Apr 27, 1521 CE: Magellan Killed in Philippine Skirmish

Apr 27, 1521 CE: Magellan Killed in Philippine Skirmish

On April 27, 1521, explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in a skirmish among rival tribes in the Philippines.


6 - 12


Anthropology, Social Studies, World History

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On April 27, 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by a poison arrow during a skirmish on the island of Mactan in what is now the Philippines. Magellan and his crew were assisting a local king they had allied with when they landed on the island of Cebu weeks earlier. Magellan and his crew endured a long voyage to the Philippines. First, they sailed from Spain to the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa. From there, they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to what is now Brazil and Argentina. The harrowing trip around the tip of South America—what is now called the Strait of Magellan—took 38 days. Then the crew set sail across the Pacific. By the time Magellan and his crew reached the Philippines, they had been at sea for more than a year. Magellan was on a route to Portuguese territories in the Spice Islands (now Indonesia). Although Magellan himself was Portuguese, he was working for Spain, and hoped to claim the lucrative islands for the Spanish Empire.

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National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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