Enrique of Malacca: Online Sources

The Many Faces of Enrique of Malacca.

Only a handful of contemporary sources mention Enrique (Henrique), Ferdinand Magellan’s slave-interpreter, yet the character has grabbed people's imagination and been adopted as a hero in Southeast Asian countries. The notion that an Austronesian slave taken in war became one of the first—and possibly thee first—circumnavigators has fueled study of Enrique and made him a character depicted in fiction and film. Below are links to materials and discussion of Enrique of Malacca.

Most of the contemporary sources are available online at the Internet Archive, Gutenberg.org, and elsewhere. Find links and discussion of those sources at the Online Resources Page of Enrique’s Voyage. For immediate reference, a main online source containing several contemporary accounts is included (immediately) below (chronicler Antonio Pigafetta’s journal, Francisco Albo’s navigational log, and others).

Contemporary Accounts: Antonio Pigafetta, Francisco Albo, Maximilian the Transylvan. The First Voyage Round the World by Magellan and Other Contemporary Documents. Translated into English by Lord Stanley of Alderley. Printed for the Hakluyt Society, London, 1874. This collection includes Pigafetta’s journal and other key accounts including Francisco Ablo’s navigational log that charted the expedition’s position and progress on a daily basis. For other contemporary accounts, see links on the Online Resources Page of Enrique Voyage.

Wikipedia, Enrique of Malacca. Wikipedia’s basic article offers good coverage on Enrique with citations to further sources. For more, see the Wikipedia: Enrique of Malacca Talk Page, which shows debate and discussion about Enrique, especially concerning his origin. Some scholars in the Philippines believe that since Enrique could converse with locals at Limasawa Island and Cebu, he may have been from the Visayas and was perhaps already a slave in Malacca when the Portuguese invaded and Enrique became Ferdinand Magellan’s slave.

Enrique of Malacca’s Journey. EnriqueOfMalacca.com. This site offers essays and resources on Enrique, Magellan, and the history Enrique witnessed during his ten-year circumnavigation, 1512–1522.

Who was the first circumnavigator?

Around the world people associate the first circumnavigation with Ferdinand Magellan, and many schoolchildren are taught that he was the first to circle the globe, despite Magellan’s death at Mactan halfway through that voyage. After Magellan, credit is often given to Juan Sebastián Elcano, originally a ship’s master aboard the Concepción who became the Victoria’s captain during the final year of the expedition. It was the Victoria that completed a first circuit of the globe in September 1522.

But Enrique of Malacca completed a circumnavigation by language a full year and a half before the 18 men aboard the Victoria reached Spain. He sailed so far in one direction that he returned to a region where his own language was spoken. And he may have traveled to where he started, Malacca.

So who gets credit for the first circumnavigation, Enrique, Magellan, or Elcano? Or if the latter, perhaps whichever crewman was at the bow of the returning Victoria when it crossed the path of its departing route? 

Enrique of Malacca Becomes First to Circumnavigate Globe,” by John Sailors. Enrique of Malacca’s Voyage, March 27, 2023.

Was Magellan the First Person to Circumnavigate the Globe?” by Evan Andrews. History Channel (History.com), updated Aug. 31, 2023.

Magellan or Enrique? Who was really the first person to sail around the world?” by Alan Teh Leam Seng. New Straits Times, July 27, 2019. 

Who Closed the Circle First?” by Jim Foster. The Magellan Project (MagellanProject.org), Aug. 26, 2015.

Did an Enslaved Man Beat Magellan to Circling the World?” by Kate McMahon. Atlas Obscura, Nov. 20, 2023. 

Enrique of Melaka.” by Sabri Zain. Sabrizain.org. Throrough, well researched write-up on Enrique of Malacca’s overall story. Suitable for classroom use with layout and images.

Enrique, Magellan’s elusive slave.” by Ambeth R. Ocampo. Philippine Daily Inquirer (Inquirer.net), Nov. 4, 2020. “It must have been a Freudian slip, but I did hear someone once refer to the Magellan expedition as the first “circumcision” of the world. …”

The Slave Who Circumnavigated The World,” by Josh Fruhlinger. The Awl (TheAwl.com), July 30, 2012.

Debate: Enrique of Malacca’s Origin

Enrique has become a legend in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and debate over his origin has been at times lively. Ferdinand Magellan’s will filed in Seville in 1519 stated that Enrique was from Malacca. Antonio Pigafetta, the expedition’s principal chronicler, wrote that Enrique was from Sumatra, the large island across the strait. But some scholars in the Philippines argue that Enrique may have been from the Visayan Islands, since Enrique was able to converse with people there, at Limasawa and Cebu. Whatever the answer, the heat of the debate shows how well embraced Enrique has been by people throughout Island Southeast Asia. Here’s the debate.

