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For the railcar named Ferdinand Magellan, see Ferdinand Magellan (railcar).

Ferdinand Magellan (/məˈɡɛlən/ or /məˈɛlən/; Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, IPA: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃w ðɨ mɐɣɐˈʎɐ̃jʃ]; Spanish: Fernando de Magallanes, IPA: [ferˈnando ðe maɣaˈʎanes]; c. 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth.

Born into a wealthy Portuguese family in around 1480, Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer and was eventually selected by King Charles I of Spain to search for a westward route to the "Spice Islands." Commanding a fleet of five vessels, he headed south through the Atlantic Ocean to Patagonia, passing through the Strait of Magellan into a body of water he named the "peaceful sea" (the modern Pacific Ocean). Despite a series of storms and mutinies, the expedition reached the Spice Islands in 1521 and returned home via the Indian Ocean to complete the first circuit of the globe. Magellan did not complete the entire voyage, as he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines in 1521.

The Magellanic penguin is named after him, as he was the first European to note it. Magellan's navigational skills have also been acknowledged in the naming of objects associated with the stars, including the Magellanic Clouds, now known to be two nearby dwarf galaxies; the twin lunar craters of Magelhaens and Magelhaens A; and the Martian crater of Magelhaens.


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