antarctic pole, they said; there did not seem to be any strait; already several had died from the privations they had endured; lastly it was time to return to Spain, if the commander did not wish to see all his men perish in this place.
Magellan, fully resolved to die, or else to bring the enterprise he commanded to a successful issue, replied that the Emperor had assigned him the course which the voyage was to take, and he neither could nor would depart from it under any pretext, and that in consequence, he should go straight forward to the end of this land, or until he met with some strait. As to provisions, if they found them insufficient, his men might add to their rations the produce of their fishing or hunting. Magellan thought that so firm a declaration would impose silence on the malcontents, and that he would hear no more of privations, from which he suffered equally with his crews. He deceived himself completely. Certain of the captains, and Juan de Carthagena in particular, were interested in causing a revolt to break out. These rebels therefore began by reminding the Spaniards of their old animosity against the Portuguese. The captain-general being one of the latter nation, had never, according to them, tendered a whole-hearted allegiance to the Spanish flag. In order to be able to return to his own country and to gain pardon for what he had done wrong, he wished to commit some heinous crime, and nothing could be more advantageous to Portugal than the destruction of this fine fleet. Instead of leading them to the Archipelago of the Moluccas, of the riches of which he had boasted to them, he wished to take them into frozen regions, the dwelling-place of eternal snow, where he could easily manage that they should all perish; then with the help of the Portuguese on board the squadron, he would take back to his own country the vessels which he had seized.
Such were the reports and accusations that the partisans of Juan de Carthagena, Luis de Mendoza, and Gaspar de Quesada had disseminated among the sailors, when on Palm Sunday, the 1st of April, 1520, Magellan summoned the captains, officers, and pilots, to hear mass on board his vessel and to dine with him afterwards. Alvaro de la Mesquita, a cousin of the captain-general, accepted this invitation with Antonio de Coca and his officers, but neither Mendoza nor Quesada, nor Juan de Carthagena, who was Quesada's prisoner, appeared. The next night the malcontents boarded the Sant'-Antonio with thirty of the men of the Concepcion, and desired to have La Mesquita given up to them. The pilot, Juan de Eliorraga, while defending his captain, received four stabs from a poniard in the arm. Quesada cried out at the same time, "You will see that this fool will make our business fail." The three vessels, the Concepcion, Sant'-Antonio, and Santiago, fell without difficulty into the hands of the rebels, who reckoned more than one accomplice among the crews. In spite of this success, the three captains did not dare openly to attack the commander-in-chief, and sent to him some proposals for a reconciliation. Magellan ordered them to come on board the Trinidad to confer with him; but this they stoutly refused to do, whereupon Magellan, having no further need of caution, had the boat seized which had brought him this answer, and choosing six strong and brave men from amongst his crew, he sent them on board the Victoria under the command of the alguazil Espinosa. He carried a letter from Magellan to Mendoza enjoining him to come on board the Trinidad, and when Mendoza smiled in a scornful manner, Espinosa stabbed him in the throat with a poniard, while a sailor struck him on the head with a cutlass. While these events were taking place, another boat, laden with fifteen armed men, came alongside the Victoria, and took possession of her without any resistance from the sailors, surprised by the rapidity of the action. On the next day, the 3rd of April, the two other rebel vessels were taken, not however without bloodshed. Mendoza's body was divided into quarters, while a clerk read in a loud voice the sentence that blasted his memory. Three days afterwards, Quesada was beheaded and cut in pieces by his own servant, who undertook this sad task to save his own life. As to Carthagena, the high rank which the royal edict had conferred upon him in the expedition saved him from death, but with Gomez de la Reina, the chaplain, he was left behind on the shore, where some months afterwards he was found by Estevam Gomez. Forty sailors convicted of rebellion were pardoned because their services were considered indispensable. After this severe lesson Magellan might well hope that the mutinous spirit was really subdued.
When the temperature became milder the anchors were weighed; the squadron put to sea on the 24th of August, following the coast, and carefully exploring all the gulfs to find that strait which had been so persistently sought. At the level of Cape St. Croix, one of the vessels, the Santiago, was lost on the rocks during a violent gale from the east. Happily both the men and merchandise on board were saved, and they succeeded also in taking from the wrecked vessel the rigging and appurtenances of the ship, which they divided among the four remaining vessels.
At last on the 21st of October, according to Pigafetta, the 27th of November according to Maximilian Transylvain, the flotilla penetrated by a narrow entrance into a gulf, at the bottom of which a strait opened, which as they soon saw passed into the sea to the south. First they called this the Strait of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, because this was the day dedicated to them. On each side of the strait rose high land covered with snow, on which they saw numerous fires, especially to the left, but they were unable to obtain any communication with the natives. The details which Pigafetta and Martin Transylvain have given with regard to the topographical and hydrographical dispositions of this strait are rather vague, and as we shall have to mention it again when we speak of De Bougainville's expedition, we shall not dilate upon it now. After sailing for twenty-two days across this succession of narrow inlets and arms of the sea, in some places three miles wide, in some twelve, which extends for a distance of 440 miles and has received the name of Magellan's Strait, the flotilla emerged upon a sea of immense extent and great depth.
The rejoicings were general when at last the sailors found themselves at the long-wished-for end of their efforts. Henceforward the route was open and Magellan's clever conjectures were realized.
Nothing is more extraordinary than the navigation of Magellan upon this ocean, which he called Pacific, because for four months no storm assailed him upon it. The privations endured by the crews during this long space of time were excessive. The biscuit was nothing more than dust mixed with worms, while the water had become bad and gave out an unbearable smell. The sailors were obliged to eat mice and sawdust to prevent themselves from dying of hunger, and to gnaw all the leather that it was possible to find. As it was easy to foresee under these circumstances, the crews were decimated by scurvy. Nineteen men died, and thirty were seized with violent pains in their arms and legs, which caused prolonged sufferings. At last, after having sailed over more than 12,000 miles without meeting with a single island, in a sea where so many and such populous archipelagos were destined to be discovered, the fleet came upon two desert and sterile islands, called for that reason the Unfortunate Islands, but of which the position is indicated in much too contradictory a manner, for it to be possible to recognize them.
Page 1 of 2
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Celebrated Travels and Travellers
Author: Jules Verne
RELATED WEB LINK :
The Death of Magellan, 1521