ALONG THE DUSTY SPANISH road leading north from Granada plodded a mule. On its back, bouncing and cursing his luck, sat a glum Italian sea captain. Four years before, Captain Cristobal Colon — the English would call him Christopher Columbus — had come to Spain on horseback, like a gentleman. He had been received at court, granted audiences with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and invited to describe his daring plan to sail west across the Ocean Sea to India. Royal advisers had asked to study his maps and the charts on which he had plotted a course and he had waited, full of hope. The king was busy chasing Moslems out of Granada and the pious queen was more interested in church matters than exploration. Although everyone was polite and encouraging, no one offered the gold Columbus needed for his expedition. At last, gathering up his maps, he set out for the court of France. This time, like a peasant, he rode on the back of a mule, the only mount he could afford.
Some miles out of Granada, Columbus heard behind him the sound of galloping hoofs. Then a horseman in royal livery reined in beside him and called for him to stop. He must turn back, the horseman said. The queen wished to hear again his plan to sail to the Indies.
One royal adviser had not forgotten Columbus’ maps. When he heard that the captain was leaving Spain, he had rushed to Queen Isabella and urged her to hire Columbus to sail under the Spanish flag. Portugal, he reminded her, was profiting richly from such expeditions. He added, if Columbus found a route to the East, there would be a splendid opportunity to convert the heathen Indians and Chinese to Christianity. The queen agreed and asked to have Columbus brought to her.
In the queen’s chambers, Columbus once again spread out his maps and charts and described the voyage west around the world to India. The ancient Greeks, he told the queen, had thought the world was round and most learned men agreed. This globe-shaped earth had one great mass of land, which included Europe, Africa and Asi and one great body of water, the Ocean Sea. If a ship sailed straight from the east coast of Europe, it would have to come at last to the west coast of Asia.
As proof of his theory, Columbus read to Queen Isabella from a copy of a geography, The Picture of the World, written by Pierre d’Ailly, a famous scholar and a cardinal of the Church “The earth is round,” the cardinal wrote “and the Ocean Sea is relatively small. . . The water runs from one Pole to the other, making a sea which extends from the coasts of Spain and Africa to the shores of India. . . . Certainly the west coast of Africa cannot be far from the east coast of India, for in both places elephants are found”
“Master Columbus,” the queen interrupted, “how far do you calculate it is between one coast and the other?”
Columbus paused, then answered, “A caravel could sail it easily — two thousand four hundred miles.” He began to offer other proofs of his theories, but the queen had heard enough. She agreed that the voyage might well be possible, and offered to pay for the ships and men Columbus needed.
On August 3, 1492, the expedition set sail. There were three caravels — the Santa Maria, the Nina, and the Pinta — with eighty-eight men and provisions for a year. In his log book, Captain Columbus carried a letter of greeting from King Ferdinand to the Khan, the ruler of Cathay, or China. Columbus had no doubt that he would be able to deliver it.
The caravels sailed south to the Canary Islands, then turned west, into the open sea. Columbus chose this course because his maps showed that the Island of Cipangu lay due west of the Canaries.
The maps were wrong, but the course was good. By sailing westward, the caravels came into the strong currents of northwest winds that speeded them across the Ocean Sea.
Day after day, those favourable winds carried the little expedition farther from Spain. Day after day, the lookouts climbed to the crow’s nest, peered ahead and saw only the sea, empty, gray and endless. The seamen grew restless and afraid. What if Columbus was wrong? Suppose there was no land ahead at all, only water and wind and finally death. It was folly to sail so far from home.
Each night Columbus made entries in two log books. In one he wrote the true distance that the ships had traveled that day; in the other, he recorded a much shorter distance. The first book he kept for himself; the second he showed to the crews. “You see,” he would say, pointing to the figures, “we’ve come no way at all. How can you expect to raise land so soon?”
Among themselves, the men muttered about turning back. The old tales of terror were told again — tales of sea dragons and serpents, of a bottomless pit at the edge of the ocean and of a sea like glue that trapped a ship and held it fast until its crewmen starved and its planks and siding rotted away.
For thirty days Columbus marked his logbooks — thirty days and no land sighted. The crewmen’s mutterings turned into angry shouts. They threatened mutiny until Columbus promised that if they did not find land within three days they would turn back.
