Special Issue: US News & World Report Devoted to the History of Exploration

Roundup: Talking About History

Samantha Levine, in a Special Issue of US News devoted to the history of exploration (Feb. 23, 2004):

There's the Magellan spacecraft, the first to thoroughly map Venus. There's a Magellan mutual fund, a Magellan healthcare insurance company, and dozens of other businesses and products all named in honor of the Portuguese explorer known as the first man to circumnavigate the globe. But that admiration may be misdirected. It seems that Ferdinand Magellan's slave, Enrique, was actually the first man to complete the circuit.

Enrique did not make the journey by choice, of course. Most likely born on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, Enrique was sold to Magellan in nearby Malacca in 1512, during one of the navigator's earlier voyages. When Magellan set off on his quest to find a passage through the Americas to the East Indies, Enrique was part of the crew, ending up back in Malacca nearly 10 years later. Having started far to the east, he thus completed his circumnavigation before anyone else aboard--let alone Magellan, who was killed in the Philippines and never made it home.

Worldview. Still, Magellan's tenacity--even fanaticism--vastly enlarged the world that Europeans knew. Laurence Bergreen, author of a new book about Magellan, Over the Edge of the World, says the difference between Christopher Columbus's jaunts across the Atlantic and Magellan's trip across the vast breadth of the Pacific was like the "difference between going to the moon and going to Mars." Along the way, Magellan discovered and somehow navigated the 330-mile labyrinth of fjords and bays we now call the Strait of Magellan and was the first to note the Pacific's critical trade winds. "This was the first modern voyage that gave us our sense of what the world was actually like," says Bergreen.

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Vicente Calibo de Jesus - 3/23/2009

The idea that Enrique, Magellan's slave, was the first to circumnavigate even today is still popular. It's time we deal with this issue in a rigorous manner and debunk the notion totally.

There are two tracks to the Enrique the circumnavigator hypothesis. One hypothesis is he was Cebuano so when the fleet reached Cebu he ahead of anyone on earth became the first man to circumnavigate. The other hypothesis is he was Malay, either from Malacca or Sumatra or even the Moluccas, and after May 1, 1521 he somehow was able to hop unto a sailing ship—an event not recorded quite imaginable--and reached his hometown at a date unspecified by even the most inventive mind ahead of Victoria, the nao of Magellan’s Armada that made it to Seville on Sept. 6, 1522.

The slave’s name is "Henrich" in Antonio Pigafetta's account (Page 89, R.A. Skelton English edition of the French Nancy-Libri-Phillipps-Beinecke-Yale codex, click http://books.google.com/books?id=RB4usvtAZrEC&;pg=RA1-PT1&dq=Magellan%27s+Voyage+by+R.A.+Skelton&ei=V-utSa7-IZeOkAStnO2XBQ#PPA89,M1). It's "Henrich" as well in the extant Italian manuscript, called Ambrosiana, and found in the English translation of James Alexander Robertson, Page 183, click http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=philamer;cc=philamer;q1=Henrich;rgn=full%20text;idno=afk2830.0001.033;didno=AFK2830.0001.033;view=image;seq=189;page=root;size=s;frm=frameset.

He is "Henry" in the English translation by Lord Stanley of Alderley of the French extant MS 5650, click http://dlxs.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=sea&;cc=sea&idno=sea061&q1=Duarte+Barbosa&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=189.

He is "Henrique" on Page 66 of Martin Fernandez de Navarette's Colección de los viages y descubrimientos que hicieron por mar los españoles desde, fines del siglo XV, con varios documentos inéditos concernientes á la historia de la marina castellana y de los establecimientos españoles en Indias, Tomo IV, click http://www.archive.org/details/coleccibonviages04navarich.

"Henrique" is most likely his baptismal name; it's how the Portuguese spells it. He was baptized when his master, Fernao de Magalhaes, was still a Portuguese subject and thus would have followed Portuguese ways.

Malaccan? Sumatran? Moluccan? What was his language?
Pigafetta states explicitly Henrich was Sumatran. The episode where Henrich was identified to be from Sumatra, that he spoke his native tongue, Malay, and was understood was at Mazaua, see Ambrosiana codex, edition of Theodore J. Cachey, Page 34, http://books.google.com/books?id=Mcgy9Xn2KkEC&;pg=PA129&dq=Magellan+by+F.H.H.+Guillemard&lr=&ei=Fx2qSd6OEYGElQT_pOmUBA#PPA34,M1. This is on Page 113 of Blair & Robertson, Vol. 33, at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=philamer&;cc=philamer&idno=afk2830.0001.033&q1=Mazaua&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=119. This is corroborated in Stanley’s English translation of the extant French MS 5650 at http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=sea&;cc=sea&idno=sea061&q1=Taprobana&node=sea061%3A5&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=162.
Magellan, in his Last Will and Testament signed on August 24, 1519 at Seville, states Enrique was a native of Malacca. The Will's English translation by F.H.H. Guillemard is in the book, The Life of Ferdinand Magellan and the First Circumnavigation of the Globe 1480-1521. London: 1890, Pages 317-326. Reference to Enrique is at the 4th paragraph on Page 321: “And by this my present will and testament, I declare and ordain as free and quit of every obligation of captivity, subjection, and slavery, my captured slave Enrique, mulatto, native of the city of Malacca, of the age of twenty-six years more or less, that from the day of my death thenceforward ....” Guillemard’s text was reprinted in Tim Joyner’s Magellan, International Marine: 1992, Pages 299-302.

Captured or bought?
The idea he was bought comes from Maximilianus Transylvanus’ 2ndhand account of the voyage. It's in Stanley's, Page 200. The English translation was done by Mr. James Baynes of the Printed Book Department of the British Museum, click http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=sea&;cc=sea&idno=sea061&q1=Lord+Stanley+of+Alderley&node=sea061%3A1.3&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=288

Most accounts by historians several centuries removed from the event talk of Enrique having been bought. It's easy enough to resolve whether Magellan was wrong and Maximilianus was right. Magellan knew Enrique first hand, was with him from 1511 until April 27, 1521. Maximilianus neither met nor knew the slave, personally. He only heard of him from stories of the survivors of the voyage.

Was Henrich Cebuano?
Carlos Quirino in a speech at the University of the Philippines on July 16, 1980 (see attached Jpeg image) claimed Enrique could not have been understood if he spoke Malay at Mazaua. In fact Quirino fails to mention Mazaua, to avoid having to explain how he came to the notion Cebuano was spoken at this isle. This is because Malay, Quirino argues, is not understood in the Philippines today. Thus, he must have spoken Cebuano. Therefore he was born at Cebu: Therefore, when he reached Cebu, he had circumnavigated the globe.

There are several flaws here. Malay was spoken widely in Southeast Asia. In Language and Language-in-education Planning in the Pacific Basin by Robert B. Kaplan, Richard B. Baldauf, Ricard B. Baldauf Jr., the authors who are linguistics experts—Quirino has no credential in the field—state “Malay was lingua franca of the region for perhaps a thousand years…”, click http://books.google.com/books?id=FgCa3Rt19MQC&;pg=PA83&dq=Malay+as+SEA+lingua+franca&ei=VGGnSbSuHZnClATrmrmPBA.

Carlo Amoretti, discoverer of the first true Italian Pigafetta account, states in a footnote on the Mazaua incident, “From the Philippines to Malacca the Malay tongue is universally spoken. It is therefore by no means astonishing an inhabitant of Sumatra should be understood in the Philippine Islands.” See John Pinkerton’s English tr., Page 328, http://books.google.com/books?id=KVG-d40WYesC&;pg=PA288&dq=John+Pinkerton+on+Pigafetta%27s+Voyage+Round+the+World&ei=-mWnScHqNJLOlQTUkKSnBA#PPA328,M1

Gines de Mafra was explicit in saying the slave-interpreter (he doesn’t give a name) was pressed into service "because he was known to speak Malay, the language common to those parts." For both Spanish text and English translation of de Mafra, click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Gin%C3%A9s_de_Mafra#Chapter_XI.2C_which_deals_with_what_transpired_after_Magellan.27s_departure_from_the_Ladrones_islands.

