On the Road

Magellan's Voyage and the Era of Global Trade

Rebecca Keller
Senior Science and Technology Analyst, Stratfor
Nov 1, 2015 | 13:17 GMT
A print of the explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480 - 1521) discovering the path to the Pacific, Circa 1520.
Circa 1520, A print of the explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480 - 1521) discovering the path to the Pacific.
(HULTON ARCHIVE/Getty Images)

Nearly 500 years ago, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan set out with a fleet of five ships on behalf of the Spanish crown. The intent was to conquer the seas and find an alternative western route to the Far East to maintain the spice trade. On Nov. 1, 1520, after more than a year of sailing and a failed mutiny, three ships entered the eastern opening of the passage now known as the Strait of Magellan. Technology has the power to break the chains of geographic constraints, just as breakthroughs like the caravel ship or the compass did hundreds of years ago. ...

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