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 following the Portuguese invasion of Malacca and continued on Magellan’s Armada de Molucca. Enrique toured the world at a time of seismic global change. Read more about Enrique of Malacca.

Documentary Captures Ferdinand Magellan's Shipboard Experience

This short documentary shows extensive video footage aboard a modern-day replica of the Victoria, the one ship from Ferdinand Magellan's five-ship fleet of carracks that completed the first circumnavigation of the globe.

While configurations of the five ships are unknown, the Victoria has been the most studied, and life-size replicas have been built (see the above video of a replica Victoria at sea). Listed at 85 tons, the Victoria was the second-smallest of the Armada de Molucca, but also the second-most-expensive, costing more than Magellan’s flagship, the Trinidad.


Enrique in the News: Atlas Obscura

Kate McMahon, a freelance journalist, wrote this piece on Enrique of Malacca for the Atlas Obscura website. It's always exciting to see Enrique receive attention. His ten-year journey toured the very beginnings of colonialism from the first Portuguese foray into Southeast Asia in 1511 to Spain's 1521 arrival there from the other direction—Malacca to Cebu the long way.


Barbosa on Jeddah and Mecca

 Portuguese attack in 1517. By Gaspar Correia. (Source.)

Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio), 1515.


Leaving the port of Eliobon to go out of the Red Sea, there is a town of the Moors, called Guida, and it is the port of Mecca, whither the ships used to come every year from India with spices and drugs, and they returned thence to Calicut with much copper, quicksilver, vermillion, saffron, rose-water, scarlet silks, camelots, tafetans and other goods, of stuffs used in India, and also with much gold and silver; and the trade was very great and profitable. 


Suez and Land Routes to Cairo, Alexandria


Suez, 1541 drawing
Suez, 1541 drawing. (Source.)

Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio), 1515.


Leaving this country of Prester John and the coast of the sea of Arabia Felix, and turning to the other part of the Red Sea, which is also called Arabia, and the Moors call it Barra Arab, there is a village, a sea-port called Suez, and thither the Moors of Guida, the port of Mecca, bring all the spices, drugs, precious stones, seed pearl, amber, musk, and other merchandise of great value from the parts about India; and from there they load them on camels to carry them by land to Cairo, and from Cairo other merchants carry them to Alexandria; and from there the Venetians and other Christians usually export them.


Explorer Bios: João Vaz Corte-Real

João Vaz Corte-Real
Corte-Real (Source.)
  • João Vaz Corte-Real (c. 1420–1496). João Vaz Corte-Real was a Portuguese sailor who according to some accounts reached Greenland and possibly even Newfoundland two decades before Christopher Columbus's voyages to the Americas. Corte-Real's 1873 expedition was possibly a joint venture between the kings of Portugal and Denmark, possibly German-led, and may have included the German privateer Didrik Pining and the Portuguese Álvaro Martins. Danish involvement here is a reminder of Denmark's early colonial presence, which later extended to colonies across four continents.


Explorer Bios: John Cabot

John Cabot
Cabot (Source).
  • John Cabot (c. 1450–1499). Sailing under the English flag for King Henry VII, the Italian navigator John Cabot is credited with “discovering” parts of North America, possibly reaching Newfoundland. News of Christopher Columbus's crossing of the Atlantic and Portugal's reaching the Indian Ocean spurred the English monarch to action. Cabot’s 1497 voyage marked the earliest-known (confirmed) European exploration of coastal North America since the Norse visits to "Vineland" led by Leif Eriksson in the eleventh century. Cabot's expeditions put England into the colonial race right at the start and helped lay the groundwork for the British claim to Canada—even though the exact landing site was (and still is) unknown. Just reaching a land first was enough in the European mindset to claim sovereignty, as was the case with Ferdinand Magellan in the Visayan Islands (Philippines). Spain would soon boast of an empire over which the sun never set, but it was a claim the British would most known for.


Barbosa's Travel Guide to the Kingdom of Prester John

Map of Prester John's kingdom as Ethiopia, 1564.
 Map of Prester John's kingdom as Ethiopia, 1564." (Source.)


Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio), 1515.

Leaving these towns of the Moors and entering into the interior of the country, the great kingdom of Prester John is to be found, whom the Moors of Arabia call Abexi [Habeshy]; this kingdom is very large, and peopled with many cities, towns, and villages, with many inhabitants: and it has many kings subject to it and tributary kings. 


Barbosa on Zanzibar: 'Feeble People' Who 'Live in Luxury'

Zanzibar,1748 map by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin. (Source.)


Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio), 1515.

Between this island of San Lorenzo and the continent, not very far from it, are three islands, which are called one Manfia, another Zanzibar, and the other Penda; these are inhabited by Moors; they are very fertile islands, with plenty of provisions, rice, millet, and flesh, and abundant oranges, lemons, and cedrats. All the mountains are full of them; they produce many sugar canes, but do not know how to make sugar.


Malindi, a Strategic Maritime Trade Stop

Malindi. Detail of Waldseemuller's 1507 map.

Malindi. Detail of Waldseemuller's 1507 map.* (Source.)


Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio), 1515.

After passing the city of Mombaza, at no great distance further on along the coast, there is a very handsome town on the mainland on the beach, called Melinde [Malindi], and it is a town of the Moors, which has a king. 

And this town has fine houses of stone and whitewash, of several stories, with their windows and terraces, and good streets. The inhabitants are dusky and black, and go naked from the waist[13] upwards, and from that downwards they cover themselves with cloths of cotton and silk, and others wear wraps like cloaks, and handsome caps on their heads.