One day passed and a second, but there was no land. Then, on the third day, October 11, a branch of a tree drifted past one of the caravels, a branch green with fresh leaves, a certain sign that land was near. That night the lookout of the Nina, peering across the moonlit water, cried out: “Land ahoy!”
At dawn an island loomed ahead of the ships. By mid-morning the caravels rode at anchor. Columbus and his officers were rowed to the shore, where they kne1t and kissed the ground. Columbus claimed the island in the name of his king and Spain and gave it the name San Salvador.
The figures in the private log book added up to nearly 2400 miles, just the distance Columbus had calculated he would have to sail to reach Asia. The maps showed islands off the Asian coast, and he was certain that his San Salvador was one of them. When he explored the island he came upon a native village, filled with dark-skinned people. They were people of India, he thought, and he called them Indians. Their language was peculiar, but they were friendly and quite willing to board the caravels and serve as guides.
The Indians pointed out the way to two more islands, which would one day be known as Cuba and Haiti. Columbus tried to explain to them that he wished to see their cities and the market places where spices and gems were traded. The Indians simply looked puzzled. The people of Haiti did bring out some trinkets of gold. Seeing the white men’s delight, the Haitians told them that there was much more of this pretty yellow metal somewhere inland. Columbus needed nothing more to convince him that he was indeed near the riches of Asia. He left a group of his crewmen to build a settlement in Haiti and explore for gold, then set sail for Spain to tell the good news to Ferdinand and Isabella.
THE NEW WORLD
The return journey brought new terrors — storms and howling winds that tossed the caravels like leaves in a whirlpool. Time after time, it seemed that the ships would disappear into the furious Ocean Sea, but again Columbus was lucky. The winds that buffeted his ships brought them around to the best course for Spain and speeded them home.
The king and queen were at Barcelona and Columbus, followed by his crew, marched to the court through the city. They carried the golden trinkets from Haiti, odd-patterned baskets laden with curious fruits and cages in which screamed strange, bright-colored birds called parrots. With the seamen came a frightened little group of Indians. Ferdinand and Isabella hailed him as a hero. They promised him the money for new and larger expeditions and appointed him “General Governor of the Islands and Terra Firma of Asia and India.”
It seemed as if everything had gone exactly according to Columbus’ calculations. So it had, except that he had not gone around the world to Asia. Indeed, he had not been half-way around the globe. The Ocean Sea, which one day would be called the Atlantic, led to two continents marked on no map. Beyond these continents lay another vast sea and then the coast of Asia. The world was larger than anyone had supposed.
Twice Columbus returned to the land he thought was Asia. He found more islands — Santo Domingo, Trinidad and Martinique. He saw more wonders — tropical forests, peaks of volcanoes, mountains that disappeared into the clouds. He carried home more unknown plants –pineapples, sweet potatoes, tobacco. But he could not find the wealth he sought or the sea passage he was certain would lead to the mainland of Cathay or India. In 1503, on his last voyage, still searching for that passage, he explored the lands that would be called Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. During a storm, his ship took shelter for a night near the spot where four hundred and fifty years later there would be a man-made sea lane to the East, the Panama Canal. That night Columbus was barely forty miles from the Pacific Ocean, but it was hidden behind the hills and he never knew that it was there.
THE WORLD DIVIDED
His luck was running badly now. He did not find much gold. The settlement he had left on Haiti had disappeared before he returned and things did not go well in the new towns he founded. The settlers quarreled among themselves and with the natives, who were not all as gentle and friendly as the first Indians the Spaniards had met. As “Governor-General” of the colonies, Columbus struggled to maintain order. He was not as good an administrator as he was a navigator, nor were his brothers, who came to the islands with him on his second and third voyages.
In 1504, Columbus came home to Spain. He was tired, ill and bitterly disappointed. He was not poor, for the king had allowed him to share the profits of his voyages, but he had never had the rich cargos of pearls and spices and gems that had been his dream. His honours were also less than he had hoped for. After all, he thought, it meant little to be Governor-General of a few green islands when golden Cathay lay somewhere just beyond. Years later, men would acclaim him as the discoverer of a New World. But when he died, in 1506, he did not know what he had done.
