Monday September 6, 2021’s Smile of the Day: The First Circumnavigation of the Earth

On this Day:

In 1522, Ferdinand Magellan’s Spanish expedition aboard the Vitoria returned to Spain without their captain. They were the first to circumnavigate the earth. Or were they? Was Ferdinand the first person to circumnavigate the Earth?  It is a circular question…

Ferdinand Magellan, (Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, Spanish: Fernando de Magallanes, 4 February 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese explorer and Hispanic Monarchy’s subject from 1518. He is best known for having planned and led the 1519 Spanish expedition to the East Indies across the Pacific to open a maritime trade route in which he discovered the interoceanic passage bearing thereafter his name and achieving the first European navigation from the Atlantic to Asia. This expedition, where Magellan was killed in battle against the natives of Mactan Island (present-day Philippines) in 1521, resulted in the first circumnavigation of the Earth when one of the expedition’s two remaining ships eventually returned to Spain in 1522.

Born 4 February 1480 into a family of minor Portuguese nobility, Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer and was in service of the Portuguese Crown in Asia. Confronted with some criminal offences and after King Manuel I of Portugal refused to support his plan to reach the Maluku Islands (the “Spice Islands”) by sailing westwards around the American continent, Magellan left Portugal and proposed the expedition to King Charles I of Spain who accepted it. For this move, Magellan was henceforth considered by many in Portugal as a traitor and was never to return. He adopted the name of Fernando de Magellanes and settled in Seville where he married and fathered two children; and from where he organised the expedition. In consideration to the allegiance to the Hispanic Monarchy, Magellan was appointed in 1518 admiral of the Spanish Fleet to command the expedition, the five-ships Armada of Molucca, as well as Commander of the Order of Santiago, one of the highest military ranks of the Spanish Empire.

Granted with special powers and privileges by the King, he headed the Armada from Sanlucar de Barrameda south through the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern coast of South America down to Patagonia. Despite a series of storms and mutinies, they made it through the Strait of Magellan into the Mar del Sur which he renamed the “Peaceful Sea” (the modern Pacific Ocean). The expedition reached Guam and shortly after, the Philippine islands, where Magellan was killed during the Battle of Mactan in April 1521. Under the command of captain Juan Sebastian Elcano, the expedition later reached the Spice Islands and, to navigate back to Spain and avoid seizure by the Portuguese, the two remaining ships split, one attempting unsuccessfully to reach New Spain sailing eastwards across the Pacific while the other, commanded by Elcano, sailed westwards via the Indian Ocean and up the Atlantic coast of Africa to finally arrive at the expedition’s port of departure, completing the first circuit of the globe.

While at the Kingdom of Portugal’s service, Magellan had already reached the Malay Archipelago in Southeast Asia on previous voyages traveling east (from 1505 to 1511–1512). By visiting this area again but now travelling west, Magellan achieved a nearly complete personal circumnavigation of the globe for the first time in history (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

The only thing Flat-Earthers fear…is Sphere itself.

Second, a Song:

TED Conferences LLC (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an American media organization that posts talks online for free distribution under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”. TED was conceived by Richard Saul Wurman, who co-founded it with Harry Marks in February 1984 as a conference; it has been held annually since 1990. TED’s early emphasis was on technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins. It has since broadened its perspective to include talks on many scientific, cultural, political, humanitarian and academic topics. It has been curated by Chris Anderson, a British-American businessman, through the non-profit TED Foundation since July 2019 (originally by the non-profit Sapling Foundation).

The main TED conference is held annually in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Prior to 2014, the conference was held in Long Beach, California, United States. TED events are also held throughout North America and in Europe, Asia, and Africa, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past speakers include Bill Clinton, Sean M. Carroll, Elon Musk, Ray Dalio, Cédric Villani, Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Temple Grandin, Shahrukh Khan, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Billy Graham, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Bill Gates, Dolph Lundgren, Bob Weir, Shashi Tharoor, Bono, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Leana Wen, Pope Francis, Jeff Bezos, and many Nobel Prize winners.

Since June 2006, TED Talks have been offered for free viewing online, under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives Creative Commons license, through As of December 2020 over 3,500 TED Talks are freely available on the website. In June 2011, TED Talks’ combined viewing figure stood at more than 500 million, by November 2012, TED Talks had been watched over one billion times worldwide. While TED Talks are available for free online for personal learning, sharing TED content in commercial contexts (for example, in corporate learning and talent development) requires a license.

TED-Ed is a YouTube channel from Ted which creates short animated educational videos. It also has its own website. TED-Ed lessons are created in collaboration with educators and animators. Current advisers for Ted-Ed lessons include Aaron Sams, Jackie Bezos, John Hunter, Jonathan Bergmann, Sir Ken Robinson, Melinda French Gates, and Sal Khan. It has over 13.3 million subscribers and over 2.2 billion views as of February 2021 (per Wikipedia).

Ewandro Magalhaes is a writer, former United Nations staff and a conference interpreter. He is also a TED author, a professor and a former Chief Interpreter in the UN system. Ewandro is a career coach and mentor to language professionals. He is also the go-to person in the promising field of remote interpretation.

Ewandro is the author of  Sua Majestade, o Intérprete: O Fascinante Mundo da Tradução Simultânea, released in 2007 (Parábola Editorial, São Paulo), the first book on the craft of interpreting in the Portuguese language. He contributes regular articles to the ATA Chronicle, the journal of the American Translators Association. His LinkedIn articles are often featured on LinkedIn Pulse and cover subject matters ranging from language, to pop psychology to public speaking.

Ewandro is a sought-after keynote speaker and instructor. His talks sell out fast and are usually standing room only.

Ewandro Magalhaes has interpreted for hundreds of international dignitaries and thousands of ordinary people from all walks of life. He has interpreted for two American presidents and five Brazilian Presidents.

A national of Brazil and a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., Ewandro Magalhaes has traveled the world as an interpreter, lecturer, and trainer. He has taught in Brazil, the United States, and Europe for well over a decade. The author has been featured in regional, national and international media. A non-exhaustive list of such media appearances is available in the Press section . Be sure to also check out the highlights of his career as a conference interpreter.

He lives in New York City with his wife, their three children, and Freddie, the family’s Yorkie (per

Here is TED-Ed’s video on How Magellan circumnavigated the globe by Ewandro Magalhaes.  I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.” – Ferdinand Magellan

Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

Leave a Reply