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 departed Malacca on the Malay Peninsula in 1512 or 1513, taken as a slave by Ferdinand Magellan after the 1511 Portuguese invasion of the area trade hub. They went first to Lisbon and later to Spain before departing on the Magellan-Elcano expedition that first circled the globe. Enrique was last seen by Magellan's fleet at Cebu (Philippines), some 2,600 kilometers from Malacca.

1558 Carrack Pieter Bruegel the Elder

May 12, 2022

Video Find: Don't Mess with 12-Foot Giants (Magellan and the Patagonians)


Here's a 13-minute video slideshow offering an introduction of Ferdinand Magellan's voyage and excerpts from the journal of Antonio Pigafetta, chronicler of the expedition. These include descriptions of the Tupi people in "Verzin" (Rio de Janeiro) and the Patagonian "giants." The video puts together an impressive range of images.

Ferdinand Magellan and his Armada de Molucca were the first Europeans to encounter the "Patagonian giants," whom Pigafetta described as so tall that "we reached only to his waist." Europeans on later voyages, including Sir Francis Drake's in 1579, also reported this race of giants living along the Patagonian coast (modern-day Argentina). The giants were likely Tehuelches, an indigenous people in the region.

See more of Pigafetta's descriptions of the Patagonian giants in the Enrique's Voyage series (links below).


YouTube Introduction:

The Magellan expedition was a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan which departed from Spain in 1519 and culminated, in 1522, with the first circumnavigation of the world. The fleet completed the first Pacific crossing, stopping in the Philippines, where Magellan encountered 12 ft race of giants. Watch to find out what happens next. 

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See Also:


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 language was spoken. Enrique’s journey began a decade earlier following the sack of Malacca, when he became a slave of Ferdinand Magellan. A teenager, he accompanied Magellan back to Portugal, then to Spain, and finally on the Armada de Molucca to locate a westward route to the Spice Islands.  Read more:




Was Enrique of Malacca Filipino?

Enrique of Malacca's origin is a subject of debate. Three places are considered possible: Malacca, then a major trade hub on the Malay Peninsula; Sumatra, the large island adjacent to Malacca; and the Visayan Islands in the (modern-day) Philippines. The evidence points to Malacca, though chronicler Antonio Pigafetta said Sumatra, and some scholars believe it's possibly Enrique was from the Visayan Islands in the modern-day Philippines? See the historical evidence in this post: Where was Enrique of Malacca from, Malacca or the Philippines?





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