The Straits of Magellan. History of the discovery

Magellan Strait - a picturesque world of glaciers and rocks, which was opened and first passed from October 21 to November 28, 1520. Until the Panama Canal was built, the strait was of paramount importance for world trade. Until now, it is used by ships that go around the most southerly side of South America. The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans connect at this point, but this route went down in history as unpredictable and complex. In some places the Straits of Magellan are very narrow, taking into account strong winds and currents, passage through it may be unsafe. Nowadays everyone can see the extraordinary places that the early seafarers saw. Many cruise companies in America suggest traveling along the famous strait and visiting the picturesque coast covered with rocks and glaciers.

Fernand Magelan - navigator and discoverer, was born in a noble family in 1480. He received an excellent education, was fascinated by astronomy, studied cosmography and navigation. From his youth, his dream was to open a new route to the "islands of spices". He was the first who developed the plan of the expedition. When the Portuguese king did not approve of his intentions, he decided to enlist the support of the Spanish monarch Charles V. Thus, in 1519, Fernand Magelan with five Spanish ships sailed from the kingdom. The seafarer never left the belief that somewhere else there is another route to Asia, the western one.

On All Saints' Day, in November 1520, a strong storm drove the ships into a narrow strait that was bordered by rocks and glaciers. Then the team did not even guess how difficult the journey was waiting for it ahead. They sailed almost 600 km. On the strait, which was called Magellan "Strait of All Saints," and a little later the Spanish king renamed it the Strait of Magellan in honor of the famous and brave explorer.

For many years the discoverer remained the only captain who managed to pass this strait without losses. Not one of his ships crashed. He is also the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

The Straits of Magellan was for a long time the shortest route and the important trade route between the western coast of America and Europe. Colonizing coastal land did not work, although Spain has repeatedly tried to master this territory. The acute shortage of food and severe climatic conditions led to tragedies. Only in the 19th century colonization was successful. The Straits of Magellan were controlled by the Chilean authorities. In 1848, the port city of Punta Arenas was founded here, which until the opening in 1914 of the Panama Canal was one of the most important ports in the world.

The strait lies between the mainland of South America and the Tierra del Fuego archipelago . It is almost entirely located in the territorial waters of Chile, only the eastern extremity belongs to Argentina. Its length is almost 570 km, and the width - from 2 km in narrow places and up to 20 km - in the widest.

One of the most significant events in the history of the 16th century is the travels of Fernand Magellan. It was he who managed to prove that the Earth has the shape of a sphere. A passage from the Atlantic was opened, and the Europeans managed to cross the largest ocean for the first time - Quiet. Also during the expedition, Columbus's suggestions that the land occupies most of the Earth's surface were refuted. Magellan found out that everything is exactly the opposite. He left a great mark in history, his heroism was imitated, admired. All records during the trip were conducted by A. Pigafetta, who participated in the expedition as a volunteer. His historical notes are characterized by the accuracy of the presentation and are accompanied by special explanations.

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