Ferdinand Magellan Questions

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 short unpredicted battle. “only to be killed in a skirmish with natives..”
headwind A wind which blows from the front “two ships suffered a headwind”
aground When referring to a ship, to go aground is to enter shallow water. “they would have to run aground”
discharged To let a substance leave from where it was trapped “They suddenly discharged a number of mortars”
islets A below average sized island “except two desert islets”
balanghai A type of boat which originated in the phillipines “not to leave his balanghai”
illustrious Respected for things which were achieved in the past. “efforts of your most illustrious”


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?
Answer Magellan was exploring the Philippines when he died.
2 What were the sailors eating during their time in the Pacific Ocean?
Answer They were eating sawdust, rats, biscuit powder, and ox hides.
3 Why did nineteen men die during the voyage?
Answer Nineteen of the men died during the voyage because of a sickness where their gums would swell up and they would not be able to eat.
4 Why didn’t the crew die of hunger according to the writer?
Answer The writer believed that god saved (most of) their crew from dying.
5 How many men were on each side of the battle described in the extract?
Answer There were 1500 natives according to the text.
6 What weapons were the sailors using?
Answer The sailors used muskets, crossbows, and cutlass to fight.
7 What weapons were the natives using?
Answer The natives were using bamboo spears, bows and arrows, and hardened stakes as weapons.
8 How exactly was Magellan killed?
Answer He was wounded by a bamboo spear to the face, then was wounded in the leg by a cutlass and then he was mauled to death by natives.
9 What was Magellan checking after he was wounded?
Answer He was drawing his sword, but could only draw it halfway.
10 What were the most important ‘virtues’ that Magellan showed?
Answer According to the text, Magellan was bold, optimistic, enduring and talented.


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 “We sailed about 4,000 leagues during those three months and twenty days through an open stretch in that pacific sea” I think this is an accurate source because I don’t think it is likely that they would bias the distance they went.
Useful information, but of questionable validity “we ate biscuit, which was no longer biscuit, but powder of biscuit swarmed with worms” The information given about the conditions on the ship could be useful and many of the things said may be true, but since the writer may have felt in pain, he may have exaggerated a little bit.
Clearly exaggerated “The natives continued to persue us, picking up the same spear four or six times, hurled it at us again and again” I think this quote shows lots of bias and is very unreliable. It says that they picked up the same spear four or six times, while that is highly unlikely and sounds overly exaggerated and unrealistic. The writer has many personal reasons to put the natives into a bad light, which makes this quote highly biased.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *