5/26/2023


Enrique of Malacca
Who was Enrique of Malacca? Enrique of Malacca was the first person to circumnavigate the globe linguistically—he traveled so far in one direction (west) that he came to a place where his own language was spoken. Enrique may have also circumnavigated the globe completely, a full circle of the earth beginning and ending in Malacca or somewhere in the Philippines. Enrique’s 10-year journey began in 1511 when Ferdinand Magellan took him as a slave following the Portuguese invasion of Malacca, and continued on Magellan’s Armada de Molucca. Enrique was last seen at Cebu. Read more about Enrique of Malacca.

Enrique of Malacca YouTube Playlist



I have finally begun organizing the Enrique of Malacca Playlist of YouTube videos on the many parts of history that Enrique of Malacca traveled through on his first circumnavigation.

5/03/2023

Diogo Ribeiro: Portrait of a 'Renaissance' Cartographer

Diogo Ribeiro's 1529 Vatican Planisphere.
Diogo Ribeiro's 1529 Vatican Planisphere. (Source.)


Diogo Ribeiro was a Renaissance cartographer, a mapmaker who did it all. In addition to creating several of the most extensive world maps of the early sixteenth century, Ribeiro sailed with Portugal's first expeditions to India and beyond, and he was an inventor and maker of navigation instruments. With this background he defected to Castile where he became a key player in the planning for Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition, and he later served as an adviser in negotiations over whether the Spice Islands lay in Spanish or Portuguese territory—backing the Spanish case with some grand cartographical deception.

4/18/2023

Paulo, Magellan’s Patagonian Giant

Group of Tehuelches
Group of Tehuelches (drawn 1832). (Source.)

Part 2 of series.


Part of the “explorer” mindset, a common reaction to encountering a novel people was the urge to kidnap a few to bring home as souvenirs. These foreign-looking men and women were presented alongside gold, spices, and other treasures brought back to Europe from the far reaches of the globe to present to sponsoring monarchs, evidence of great riches to be obtained in future expeditions.


4/16/2023

Some History on the Tomato and the Love Apple

Trout, Grouse, Tomatoes (Boston Public Library, (Source.)


A trite legend but accurate anecdote for the plant’s history, in the early 1800s people across America and Europe were terrified by an ornamental fruit that was pretty but highly poisonous, the love apple. According to the story, a man named Robert Gibbon Johnson announced to the community of Salem, New Jersey, that he was going to eat a basket of the deadly fruit in public. And as the townsfolk looked on in front of the courthouse, Johnson proceeded to openly consume a quantity of love apples and failed to keel over and die as expected, demonstrating that the tomato was, surprise, no danger at all.[1]


4/05/2023

The Gargantuan Feast of George Neville


Arms of George Neville
Arms of George Neville (c. 1432 – 8 June 1476),
Archbishop of York and Chancellor of England.

Research notes.

When George Neville[1] was installed as Archbishop of York in 1465, the event was celebrated with a feast that would have impressed the most gluttonous of kings. And as it was in much of Europe at the time, meat was the main feature, boiled, roasted, fried; flesh, fish, and game; and in greater variety than is available anywhere today.[2]

4/03/2023

Early Christianity, the Poorly Educated, and Donald Trump

Origen's Contra Celsum [1] (Source)

Research notes.

In her book The Darkening Age, Catherine Nixey explores the notion that it wasn’t just barbarian invaders and excessive taxes that caused the Roman Empire to fall, but that the “triumph” of Christianity lent a hand, especially in helping render the European continent ignorant for a thousand years.

3/27/2023

Enrique of Malacca Becomes First to Circumnavigate Globe


Map of Enrique of Malacca's circumnavigation
Map of Enrique of Malacca's circumnavigation: Malacca, Lisbon, Seville,
Rio de Janeiro, Puerto San Julián, Guam, Limasawa, Cebu.[1]

On March 28, 1521, Enrique of Malacca became the first person to complete a linguistic circumnavigation of the globe—he traveled so far in one direction that he reached a point where his own language was spoken. 

3/22/2023

Book Review: St. Elmo's Fire, A Magellan Novel

St. Elmo’s Fire
St. Elmo’s Fire.

With St. Elmo’s Fire, Oliver Theakston found a delightful way to explore the first circumnavigation. The novel is based on the actual history and historical characters, but gives us something history cannot: a taste of the sort of personality conflicts that must have existed on the three-year voyage.

3/15/2023

Magellan Reaches the Philippines, Survives Pacific Crossing

Magellan's starving fleet traveled 1,100 nautical over one week.


On March 16, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan's fleet reached the Visayan Islands—Spain's debut in the Philippines—where they finally found a safe place to land and get food after three deadly months at sea.

The fleet chanced upon Guam a week earlier, but wound up fighting with the Chamorro there. Seven Chamorro were killed and some forty houses burned. Soon after, Magellan's struggling three-ship armada, in beat-up condition, was chased off by more than a hundred of the Chamorro outrigger canoes—for quite a distance.