OVER THE EDGE
OF THE WORLD
Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation
of the Globe.
By Laurence Bergreen.
From the NY TIMES book review 12/7/2003 of the new book
Elcano is often credited with being the first circumnavigator. One of Bergreen's interesting subplots alternatively reveals Magellan's slave, Enrique, as the first human to circle the globe. Magellan had purchased him ''10 years earlier in Malacca, where he was baptized, and he had followed his master ever since across Africa and Europe,'' then across the Atlantic, through the Straits of Magellan and across the Pacific. Enrique appeared to be a loyal domestic, and Magellan's will stipulated unambiguously that in the event of his death, Enrique was to be freed immediately and paid 10,000 maravedis. Enrique astonished his shipmates in the Philippines by conversing with islanders. Apparently he was not a native of Malacca, but a Filipino captured in boyhood by slave traders from Sumatra. His service to Magellan created the circumstances in which he became the first person to circle the world and return home, albeit indirectly and not of his own volition.
William Manchester's best selling book,
A World Lit Only by Fire,
there is a compelling chapter about the discovery of the
Philippines and the man who was the first circumnavigator of the
world. You will be stunned to learn that it wasn't Ferdinand Magellan
who first circled the globe, but a Filipino. Manchester wrote:
Who is this Enrique? Read my tribute to this unknown explorer who I fondly call my greatxgreat grandfather on my website: