Readings in Philippine History Activity 3 | 3rd Semester AY 19-20 The First Voyage around the World by Antonio Pigaffeta Biography
Antonio Pigaffeta (c. 1491 – c. 1531) He is an Italian scholar and explorer fromthe Republic of Venice. He traveled with thePortuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and hiscrew by order of the King Charles I of Spain ontheir voyage to the Indies. During the expedition,he served as Magellan’s assistant and kept anaccurate journal and manuscript titled “The FirstVoyage around the World.” Youth Pigafetta belonged to a rich family of Vicenza.In his youth he studied astronomy, geography andcartography. He served on board the ships of theKnights of Rhodes at the beginning of the 16thcentury. Until 1519, he accompanied the papal nuncio,Monsignor Chieregati, to Spain. Voyage In Seville, Antonio Pigafetta heard of Magellan’s planned expedition and elected to embark,accepting the title of sobrasaliente(supernumerary) and a modest salary of 1,000 maravedís.During the expedition, he served as Magellan’s assistant and kept an accurate journal which laterassisted him in translating one of the Philippine languages, Cebuano. It is the first recordeddocument concerning this language. Pigafetta was one of the 18 men who returned to Spain in1522, out of the approximately 240 who set out three years earlier. The voyage completed the firstcircumnavigation of the world; Juan Sebastián Elcano served as captain after Magellan’s death. While on the trip, Pigafetta collected extensive data concerning the geography, climate, flora,fauna and the inhabitants of the places that the expedition visited. His meticulous notes wereinvaluable to future explorers and cartographers, mainly due to his inclusion of nautical andlinguistic data, and to latter-day historians because of its vivid, detailed style. The only other sailorto maintain a journal during the voyage was Francisco Albo, last Victoria’s pilot, who kept a formallogbook. Return Pigafetta was wounded on Mactan in the Philippines, where Magellan was killed. Nevertheless,he recovered and was among the 18 who accompanied Juan Sebastián Elcano on board theVictoria, on the return voyage to Spain. Pigafetta’s journal is the source for much of what we knowabout Magellan and Elcano’s voyage. At least one warship of the Italian Navy, a destroyer of theNavigatoriclass, was named after him in 1931. Upon reaching port in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Province of Cadiz) in September 1522, threeyears after his departure, Pigafetta returned to the Republic of Venice. He related his experiences inRelazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo(Report on the First Voyage Around the World), whichwas composed in Italian. Although parts were published in Paris in 1525, the manuscript was notpublished in its entirety until the late eighteenth century. The original document was not preserved.