History’s Mysteries: The Magellan Matter

I find it intriguing that what should be one of the most easily-answerable questions in history:

Who first sailed around the world?

has an incorrect answer.

Ferdinand Magellan, right?

Nope.  Not even close.  All he did was go the equivalent distance thereof.  He sailed from Europe to the Philippines, then back again, then, a year later, out to the New World, around the southern tip and across to the Philippines… where he promptly hired himself and his band of cutthroats out as mercenaries to fight for a local warlord and got an arrow through his bonnet as a reward.

So, while he went the equivalent of, he never actually sailed around the world as a singular event.  There's no such thing as "the equivalent of" in the history books.  Either they did it or they didn't.

So, who did?

The fact that almost nobody knows is what makes this such a great PR victory for Spain, who Magellan sailed for.

When you cheat history, you're in the big time.

I suppose most people's next guess might be Sir Francis Drake.  Actually, if you'll recall, he was just the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, remember?  More of an 'honorary' title than anything else.

Okay, let's try Wikipedia.  Ah, here we go:

Andrés de Urdaneta (1498 – 1568) was a circumnavigator, explorer and Augustinian friar.  As a navigator he achieved in 1528 the second world circumnavigation after the first one led by Ferdinand Magellan in 1522.

BZZZT!!  Like Magellan, all he did was traipse out to the Philippines, then back to Europe, then, years later, across the Atlantic to the Americas.  He never even made it across the Pacific.  And for this he gets second place?  Rubbish.

Okay, so who did sail around the goddamned globe first?  Martín Ignacio de Loyola?  Olivier Van Noort?  Pedro Cubero?  William Dampier?  Great world circumnavigators, all!


Again from Wikipedia, and already relegated to the 'honorary' dustbin of history, we have:

Francis Drake (1540 – 1596) led the first English expedition to circumnavigate the world.

But this guy actually did it:

And he did it in this:

The Golden Hind

And he did it for England.

Francis, I just wanted to let you know that your incredible accomplishment has not been forgotten.

Way to go, big guy.