The mystery of Columbus’ islands became more puzzling as Portuguese captains returned to Europe with tales of the Indies they had found by sailing around Africa. The lands at the ends of the two sea routes were nothing alike. Perhaps some people suggested, Columbus had not found the edge of Asia, but the original Garden of Eden. The islands were filled with delicate fruit, berries and vegetables; brilliantly colored birds and curious animals wandered their forests. Their people, it was said, were handsome savages who led a simple, joyful life, lived in grassy huts and saw no reason to cover themselves with clothes from head to foot — just the sort of people to live in paradise.
Whatever the islands were, many men were eager to share their wealth. Though Columbus had claimed them in the name of the king and queen of Spain, King John of Portugal ordered his admirals to prepare an expedition to explore the same area. The Spaniards, furious, demanded that the Portuguese cancel their plans. The Portuguese refused, and there was talk of war. Finally the matter was put to the pope. He called for a map, then drew a line, north to south, through the Ocean Sea at a point just west of the Cape Verde Islands. All the heathen lands west of this line, the pope said, should belong to Spain; all the heathen lands east of the line, to Portugal. After some bickering‚ the two kings agreed to the pope’s settlement, although neither of them thought that much land lay to east of the dividing line. A few years later, however, one of King John’s captains, sailing down the African coast, veered westward off his course and sighted land. It was the great eastern bulge of South America, the territory that one day would be called Brazil. The captain claimed it for Portugal.
As tales of such discoveries spread across Europe, many men with a taste for adventure longed to join the race to explore the wonders beyond the Ocean Sea. One of them was Amerigo Vespucci an Italian who was in Spain on business when Columbus returned from his first voyage. Something of a scientist, an avid reader of explorers’ tales, a collector of odd facts about strange beasts and curious plants, Vespucci was fascinated by reports of the Indian islands. He began to spend his time at the docks where the caravels were fitted out. He traded tales with the sailors and talked currents, winds and navigation with the captains. He began to sound like a veteran explorer and he persuaded the leader of an expedition to sign him on as ship’s astronomer.
In 1494, Vespucci saw for himself the lands that some men called paradise. Three times he returned to them — in 1496, 1499 and 1501. Wherever his ship touched land, he hurried ashore. In the evenings, returning to the caravel, he filled a journal with notes about the odd things he had seen — the shape of the trees, the fruits and flowers of the plants, the cries and plumage of the birds, the habits of the animals and the faces and customs of the natives. They were careful notes, the work of a man who was scientific as well as curious.
When Vespucci came home to stay, he read over his journals and tried to set the facts in order. A startling picture of what he actually had seen began to take shape in his mind. He remembered landing on a coastline that stretched so far on either hand that it seemed the edge of a continent, not an island. He poured over books of history and geography, searching for descriptions of animals, plants or people that matched those he had seen in his travels. He found none. This land, he reasoned, must have been unknown to the ancients, to the Greeks, the Romans and the men who wrote the Bible. It was unknown in all of history. When Vespucci published his notes in a book, he wrote that there was no question about it: Columbus had sailed to a Mundus Novus, a New World.
Probably a few other geographers had guessed the secret of the Indian islands. Vespucci wrote about it first and the credit was his. In 1507, when the mapmaker Martin Waldseemüller designed a great map of the world, a new map that included the discoveries across the Ocean Sea, he gave the New World Vespucci’s name. Amerigo, he called it, or, in Latin, America.
In one way, at least, Vespucci deserved the honour given him by the mapmaker. Centuries later other scientist-explorers studied his notes and knew that he had indeed found a continent. He had tramped along the shore of Venezuela, the first European to explore South America.
The caravels that followed Vespucci to the western continents carried colonists and royal governors as well as explorers. The kings of the Old World wasted no time in making their power felt in the new one. There was much work to be done — good ports had to be found, land cleared, houses put up and fields plowed. Often the colonists had to fight off raiding parties of hostile Indians. The natives were still called by the name Columbus had given them by mistake, a mistake that would never be corrected.
In spite of the hardships, there was no lack of eager settlers. Some came with dreams of founding great cities, some longed for the simple life of a sun-bathed island paradise, some sought riches. A few had wild projects of their own that would have seemed mad in Europe, but in a land that no one had known existed ten years before, nothing seemed impossible.
Ponce de Leön‚ governor of the island of Hispaniola, had been one of the first men to sign on when Columbus planned his second expedition. He had helped to conquer Hispaniola and had fought Carib Indians in Puerto Rico, but his goal was treasure. Whenever he found friendly natives, he coaxed them into telling their old tales, hoping he could find a clue that would lead to hidden gold. Then he heard the tale of Bimini, an island that was said to lie somewhere west of Puerto Rico. On Bimini, according to the stories, a magic fountain played. Its water sparkled, clear as crystal and any man who drank it would never grow old.
