Horatio Clare

Another fallen idol: the myth of Ferdinand Magellan debunked

Far from being a noble adventurer, he was a cruel, reckless traitor who never circumnavigated the world, says Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Coloured engraving c. 1585 of Magellan navigating the straits. [Bridgeman Images]

Who would you choose to judge you long after your death? How about a professional historian? How about Felipe Fernández-Armesto? Much lauded and read, this professor of history at Notre Dame, Indiana is the author of many books including short histories of humankind and the world and longer ones of exploration, Hispanic America and the year 1492.

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