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MAGELLAN'S GREAT PLAN
"They were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea."
BEFORE relating how Magellan started off on his voyage round the world, let us turn back for a moment and see how
former discoverers had prepared the way for this wonderful voyage.
It was just one hundred years since Prince Henry of Portugal
had set up his watch-tower on the bleak southern coast of Spain, despatching ship after ship to explore the
 of Africa. Forty-six years later the equator was passed; another forty years and Bartholomew Diaz
had sighted the mysterious Cape at the south of Africa, which was discovered by Vasco da Gama
eleven years later on his way to India.
So much for the Portuguese voyages to the East.
was sailing to the West in the service of Spain, discovering islands off the coast of North America, to be
followed by Cabot
to Newfoundland, Cabral
to Brazil, and Amerigo Vespucci
to the mouth of the great river La Plata, to the south of Brazil. All these explorers had touched the coast of
America at different points, fondly dreaming that it was the coast of Asia.
Other ideas were, as we have seen, slowly taking shape, when Balboa discovered the great sea on the far side of
America, thus enlarging the geography of the world.
There was a young Portuguese sailor called Magellan. He had sailed with Albuquerque
in the expedition to Goa, after which he had accompanied him to the islands beyond India, now known as the East
Indies, in the first European ships which had ventured beyond Ceylon.
Here is a story told of Magellan, which shows him to be made of the stern stuff of heroes. While the ships were
preparing to take in a
 cargo of pepper and ginger from the city of Malacca, the king was plotting for their destruction. The commander
of the expedition was sitting on the quarterdeck of his flag-ship, deep in a game of chess, which the dark
faces of the natives watched intently. No one suspected them of treason. Ashore, the houses rose one above
another on the hillside, while the tall tower of the citadel glistened in the September sunshine.
From time to time the natives on the shore and on board glanced to the top of the tower, expecting every moment
to see the puff of smoke which would tell them to fall upon the foreigners and put them to death. But the
secret had just leaked out. Information reached the nearest ships, and suddenly the Portuguese sailors began
chasing the natives from their decks. Magellan sprang into a boat, and made for the flag-ship, shouting
"Treason! treason!" He was just in time to save the chess-loving commander.
Meanwhile one Serrano, in charge of the cargo, was being pursued by the light skiffs of the Malay natives. He
was struggling against fearful odds, when Magellan rowed up and joined battle with such strength and fury that
he saved Serrano. The European guns soon did the rest, and the Malays attacked no more. This was the beginning
of a devoted friendship between Magellan and Serrano, out of which grew perhaps the most wonderful voyage ever
related in history.
 Soon after this Magellan returned to Portugal. For seven long years and more he had fought with wind and
wave,—he had suffered the hardships which belonged to the life of a sailor in those early days of navigation.
He was longing to be off again, to explore farther among those islands beyond India. Dreams of finding his way
to them by sailing westwards past the New World of Columbus never left him. There must be some strait through
which he could reach the Indian Ocean and the Spice Islands, as some of these East India islands were called.
He laid his plan before the King of Portugal, but he refused to listen or help. Magellan then asked whether he
might go and lay his scheme before some other master.
"You can do as you please," answered the king.
Upon this Magellan desired to kiss his hand at parting, but the king would not offer it.
As Columbus, Cabot, and Vespucci had done before him, Magellan now passed from Portugal into Spain. He soon
found favour in the eyes of Charles V., the boy-king of Spain, who ordered an expedition to be fitted out under
his command. Away into the great South Sea, discovered so lately by Balboa, Magellan was to sail. His scheme
was not unlike that of Columbus: his dream was to be realised yet more fully than that of the famous discoverer
"Sail to the West and the East will be found."