Ferdinand Magellan set out from Spain in 1519 with hopes of claiming the wealth of the Spice Islands, or Moluccas, for the Spanish. Two years later the explorer claimed the first European contact with a Pacific island culture when he landed on Guam – 1,500 miles north of the Spice Islands.
Was he the worst explorer ever? No, says North Carolina State University archaeologist Dr. Scott Fitzpatrick. Magellan’s historic circumnavigation of the globe was beset by unusual weather conditions, like El Niño, which eased his passage across the Pacific Ocean but sent him over a thousand miles off course.
Yes, El Niño, bane or boon to global warming debaters, depending on which side you are on. Screwing us all up then too.