Where Was Enrique of Malacca from, Malacca or the Philippines?” by John Sailors. Enrique of Malacca’s Voyage, April 20, 2022.

Who Is Enrique De Malacca In Philippine History?” by Federico V. Magdalena. Filipino Chronicle, April 16, 2023. 

All about Enrique, who was not a Filipino.” by Michael Chua. The Manila Times, March 27, 2021.

Enrique de Malacca/Maluku: Another Chapter in the Indonesia–Malaysia Heritage War?” by Rommel Curaming.Published online by Cambridge University Press, December 16, 2022. “Enrique, accompanied him on his voyages and may have actually been the first to circumnavigate the world. This paper examines the extent to which the still sporadic and small-scale — but sometimes fierce — online disputes between Indonesian and Malaysian netizens over the “ownership” and “national” origin of Enrique might develop further as part of the long-standing “heritage war” between the two countries. It explains the historical roots of the dispute over Enrique, discusses reactions to it in Indonesia and, to an extent, in Malaysia, and analyzes the coverage of and exchanges about Enrique on social media. …”

Enrique de Malacca? The Historical Sins of Carlos Quirino.” Seafarer Times.com, Maritime News for Filipino Seafarers, Sept. 23, 2021.

A Great Filipino: Enrique of Limasawa,” by Compadre Damaso. Journal Online (journal.com.ph), March 27, 2021. Extended write-up that draws out the story of the voyage along the way and as Magellan’s expedition reached the Visayas.

Wikipedia: Enrique of Malacca Talk Page, which shows debate and discussion about Enrique, especially concerning his origin. 

Harun Aminurrashid’s Panglima Awang

In 1958, the Malay author Harun Aminurrashid published Panglima Awang, a novel titled after the name he invented for Enrique of Malacca. The story makes Enrique a young leader who is captured near Malacca while fighting the Portuguese, and then enslaved. Panglima Awang goes on to accompany Ferdinand Magellan on the travels that follow, finally circling the globe. The book popularized the historical character in Southeast Asia, where the name Panglima Awang is often preferred to Enrique (or Henrique),as is a competing name given the character, Henry the Black. 

Panglima Awang was translated into English, though copies of the book can be difficult to find. (Check back for updates.)

The World View of Harun Aminurrashid, Creator of Panglima Awang.” by Ahmad Murad Mohd Noor Merican. Melaka Hari Ini., July 2, 2022. “HARUN Muhammad Amin was of the few influential lecturers at the Sultan Idris Training College (SITC) in Tanjong Malim. Harun was of course Harun Aminurrashid of Panglima Awang fame. Without Harun, we would probably not know of Panglima Awang, at least not in the present national imagination. …”

In the shadow of Magellan,”by Ahmad Murad Mohd Noor Merican. Melaka Hari Ini., Dec. 27, 2020. 

History, Literature and Social Change: Harun Aminurrashid's Independence Novel ‘Panglima Awang’” (JSTOR PDF). Virginia Matheson Hooker.  A look at the Malay novelist Harun Aminurrashid's novel about Enrique of Malacca, Panglima Awang, and Malay nationalism at the time. 

A Voyage to Freedom, Imagining the Portuguese in Harun Aminurrashid's Historical Novel ‘Panglima Awang,” by G. L. Koster. Indonesia and the Malay World, 37:109, 375-396, DOI: 10.1080/13639810903269342

Enrique of Malacca in Postcolonial Literature,” History of Colonization Podcast.

Enrique of Malacca at OwlApps.net. General write-up with a useful list of Enrique of Malacca depicted in film and fiction. Includes a list of sources

Ahmad Fuad Osman’s Enrique of Malacca Exhibition

Enrique de Malacca Memorial Project by Ahmad Fuad Osman, this page at AhmadFuadOsman.com. “I first came across Enrique de Malacca in 1985 in my mother’s small collection of old books. It was a novel titled Panglima Awang and authored by the Malay reformist Harun Aminurrashid. Published in 1958, a year after Malaya’s independence, the book was my first introduction to an alternative history of the Malay world. …”

Google Arts and Culture: Enrique de Malacca Memorial Project, by Ahmad Fuad Osman, 2016.  A memorial featuring a portrait and a statue of an imagined Enrique, together with video documentation, artifacts and copies of documents. 

Ahmad Fuad Osman’s Enrique memorial project is also featured on this Ilham Gallery page.

Everyone’s A Critic - Skola Gambar Enrique de Malacca” (podcast). by Adriana Nordin Manan. BMF The Business Station 89.9, April 25, 2022. 


Enrique of Malacca,” by Junior Kalit, All Music (AllMusic.com). Enrique of Malacca in song, not bad for a teenage kid from Malacca five hundred years ago.

See also Enrique of Malacca on Twitter: @circumnavigating and on Facebook.

Editor's Note: This page will be updated periodically with new links added.

(C) 2023, by John Sailors. All rights reserved.