The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480 - 1521) is counted amongst the world's most renowned seafarers - he was the first to sail from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific ocean, and he led the first sea voyage intended to go around the world, but he died on the journey.
In this biography, Zweig brings the reader into an era of expeditions and tells the story of one of the boldest attempts to explore the world.
In his own artful manner, he brings us along for an expedition where we explore ourselves in the process.
The long voyage was funded by Charles V and the Dutch tradesman, Christopher de Haro. The purpose of the voyage was neither gold, glory nor God, as is often believed, but food! More specifically: flavours to add to European food. Spices such as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove were difficult to get your hands on in Europe. They were imported by Arabic tradesmen and were incredibly expensive.
Spices were so valuable at the time that even though only one out of five ships returned in 1522, the cargo of spices still yielded great profits for the expedition, which lasted three years during which 237 men lost their lives.