Ferdinand Magellan began the world's first attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1519.
After Columbus discovered the New World in 1492, Spain desperately sought a western connection to Asia, especially the Spice Islands. Magellan proposed using the newly discovered Pacific Ocean to find a new route to open trade with Asia. He left Spain with a fleet of five ships. Magellan personally commanded the Trinidad.
His path took him south along the eastern coast of South America. Magellan believed he would find a strait that would grant a shortcut into the Pacific. He found his strait in 1520 on the southern tip of South America in what is now known as the Strait of Magellan.
Magellan sailed northwest, eventually reaching the Philippines. Here he became personally involved in converting natives to Christianity and one of his tribal leader converts convinced Magellan to attack an opposing warlord. At the Battle of Mactan, Magellan was run through with a bamboo spear then killed.
After a series of mishaps, only the Victoria made it back to Spain in 1522.