Quirino assumes the language used in Mazaua is Cebuano. This is wrong. The language of Mazaua is most likely Butuanon. The proof of this is it is among over a dozen languages and dialects within the band of latitudes from 12 deg. North down to 8 deg. North that has the word "masawa" from which the isle got its name. :"Masawa" means brilliant light; the word’s significance may be seen in the context of Pigafetta's words, "On Thursday morning, March 28, as we had seen a fire on an island the night before, we anchored near it." Click http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=philamer&;cc=philamer&idno=afk2830.0001.033&q1=Ceilon&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=119.

Thus, going by the logic of Quirino, since Enrique spoke the language of Mazaua, Butuanon, he had rounded the world on reaching the isle. Not one of those who took up the cause of Quirino ever detected this flaw in his logic. But those closest to Henrich are explicit, he was a Malay either from Sumatra or Malacca. We can dismiss Maximilianus’ claim as hearsay.

The fallacy of the hypostatized proof
It's almost unthinkable that a historian whose knowledge of the past is derived from accounts of an event by eyewitnesses and secondhand sources can find contrary evidence from outside the body of established primary and secondary sources. It's not just unthinkable, but impossible.

Quirino was editor of a 1968 edition of the Pigafetta English of Robertson and the Stevens' Maximilianus. He knew the Last Will and Testament of Magellan. He had not read Gines de Mafra. How did he surmount the direct evidence coming from Magellan, Pigafetta, and Maximilianus?

Those who have espoused the "Enrique de Cebu" notion have not read Quirino's article in Philippines Free Press of Dec. 29, 1991 (see attached Jpeg image). It’s here that one sees the logic behind Quirino's improbable enterprise of negating his primary sources. Here Quirino recounts an incident at a Malacca slave market where Magellan and Enrique converse. This event is not found anywhere outside of Quirino’s own imagination. Advocates of the "Enrique de Cebu" notion--many of whom have not read Quirino, do not cite him, do not even know him--are completely ignorant of this incident which is the basis for Quirino's being able to dismiss all known sources.

Quirino describes the phantom event: "After his return to Malacca [from Sabah], he [Magellan] learned that there was a teen-age male to be bought at the slave market; one who, after he had conversations with him, said that he had come from an island farther east than Sabah on the same longitude as the Moluccas, but considerably north of it. The young slave, subsequently baptized with the name Enrique, must have told Magellan how he had been captured by Muslim pirates and that Europeans were unknown in his area of the Pacific Ocean. He must have come from one of the islands then known as the Luzones, about 12 days by sail northeast of Borneo. The idea of claiming that region, composed of a group of islands, must have entered the mind of Magellan. So he returned to Portugal in 1512, taking with him Enrique to propose to his master, King Emanuel of Portugal, that he be allowed to lead a seafaring expedition to those islands and claim them as part of the Portuguese empire."

This paragraph contains many falsehoods. One, longitude was not determined correctly until late in the 18th century with John Harrison's invention of a reliable chronometer around 1740. Ascribing an uncanny ability to know longitudes to this lowly slave is a case of projecting what we know today to someone over 400 years removed from us. The Pacific Ocean wasn't named so not until Magellan's voyage in 1519. In any case, this incident is belied by the fact Enrique wasn't bought in a slave market.

But Quirino reified--made real in his own mind--his own invented event which allowed him to dismiss Magellan's Last Will as the product of a liar, Pigafetta's account, Maximilianus assertion it was not Enrique who did the interpreting at Cebu but a native, and whatever contrary testimony one can present. Here is what Quirino said of Magellan's testimony Enrique was from Malacca: "Magellan obviously wanted to keep secret the real birthplace of Enrique as east of Borneo." Quirino had sense enough not to say outright “Enrique came from Cebu."

In this Free Press article Quirino's inventive mind allowed him to write pure fiction. "Enrique immediately recognized his father, one of the dons around the rajah [Humabon]. He held his hands together to his forehead, the customary salutation of a Malay to his elder; the father smiled as he recognized his son whom he had given up for dead. His mother was one of the attendants of the Ranee, and beside her was a young and pretty maiden whom he realized was once his teenage sweetheart."

