> History    >> World History
AGE: All Time: Approx. 52 min. Ea. DVDs: 4
DVD: $195.00 Ea.      DVD Series: $780.00         
Play Video  Add Title(s) to Cart

 View Preview

 Save Favorites

 Share Forward


This series, in the form of a four-part "docu-epic", draws on the explanations of historians, philosophers, and great sailors, a collection of period archives, charts, and texts signed by Magellan and his contemporaries, but also spectacular aerial images filmed in the different locations that Magellan and his crew travelled through on their long voyage. Historical sequences punctuate the narrative and are recreated using modern and realistic drawings inspired by Portuguese azulejo.

In 1519, Fernando Magellan organized an ill-advised expedition that was supposed to take 237 men to the Moluccas, via the western route. In doing so, Magellan wished to bring to life Christopher Columbus’ dreams. He thus threw himself headlong into this project concerning a land of which the exact dimensions were unknown, with the wind as his sole driving power, along dangerous coastlines. He was accompanied by a wary Spanish crew, in latitudes where no boat had ever sailed before.

Under his command, 5 ships set sail from Seville on September 20th, 1519. After three years of adventures that would be worthy of the most beautiful adventure books, only 18 sick and exhausted sailors made it back up the Guadalquivir River to Seville in the only ship still afloat, “Vitória”. Even so, they had just achieved the first-ever round-the-world journey. Miraculously, the onboard chronicler was among those 18 survivors.

Antonio Pigafetta, an Italian, brought back with him a handwritten book in which he had recorded every day of this fabulous odyssey. Other letters and eyewitness accounts, and maps from the period allow us to look back at this true story that permanently changed the way we look at the world. The fifth centenary of the voyage was commemorated between 2019 and 2022, the perfect time to bring one of the most extraordinary maritime adventures of all time back to life.

Episode 1: Dividing The World
The story of this spectacular odyssey opens with the European ambition to broaden people’s knowledge of the world, to reach and conquer the unexplored lands that lay beyond the ocean. At the time of the Great Discoveries of the 15th century, Spain and Portugal, keen to extend their influence, launched some of the greatest expeditions to America and the Indies. Their drive for hegemony was translated by dividing the world between their kingdoms along an imaginary line that was traced down the Atlantic Ocean: Portugal would have the East, and Spain would have the West. This first chapter tells the story of the remarkable challenge Magellan set himself, along with his determination to see it come to fruition. It explores a unique context in which the hunger for exploration endlessly pushed back the limits of the world, against a backdrop of geopolitical rivalry. Turning his back on his native country, Magellan offered his grand project to Spain: a passage to America by way of Indian treasures in order to access and control the Maluku Archipelago in Indonesia, the land of precious spices, whose value exceeded that of gold. Captain of a crew of 237 men and a fleet of five ships, Magellan launched into the Atlantic on September 20, 1519, heading for the uncharted side of the world, the starting point for a thrilling epic over which he had no control. 
Episode 2: Journey To The Edge Of The World
Following a three-month voyage, Magellan reached Brazil and began his exploration of its coastline to the south. A new world offered itself to the eyes of his 237 men as they made their way across landscapes and met indigenous peoples from unexplored regions. With the focus of an idée fixe turned obsessive, Magellan kept his mind set on his goal: to find a passageway through the continent and sail to the other side of America across the unknown ocean. To succeed where Christopher Columbus had given up. But the next part of his adventure was no small feat. This second chapter takes us to the heart of an unprecedented epic, a journey studded with terrible hardships and maritime challenges that succeeded each other at a frenetic pace. Spurred on by exemplary courage, Magellan faced violent storms and headwinds that slowed down his ships, before totally immobilizing them for the six-month course of the austral winter. He then had to regain control of his fleet following a rebellion organized by his Spanish captains, and sentence and execute the leaders... decisions which would have heavy consequences. Neither the sailing conditions, nor the latent hostility of his officers, nor even the death of several sailors and the loss of a ship got the better of the unshakable faith that led him to the strait he had long dreamt of.
Episode 3: Magellan's Kingdom
Having discovered the strait that would open the way to the American continent, Magellan was nearing his goal. He had overcome the first hurdle, but the path to reaching his final goal, the Indonesian archipelago of the Malukus and famous Spice Islands, was to prove long and perilous. This third chapter describes the formidable hardships that awaited Magellan just as he was about to accomplish an extraordinary feat. It was already sheer madness to be sailing through the strait with sailboats, without mentioning the San Antonio’s desertion, the fleet’s largest ship, which also carried most of the expedition’s food. The joy they had felt seeing the vast uncharted stretch of water was to be short-lived. An endless crossing of over three months began, without ever encountering an island, land for berthing, and carrying famished, scurvy-ravaged men. Slowly, death wove its way into their ranks, decimating the crew as Magellan, torn by doubt and powerless, inevitably approached the imaginary line making the Malukus a Portuguese territory. Had his promise to the King of Spain been made in vain? 
Episode 4: First Circumnavigation Of The World
Upon arriving in the Philippines, everything becomes clear, Magellan was mistaken, the spice islands have always been located in the part of the world held by Portugal. What follows is a series of decisions that will only lead him to the dead end of a voyage from which he will not return. Without their captain Magellan and their best officers, who had been killed in a trap set by a Filipino lord, the crew was now reduced to 113 men who still had to keep sailing. They would only reach the Indonesian Maluku Islands and load their holds with the coveted spices after a long period of wandering. On each of the remaining ships, a captain was named, along with a special return itinerary to Seville. The Basque Juan Sebastián Elcano, at the helm of the Victoria, wanted to try his luck at heading west through Portuguese waters, while the opposite route was considered on the Trinidad. Caught in terrible storms during their Pacific crossing, the Trinidad suffered considerable losses before turning back towards the Malukus and being imprisoned by the Portuguese. Meanwhile, Captain Elcano armed himself with courage and despite deplorable sailing conditions, achieved the unimaginable feat of leading the Victoria through the Indian Ocean and along the African coast, despite those waters being off-limits to Spanish ships. Following a five- month race against the elements, the 18 survivors of the last ship finally set foot in Seville on September 8, 1522. In the manner of an epilogue, this fourth chapter closes the tale of Magellan’s absolute quest, crowned three years later by an accomplishment that would be remembered in the annals, the first complete world circumnavigation, and a feat that was to remain unequaled for years. 
Copyright 2024
Duplication, Digital and HD ITV rights available