Ponce de Leön listened carefully. A legend of a fountain of youth had long been told in Europe. Suppose that the truth behind the legend — the fountain itself — was here in the New World. Afterall, the theory that there was land beyond the Ocean Sea had been hardly more than a legend in Europe for hundreds of years. How glorious to discover this fountain and how rich it would make the man who found it!
When the next Spanish ship left the New World for Barcelona, it carried a letter from Governor Ponce de Leön to King Ferdinand. He requested royal permission to seek and conquer the island of Bimini. After weeks, another vessel came with the king’s reply: permission granted. Ponce set forth from Puerto Rico with three caravels, following a course suggested by his Indian friends.
A few days later, the ships dropped anchor by a green and pleasant shore. It was Easter Sunday, a day the Spanish called Pascua Florida, or “Feast of Flowers,” so Ponce named the newly found land Florida. After sailing along the coast for several days, he returned to Puerto Rico. In a few weeks, according to his plan, he would sail to Florida with the men and tools to build a settlement. Then he would begin his search for the magic fountain.
In Puerto Rico there was trouble. During the governor’s absence, the Indians had risen in revolt. Ponce de Leön rushed from his ship to take command of his garrison. For eight years he fought to save the Spanish settlements and bring order to the territory. At last, in 1521, be made his long-planned journey to Florida. He discovered that it was inhabited by Indians who were even more fierce than those he had battled in Puerto Rico. There was no hope of building a settlement; a man risked his life if he merely rowed ashore.
Ponce gave no thought to the danger. He had come seeking a magic fountain and he was determined to find it. Guarded by a group of soldiers, he landed on the beach, found a rough trail and followed it inland. Except for the tramp of feet and the crackling of branches, the grove was silent. Birds ceased their cries, animals hid in the undergrowth and there was no sign of Indians. Then an arrow flew from nowhere and went deep into Ponce’s shoulder. The wound was serious. When the soldiers had carried Ponce back to his ship, his officers decided that the expedition must be abandoned. They set sail for a Spanish town in Cuba, where there were doctors and there Ponce died.
Florida was not forgotten. New adventurers scouted its coast and made a startling discovery. It was not an island at all; it was a peninsula, the southeastern tip of a second great continent in the New World. Ponce de Leön had been the first Spaniard to set foot on North America, the first European to explore that land since the days of the Vikings. Like Columbus, he had won a triumph and never knew it.
No one else tried to find the fountain of youth. The Indiana told many other tales, tales that sent Spaniards roaming the wilderness in search of riches and fame. In 1513, the same year that Ponce de Leön first saw Florida, an eager adventurer hacked his way through a steaming jungle. He hoped to find an ocean as vast as the Ocean Sea and a city of gold ruled by strange men called Incas.
Vasco Nunez de Balboa badly needed to make a great discovery, for he was in trouble with the king. Trouble was nothing new for Balboa. He seemed to have a special gift for getting into trouble — and, usually, getting out again. In his first years in the New World he had started a Plantation in Haiti, but his debts had grown faster than his crops. When the town lawyer set out with two shiploads of provisions for a new colony in South America, Balboa went with him, hidden in a barrel. The stowaway was not discovered until the ship was too far out at sea to turn back. Before it had reached its destination, he had persuaded the lawyer, Don Enciso, to appoint him second-in-command of the expedition. When they found that the new colony had been destroyed and abandoned, Enciso agreed to Balboa’s plan to use the supplies and men on their ships to build another settlement at Darien farther along the coast.
The new town was soon torn by quarrels among the settlers, but this worked to Balboa’s advantage. The angry men put all the blame on Enciso, seized him, shipped him home to Spain and chose Balboa as leader of the colony. For a time things went well. Darien thrived and Balboa’s courage, kindness and justice won him the friendship of most of the chiefs of the nearby Indian tribes. Then a traveler arrived from Spain with bad news. Don Enciso had complained to the king and a royal messenger was on the way to Darien with orders to bring Vasco Nunez de Balboa to Spain for trial.
