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Friday, September 20, 2013

Around the World in 1082 Days

In the early 16th century, Spain was desperate to find a way to reach India without using the trade routes dominated by the Portuguese. To the rescue came Ferdinand Magellan, who was determined to expand on the work of Christopher Columbus and find a western route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Magellan set sail on September 20, 1519, and almost succeeded, dying in battle in the Philippines just a few thousand miles from his goal.

Ferdinand Magellan by Antonio Menendez

No doubt Magellan and his crew must have encountered many incredible peoples during his voyages, but none were so celebrated as the mysterious giant of Patagonia discovered while exploring what would become known as the Strait of Magellan. Magellan's chronicler described the giant as a tall, well-formed man with a broad face whose "eyes were surrounded with yellow." Who could possibly fit that description?

Could it be possible that a race of unusually large and strong men still lurk on the southern tip of South America? Or could it be that the reported giant wasn't a native, but a tourist from the future named Booster Gold? It isn't every day that someone circumnavigates the world for the first time, you know.

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