Whether to Continue After Finding the Strait

October 27, 1520, (Enrique).

Having found the strait, the Captain General held a council of captains and pilots to ask opinions on whether to continue exploring the waterway.

Only Estêvão Gomes argued we that had found the pass and should return to Spain. Gomes had eyes on an expedition of his own. He had eyes also on reporting the Captain General for the torture and the quartering of mutineers—all Spanish, punishment from a Portuguese captain at sea. Quartering. That was horrifying.

As for the rest of the officers and many of the crew, they agreed to press on because of the Old Man's rants about their duty to their king (an eighteen-year-old from Flanders who didn't even speak Spanish), but moreover because of their fear of Magellan, who had crushed a mutiny with the brutality of a soldier and conqueror, which the Old Man was—so much more than sailors were used to in a ship's captain.

As for me, Enrique of Malacca, it was a choice between returning to Spain or Portugal, versus sailing on westward. To me it was a choice of returning to Europe and slavery, and heading home.

(C) 2020, by Targets in English


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