Balboa knew that only a miracle could save him, but where could he find a miracle? Then he remembered the Indians’ story of a huge western sea and a city of gold. Perhaps that was the miracle needed. He would win a prize for Spain so rich that the king would gladly forgive him. After consulting the friendly Indian chiefs, he set sail with a hundred soldiers and about a thousand native warriors and porters.
The expedition headed north along the narrow neck of land that connects the continents of America. Balboa went ashore at the place where, the Indians said, the seas nearly touched. Ahead was the jungle — warped trees thickly hung with vines, matted undergrowth and swamps. Poisonous snakes, strange animals and fearsome insects attacked Balboa’s party as it fought its way inland. Hostile natives tried to bar the way. For more than two weeks Balboa struggled on, encouraged his men and secretly prayed that the Indians’ tales had a grain of truth in them. Even a small ocean, he told the saints, would be enough. On the nineteenth day, he came to a mountain, led a scouting party to its crest and looked toward the west. Beyond the green jungle lay a vast blue sea — the ocean that would one day be called the Pacific.
Three days later, Balboa waded into the white surf that edged the blue water. He gave thanks to God and the saints and claimed for Spain and his king the ocean, which he named the Southern Sea. Triumphantly he led his men back through the jungle to the ships, hurried to Darien, sent a messenger to the king and waited to hear that all his troubles were ended.
The king was indeed as grateful and as gracious as Balboa had hoped. He canceled his order for Balboa’s arrest and instead, appointed him admiral of the Southern Sea. The new admiral quickly made plans for more expeditions. He sent a party of workmen across the jungle to build ships that would carry him beyond his ocean to the Incas and their gold. When a new governor was named to take charge of the Darien colony‚ Balboa did not mind in the least. After all, he still had an entire ocean to command. The governor asked him to come to town and Balboa went readily, thinking that they would discuss plans for expeditions. Instead, he was arrested, charged with treason and tried before a judge who had been commanded to find him guilty. The governor, it seemed, was an ambitious man with his own dreams of riches and glory. In 1517 his executioner brought Balboa’s troubles to an end.
MAGELLAN AND CHARLES
That same year, a small, excitable Portuguese nobleman begged audience with King Charles, the new monarch of Spain. He carried with him into the throne room a small globe, a model of the world on which had been painted Balboa’s new ocean. The nobleman, Ferdinand Magellan, had spent years in the service of the king of Portugal. He had traded in the Indian Ocean and captained a patrol ship that guarded the route around Africa. While carrying out his duties, he had been wounded; the injury left him with a limp. When he asked for a small increase in pay, the king had refused. Burning with anger, Magellan had resolved to serve Portugal’s rival, Spain. Now he stood before the Spanish king, ready to reveal his plans for an expedition as daring as the one led by Columbus.
Magellan congratulated King Charles on the skill of his Spanish navigators, who had traveled halfway around the world. “But would it not be splendid,” he asked, “would it not be a triumph befitting a new and mighty monarch to send a navigator all the way around the world?” He added that, of course, such a voyage would certainly lead to the riches of the Indies.
King Charles had never tried to avoid fame. Even more important, he needed wealth. He had much territory to defend, a feud to settle with the pope and a war to finish with the king of France. Soldiers — and the money to pay them — were the answer to all these problems, but the Spanish treasury was nearly empty. With that in mind, the king asked Magellan to describe his plan.
Magellan held up the globe and pointed to the southern half of the New World, the mass of land that stood between the earth‘s two great oceans. Most of this territory, he explained, was still unexplored, still a mystery. “But of this I am certain, sire,” he said, “somewhere, cutting through this continent‚ there is a passage that leads to the Southern Sea. I have only to find it and we can sail by that route to the Islands of Spice and to India.”
Charles was impressed. When he learned that Magellan was an experienced, practical man of the sea, he agreed to furnish the money to pay for the expedition. It was not easy for him to find the money and the king of Portugal made angry threats when he heard that one of his officers intended to sail under the flag of Spain. For a year and a half, Magellan waited. Then Charles inherited the title and lands of his grandfather, the Holy Roman Emperor. With them he inherited the problems of Germany, where a noisy monk named Martin Luther was stirring up the people. More than ever, Charles needed a route to Asia’s riches and he gave the order for Magellan’s ships to be prepared.