Quirino's reification of his "Enrique de Cebu" tale ends, in the Free Press article, with a quotation of a passage in the biographical-psychological study on Magellan by the famous popular Austrian biographer, Stefan Zweig, that you can read at http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=tLoWg9mMh04C&;pg=PA302&lpg=PA302&dq=Ferdinand+Magellan%27s+Last+Will+and+Testament&source=bl&ots=Ydlxdv0s6v&sig=GVYQJGnHmNOjXl56ebuVFyNXe1Q&hl=en&ei=7SqqSZ-9NJWukAXhu7jkDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=8&ct=result#PPA234,M1

But Quirino deliberately removed this portion, "the Malay slave was dumbfounded, for he understood much of what they were saying…he was torn from his home upon the island of Sumatra, was bought by Magellan in Malacca…”

What happened to Enrique after Cebu massacre?
Quirino's last stab at his Enrique brainstorm was a short piece in his book Who's Who in Philippine History. See cover, http://books.google.com/books?id=ZvO5AAAAIAAJ&;q=Carlos+Quirino&dq=Carlos+Quirino&ei=iE6fSaTgEZ-OkASU-9WNAg&pgis=1; attached is the Jpeg image of the article.

Here Quirino completes the fairy tale, gives a date of Enrique's demise, what happened to him on May 1. 1521 after the massacre at Cebu took place and the remnant of the fleet left. Enrique's year of death Quirino tells us was 1563; he was from an specific place in Cebu, Carcar; he was caught by pirates while fishing off the coast of Cebu [Quirino could not make up his mind what time of day, and if it was sunny and if he had company]. After May 1, 1521 Henrich served at the court of Humabon as Spanish and Portuguese interpreter. Enrique got married [name of wife hadn’t occurred to Quirino’s mind] and raised a family [number of children unspecified]. Enrique died in his seventies—why not 80s? Or 90s? Or better still 150?--just before Legazpi arrived in Cebu. If he had lived long enough, Quirino would probably have him meet McArthur at the beaches of Leyte, why not?
What does the record say?
Here are what contemporary accounts say what happened to Henrique:
1. In the extant French manuscript called Nancy-Libri-Beinecke-Yale codex, Antonio Pigafetta writes that massacre survivor João Serrão, who was pleading with his comrades to save him from the Cebuanos, said all who went to the banquet were massacred except Henrique. Click http://books.google.com/books?id=RB4usvtAZrEC&;printsec=frontcover&dq=Magellan%27s+Voyage&ei=B_GpSYmGC5-OkAT-q9ThBA#PPA90,M1.
This is also found in the Ambrosiana MS in the edition of Theodore J. Cachey Jr., click http://books.google.com/books?id=Mcgy9Xn2KkEC&;pg=PA129&dq=Magellan+by+F.H.H.+Guillemard&lr=&ei=Fx2qSd6OEYGElQT_pOmUBA#PPA60,M1.
2. Accdg. to the Genoese Pilot, Henrique “had been killed with Fernan de Magalhaes.” Click http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=sea&;cc=sea&idno=sea061&q1=Junk+of+Ciama&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=98. This is obviously wrong. He survived the April 27 battle of Mactan.
3. Martin Fernandez de Navarette, from official records of the Casa de Contratación de Las Indias, lists “Henrique, de Malaca” as one of 27 men killed in the May 1 massacre. Go to Page 66 of http://www.archive.org/details/coleccibonviages04navarich
4. Sebastian de Puerta, survivor of Loaisa expedition (1523-1535), narrated February 1528 to men of the Saavedra expedition (1527-1529) that “eight of Magellan’s men survived the massacre and had been sold as slaves to Chinese merchants in exchange for a fixed quantity of iron or copper.” See http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=philamer;cc=philamer;q1=Sebastian%20de%20Puerta;rgn=full%20text;idno=adn6882.0001.001;didno=adn6882.0001.001;view=image;seq=207;page=root;size=s;frm=frameset Noone’s source was Martin Fernandez de Navarette, Colección de los viages y descubrimientos que hicieron por mar los españoles desde fines del siglo XV, con varios documentos inéditos concernientes á la historia de la marina castellana y de los establecimientos españoles en Indias, Tomo V, Page 115, click http://www.archive.org/details/coleccibonviages05navarich.
The historical record isn't clear. So it's all well to imagine along with Quirino. In fact I suspect Enrique was among those who received Legazpi with courtesy, elegance, and urbanity. Fairy tales are so much nicer.

