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1st November, 1520 the Strait of Magellan was discovered

On the 1st of November, 1520 during the world trip Ferdinand Magellan discovered and mapped the Strait, later called the Strait of Magellan in his honor. You can see on the map that the strait divides the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego and the continental South America. The main port, here today is a city of Punta Arenas (Chile).

Exactly, like Columbus, Magellan adhered to the idea that our planet is round. According to the draft map, which was designed and made ​​by Magellan in South America under the 40 ° S there should be a strait. The King of Portugal is not fully appreciated the plan of Magellan, so the navigator had to seek approval in Spain. To the great joy of the discoverer, Charles I was interested in finding a new route to India and Indonesia, and helped to organize the expedition.

In September, 1519 small fleet of five ships under the command of the famous Ferdinand Magellan left the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda (can be found on the map of Spain). In the last days of November, the ships reached the coast of Brazil, and by the end of December - were near the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, which started the search for the alleged Strait. The further the expedition went to the south, the colder and harsher weather conditions become, travelers were accompanied by storms; winter was approaching. Soon the sailors met penguins.

In March, 1520 when the expedition reached 49° S, Magellan decided to stay for the winter in the Bay of San Julian. However, the sailors on the following night staged a rebellion, demanding to return to Spain. But Magellan managed to quell the rebellion.

In May, Magellan equipped one of the vessels to the south to study areas. But the ship entered into a storm and broke. One person was killed and the others survived, but they were left without food. Only a few weeks later they were able to join the first team of the expedition. The loss of the ship with food and supplies caused serious damage to the team.

Below 52 ° S travelers saw the strait leading inland. On the 28th of November, Magellan brought the ships in the Pacific Ocean. For many years he was the only person in the world who managed to pass the strait later named in his honor, and not to lose any ship. If one studies topographic maps one can see some places in the Strait of Magellan that are very dangerous for shipping. Thus, with a total length of 575km in some stretches the width is only 3.5 km away and the least depth in the fairway 20m. Moreover , the rate of heavy currents up to 25km /h.

This Day in History 01-11-2013