The First Voyage Round the World/Narrative of the Anonymous Portuguese

IN THE YEAR 1519. (From "Ramusio".)

In the name of God and of good salvation. We departed from Seville with five ships on the tenth of August, in the year 1519, to go and discover the Molucca Islands. We commenced our voyage from San Lucar for the Canary Islands, and sailed south-west 960 miles, where we found ourselves at the island of Tenerife, in which is the harbour of Santa Cruz in twenty-eight degrees of north latitude. And from the island of Tenerife we sailed southwards 1680 miles, when we found ourselves in four degrees of north latitude. From these four degrees of north latitude we sailed south-west, until we found ourselves at the Cape of Saint Augustin, which is in eight degrees of south latitude, having accomplished 1200 miles. And from Cape Saint Augustin we sailed south and by south-west 864 miles, where we found ourselves in twenty degrees of south latitude. From twenty degrees of south latitude, being at sea, we sailed 1500 miles south-west, when we found ourselves near the river, whose mouth is 108 miles wide, and lies in thirty-five degrees of the said south latitude. We named it the river of Saint Christopher. From this river we sailed 1638 miles south-west by west, where we found ourselves at the point of the Lupi Marini, which is in forty-eight degrees of south latitude. And from the point of the Lupi Marini we sailed south-west 350 miles, where we found ourselves in the harbour of Saint Julian, and stayed there five months waiting for the sun to return towards us, because in June and July it appeared for only four hours each day. From this harbour of Saint Julian, which is in fifty degrees, we departed on the 24th of August, 1520, and sailed westward a hundred miles, where we found a river to which we gave the name of River of Santa Cruz, and there we remained until the 18th of October. This river is in fifty degrees. We departed thence on the 18th of October, and sailed along the coast 378 miles south-west by west, where we found ourselves in a strait, to which we gave the name Strait of Victoria, because the ship Victoria was the first that had seen it: some called it the Strait of Magalhaens, because our captain was named Fernando de Magalhaens. The mouth of this strait is in fifty-three degrees and a half, and we sailed through it 400 miles to the other mouth, which is in the same latitude of fifty-three degrees and a half. We emerged from this strait on the 27th of November, 1520, and sailed between west and north-west 9858 miles, until we found ourselves upon the equinoctial line. In this course we found two uninhabited islands, the one of which was distant from the other 800 miles. To the first we gave the name of Saint Peter, and to the other the island of the Tiburones. Saint Peter is in eighteen degrees, the island of the Tiburones in fourteen degrees of south latitude. From the equinoctial line we sailed between west and north-west 2046 miles, and discovered several islands between ten and twelve degrees of north latitude. In these islands there were many naked people as well men as women, we gave the islands the name of the Ladrones, because the people had robbed our ship: but it cost them very dear. I shall not relate further the course that we made, because we lengthened it not a little. But I will tell you that to go direct from these islands of the Ladrones to the Moluccas it is necessary to sail south-west a 1000 miles, and there occur many islands, to which we gave the name of the Archipelago of Saint Lazarus. A little further there are the islands of the Moluccas, of which there are five, namely, Ternate, Tidor, Molir, Machiam, Bachian. In Ternate the Portuguese had built a very strong castle before I left. From the Molucca Islands to the islands of Banda there are three hundred miles, and one goes thither by different courses, because there are many islands in between, and one must sail by sight. In these islands until you reach the islands of Banda, which are in four degrees and a half of south latitude, there are collected from thirty to forty thousend cantaros of nutmegs annually, and there is likewise collected much mastic; and if you wish to go to Calicut you must always sail amidst the islands as far as Malacca, which is distant from the Moluccas 2000 miles, and from Malacca to Calicut are 2000 miles more. From Calicut to Portugal there are 14,000 miles. If from the islands of Banda you wish to round the Cape of Good Hope, you must sail between west and south-west until you find yourself in thirty-four degrees and a half of south latitude, and from there you sail westward, always keeping a good look-out at the prow not to run aground on the said Cape of Good Hope or its neighbourhood. From this Cape of Good Hope one sails north-west by west 2400 miles, and there finds the island of Saint Helena, where Portuguese ships go to take in water and wood, and other things. This island is in sixteen degrees south latitude, and there is no habitation except that of a Portuguese man, who has but one hand and one foot, no nose, and no ears, and is called Fornam-lopem.

Sailing 1600 miles north-west from this island of Saint Helena you will find yourself upon the equinoctial line: from which line you will sail 3534 miles north-west by north, until you find yourself in thirty-nine degrees north latitude. And if you wish to go from these thirty-nine degrees to Lisbon you will sail 950 miles eastward, where you will find the islands of the Azores, of which there are seven, namely, Terceira, San Jorge, Pico, Fayal, Graciosa, on the east, the island of Saint Michael, and the island of Saint Mary, all are between thirty-seven and forty degrees of north latitude. From the island of Terceira you will then sail eastward 1100 miles, where you will find yourself on the land of Lisbon.