Wikipedia tackles Enrique
At Wikipedia, editors have yet to resolve if Enrique is indeed from Cebu. Some editors assert he wrote together with Pigafetta the Cebuano vocabulary (they forget it was started in Mazaua and contains Butuanon words), that he had inserted Cebuano words in the Malay vocabulary Pigafetta wrote. Where and how they got this notion is no different from Quirino’s conjuring anything his imagination could contrive.

The editors are aware of the primary and secondary accounts that puts the lie to the “Enrique de Cebu” tale but are hoping evidence will surface in some happy future that will affirm Quirino's "Cebu de Carcar." This is what is called in logic the fallacy of the possible proof. If they hold on to this frame of mind, there will be no resolution. Because the fallacy allows eternity as the deadline for these proofs to come in.
Can fairy tales ever end?
At Wikipedia, there’s one sucker born every day who defends Quirino’s tall tale. A number of sensible minds have been seduced by this enthralling tale—Laurence Bergreen, William Manchester, John Keay, Chitang Nakpil, Alejandro Roces, Perry Diaz, and countless other lesser lights. It’s time we end this fairy tale before it claims any more victims.
To the credit of the linguistics world, no expert has even bothered to comment on Quirino’s basic assertion. It’s on its face a fatuous inanity.


sebastian antonio - 10/8/2008

If Vicente de Jesus says,commenting on Bergreen's Enrique de Malaca, that the Malay language was so widely spread as the trade language of Southeat Asia at that time, why was Enrique not understood in the islands of Guam, Suluan and Homonhon? Only in the island of Masawa , where Cebuano is spoken to this day, was he understood.
And Enrique was a slave of Magellan? The records in Sevilla Archivo General indicate he was a "lengua" (interpreter) and earned a high salary for that position. Now why would Magellan want an interpreter for?

John De La Mijares Martinez - 2/9/2006

<marquee> test sorry for testing</marquee> <blink>blink</blink>

John De La Mijares Martinez - 2/9/2006

Pigafatte compiled an Italian-Malay dictionary or rather an Italian -Cebuano dictionary with the help of Enrique. The 'Malay' words are unmistakeably ancient Cebuano.

This is proof that Enrique is Cebuano.


Vicente Calibo de Jesus - 8/4/2004

The notion Fernao de Magalhaen’s slave, Henrich (Enrique in Magellan’s Last Will and Testament and in official records of the Casa de Contratacion), was first to round the word was first asserted by Dr. Martin Torodash (“Magellan Historiography” in Hispanic American Review, LI, May, 1971, p. 322). Torodash declares, “…Henrique de Malaca…certainly was the first man to take a 356 degree trip.” He offers no explanation or argument.

In 1980, Philippine historian Carlos Quirino read a paper before the Philippine-Italian Association in Manila where he declared Enrique was a Cebuano. When Magellan’s fleet entered the port of Cebu on Sunday, April 7, 1521 Enrique therefore had returned to his home and, unwittingly, had circumnavigated the globe. Quirino cited two authorities, Antonio Pigafetta and Maximilianus Transylvanus, as source of his knowledge of the Magellan voyage. How did he come to the conclusion that Enrique was from Cebu? He cites the incident in Mazaua, anchorage of the fleet from March 28-April 4, 1521 where, “The slave Enrique spoke to them [the Mazauans] and according to Pigafetta, ‘they immediately understood him’.” Quirino then asks a rhetorical question, “How could Enrique have known the Sugbuanon language? The tongue spoken in Malacca is very different from that of any Philippine language. The only explanation is that Enrique originally came from Cebu.”

