Book Review on Ferdinand Magellan "Over the edge of the world" by Laurence Bergreen

Essay by j7d5High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2008

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In Over the Edge of the World, Laurence Bergreen portrays Ferdinand Magellan as a determined explorer who made one of the most daring and important discoveries of his time. Bergreen traces the life of Magellan from his early Portuguese sailing days to his death at the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521. His Portuguese sailing background gave him an important edge in his travels throughout the voyage. Magellan’s determination and ruthless leadership amongst his crew helped the armada overcome the hardships they faced. His important discovery of the strait that connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans was a critical breakthrough for circumnavigation of the globe.

Magellan’s Portuguese background was a critical factor in the success of his voyage. Born in Portugal, he grew up in Lisbon where he received the most advanced education in sailing and navigation. After his schooling, he served under King Manuel in the palace.

Portuguese charts and maps were regarded as classified information and treated as state secrets. An unauthorized individual caught with a chart would be punished severely, even with death. After 3 times of facing rejection by King Manuel for a voyage to India to retrieve spices, he decided to look elsewhere. He went to ask the King Spain and was granted the expedition he had been waiting for. Magellan brought with him many of Portugal’s most precious secrets: information about secret expeditions and Portuguese navigational knowledge of the world beyond Europe. He had 24 charts in all, most of them top secret, all of them extremely valuable. While searching for the a passage to the Pacific Ocean while making their way down South America, Magellan had a stolen map from the Treasury of Portugal depicting or suggesting a strait cutting through South America . This map gave him an idea of...