Magallen Questions and Answers

Ferdinand magellan – discovering the pacific ocean

Worksheet on extracts from “first voyage around the world”

Section one: language development:  while reading, record any words you don’t already know.  When you have finished reading, choose seven of those words, define them, and record the sentence from which they came.

Word Definition Sentence from the text
Skirmish A little battle. “…only to be killed in a skirmish…”
Hither “here” in old english “ …drift hither and thither…”
Thither “there” in old english “… drift hither and thither…”
Hauled Lift, pull and drag with difficulty “ like desperate men they hauled into it…”
Debouched Exit or leave. “we debouched from that strait…”
Putrid Dirty or rotten water. “…that had been putrid for many days.”
Anchorage A port or harbor, a place to stop when sailing. “we found no anchorage…”


Section two: comprehension check:  complete the following questions – you do not have to use complete sentences.  You may complete this in bullet format.



1 Why and where was magellan exploring?
  • Trying to prove the earth is round
  • Went through pacific ocean
  • Through asia
  • Through indian ocean
  • Past south of africa
  • Through atlantic
  • Back at portugal
2 What were the sailors eating during their time in the pacific ocean?
  • Broken biscuits half-eaten by worms
  • Rats
  • Dirty water
  • Ox hides
  • Saw dust
3 Why did nineteen men die during the voyage?
  • Their gums were swollen
  • The could not eat
  • Death due to starvation
4 Why didn’t the crew die of hunger according to the writer?
  • Gums swelled
  • Swelling lead to not eating food
  • Died because of starving
  • Swelling of gums caused death or crew
5 How many men were on each side of the battle described in the extract?
  • 49 from crew
  • Around 1500 native warriors
6 What weapons were the sailors using?
  • Muskets
  • Crossbows
  • Swords
  • Mortars
7 What weapons were the natives using?
  • Bamboo spears
  • Bamboo spears tipped with iron
  • Scimitars
  • Shields
8 How exactly was magellan killed?
  • Poisoned by arrow
  • Cut with scimitar on leg
  • Speared in arm
  • Fell down
  • Charged by natives
  • Injured at different places from spears and swords
9 What was magellan checking after he was wounded?
  • If his crew made it back to safety


10 What were the most important ‘virtues’ that magellan showed?
  • Caring
  • Concern
  • Constant in great adversities
  • Endurance for hunger
  • Natural talent
  • Boldness
  • Accurate understanding of sea charts and navigation.


Section three:  source analysis: critical thinking exercises:  from this source, we can learn many things about the voyage of magellan; however, we must read the source ‘critically’.  In other words, do not just believe everything that you are reading, but think about it and decide how reliable the information is, and what exactly we can learn from the source.

Fill in the following table by putting an x in the most relevant box related to the source. 

Topic The reason for and purpose of voyage The conditions in which the sailors lived and worked The attitude of the explorers toward the natives The attitude of the natives toward the explorers The character of magellan
There is plenty of information about this in the source
There is some information about this, but we must be careful



This is no really mentioned in the source, but we can make some inferences from the information provided




We can’t learn anything about this from the source.


Section four: extension work: clearly, this source is a biased account of magellan’s adventures; written by the navigator of the ship (nobody makes themselves sound bad, right?).  Select one quote from the text that you think is a) definitely valid, b) useful information but questionable, and c) clearly exaggerated.  Give a brief explanation so to why you chose each quotation.




Definitely a valid as a source for history “like desperate men, they hauled into it, and thus they discovered the strait by chance” It is now known that the strait exists at the south of south america, so this can be used as a valid source of history.
Useful information, but of questionable validity “an indian hurled a bomboo spear into the captain’s face, but the latter immediately killed him with his lance, which he left in the indian’s body.” It is useful information that the natives of the land had a battle with them, but one cannot be sure if they were actually indians or native americans.
Clearly exaggerated “we drank yellow water that had been putrid for many days” In my opinion, it is clearly exaggerated because, even though sailors should never drink seawater, it is to the health of the sailors to drink seawater rather than putrid or rotten water as this could make them sick.