In September, 1519, Magellan’s fleet of five tall ships sailed proudly away from Spain and out on the Ocean Sea. He ran into one difficulty after another. Fearful storms were followed by days of dead calm. Magellan’s officers challenged his command and his seamen muttered about revolt. When at last the ships reached the New World and began to sail down the coast of the southern continent, they ran into icy winds and snow. The caravels put in to shore and the sailors built a rough camp on the beach. There they waited, shivering and complaining, through the long months that are summer in the north but winter in the lands south of the equator.
When spring came, Magellan continued the voyage. The coastline seemed to stretch on endlessly and nowhere was there any sign of a passage to the Southern Sea. One caravel was lost, the other four sailed on and in his log-book Magellan noted that the expedition had been gone from Spain for a year.
A month later, in October of 1520, Magellan sighted a deep inlet bordered by steep mountains. He sent two ships into the narrow channel to investigate. A day passed, and then another and the scouting ships did not return. The sailors on the waiting caravels wept as they pleaded with Magellan to give up his hopeless search and take them back to Spain. Suddenly the far-off boom of a cannon echoed in the channel — a signal from the scouting ships. Soon they came sailing into sight and the captains called excitedly to Magellan. They had seen the incoming tide of their ocean, the Ocean Sea, meet the rushing tide of another sea; there must be a passage through the channel.
The sailors’ despair turned into joy. When Magellan commanded the fleet to sail into the channel, one captain held back. Supplies were running low, he said and nobody could tell how wide the Southern Sea would be. Magellan reminded the captain that they had sworn to the king that they would find the way to the Islands of Spice and he gave the order to sail on.
A storm broke as the caravels entered the channel. Rain poured down in blinding sheets. Black clouds above the high, dark cliffs on either side shut out the sun. On the heights, little points of light twinkled and glowed. They were fires the Indians had lit against the cold and seeing them, Magellan named the land beside the channel Tierra del Fuego –– “Land of Fire.”
THE CALM SEA
Three ships, not four, sailed out of the passage and into the sunlight, for the reluctant captain had turned back and was scurrying home to Spain. Magellan, thinking the ship was lost, searched for it for a time, then sadly gave up the hunt. He set a course across the Southern Sea, the unknown ocean that no European had sailed before.
The water was glistening blue and smooth, so calm that Magellan christened it El Mare Pacifico – “The Calm Sea.” It was so vast that, one seaman wrote later, “it was almost beyond a man’s wit to think of it.” Magellan kept to his course for two months. “During this time we had no fresh food at all,” the seaman wrote. “It was a dreadful time.”
To keep from starving, the sailors cut the leather bindings from the yardarms, soaked them, roasted them and ate them. Some ate sawdust. One man after another fell ill with scurvy, nineteen died and still there was no end to this unknown sea.
On the ninety-sixth day of the voyage from South America, Magellan sighted land. The caravels dropped anchor beside an island, one of the smaller of the Philippines. For the sailors, tumbling ashore, laughing and shouting as best they could with their parched throats, it meant food and water and an end to three months of terror. For Magellan, it meant success and triumph. The trees and bushes on the island were like those he had seen when he sailed to the Indies for the king of Portugal. They were proof that he had come around the world to Asia.
THE CIRCLE COMPLETED
The ships visited other islands and Magellan, a good Catholic, was anxious to tell the natives about Christianity. He went ashore to try to talk with them. The natives wanted no peaceful talk. They attacked the Spaniards and in the skirmish, Magellan was killed.
His expedition went on. Battling the sea and winds, running from hostile vessels, following wandering courses along strange coasts, the little fleet slowly made its way to the Indian Ocean. Crossing the ocean, it went around the tip of Africa and north to Spain. The circle around the world was completed.
Every man who returned from the two-year voyage was welcomed home as a hero. Spain and all Europe joined in the chorus of praise. The Emperor Charles gave noble titles and a fortune to the captain who had commanded the expedition during the last part of its voyage. Magellan, the leader whose daring and determination had made the great voyage possible, was almost forgotten.
Years later, historians would remember the Portuguese captain who had served the king of Spain, found a channel between the oceans and completed the journey of discovery that Columbus had begun. The mapmakers would name the channel “The Strait of Magellan.”
In only thirty years, the search for sea routes had increased men’s knowledge and led them to the New World. Now men would conquer the new land and plunder its riches. They would make many discoveries, enter unknown cities and cross strange mountains and plains; following a dream they all shared — a dream of riches, of treasure, of gold.