Quirino commits two errors here: (1) he misreads Pigafetta, and (2) he, a non-linguist, states a fallacy that the Malay language was not spoken in the Philippines; in fact it was the trade lingua franca in southeast Asia during the 16th century. Philippine ethnographer-historian William Henry Scott sums up what linguists have long established: “Malay was the trade language of Southeast Asia at the time [Spanish entrada], and took its name from the Sumatran port of Melayu (now Djambi), once the seat of expansive political power. Speakers of this language could be found in all the trading ports in the Philippines from Sarangani to Manila, either professional interpreters or members of the ruling families.” (Barangay, p. 9)

This is corroborated in Pigafetta: “…the slave [Henrich, as spelled by Pigafetta] spoke to the king [raia Siaiu of the isle of Mazaua], who understood him well. For, in that country, the kings know more languages than the common people do.” (English tr. of Pigafetta’s Nancy-Yale codex by R.A. Skelton, p. 67)

Quirino—whose reputation as a writer of “historical literature” was formidable and whose written word beguiled ignorant minds—was so taken by his own brainstorm he spun a whole biography around Enrique based on pure, solid imagination unpolluted by fact: Enrique was born ca. 1493; he was fishing “off the coast of Cebu when…captured by pirates and brought to the slave trade” in Sulu and from thence to Malacca; Magellan bought him “because he came from an unheard-of place”; he stayed behind in Cebu and “proved useful to Humabon for his knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese”; he became a family man, and passed away in his seventies ca. 1563, just before the conquistador Legazpi arrived in Cebu. (Who’s Who in Philippine History, pp. 80-81)
Four direct testimonial evidence attest to Henrich’s Sumatran roots: Pigafetta’s account, Magellan’s Last Will and Testament, Gines de Mafra’s relation, and Bartolome de las Casas’ Historia de las Indias, lib. Iii, chap. ci, pp. 145-146 in the 1927 edition. In his Will Magellan refers to Enrique as “my captured slave Enrique, mulatto, native of the city of Malacca.” (F.H.H. Guillemard, The Life of Ferdinand Magellan…London: 1890, p. 321). Pigafetta wrote, “…a slave of his [Magellan], who was of Zamatra, formerly called Traprobana…” (Skelton edition, p. 67). Gines de Mafra, the only member of the crew to return to Mazaua 23 years later with the Villalobos expedition, wrote: “…an Indian [Henrich]…known to speak Malay, the language common to those parts.” (Tr. by Raymond John Howgego, author of Encyclopedia of Exploration). De la Casas tells of Magellan’s audience with Charles V at Valladolid where he brought Enrique and another Sumatran slave, a “pretty girl.” (Cited by S.E. Morison, The European Discovery of America, The Southern Voyages, p. 336).

Quirino, when he first wrote his Enrique de Malacca brainstorm, had either not known of the above eyewitness testimonies or chose to ignore them. (He was ignorant of Mafra’s account which was not widely known in the Philippines until this author popularized it in the Discovery Web elist forum and brought it up in a paper read before the Society for the History of Discoveries at the U.S. Library of Congress on Oct. 13, 2000.) He cited as sole authority Stefan Zweig who states explicitly that Enrique is Sumatran. When apprised of these Quirino, posthumously through a scion who claims to have been told by the father, argued that Magellan hid from the world the real identity of Enrique so that he alone can claim to be first circumnavigator. By implication, Pigafetta, Mafra and de las Casas were in on the grand conspiracy to lie to the rest of us.

One wonders how Magellan could have known he’d ever reach Cebu when he wrote his Will. In the case of de las Casas, who met Magellan only once, how could he have read the mind of Magellan, known the prospective anchorage at Cebu, and agreed through mental telepathy to be in on the hoax.

In any case, Laurence Bergreen was so spellbound by Quirino’s beguiling tale he made it a centerpiece of his Over the Edge of the World. The name Carlos Quirino, author of the Enrique de Cebu brainstorm, is nowhere to be found in the book.