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Magellan Crossing

Magellan Crossing


Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano set sail to gain control of the global spice trade, but end up becoming the first expedition to circumnavigate the earth. The yearslong voyage—along with the suffering, the violence and the loss of life and property—were all in pursuit of a shorter route to the so-called Spice Islands (now the Maluku Islands) and their much-coveted aromatics.
The film puts in perspective the 16th century—the Age of Exploration, the Age of Discovery and the Age, problematically, of Colonialism. It also was an age of heroes. As the documentary insists, the journeys undertaken by the men whose names we learned in grade school and whose exploits straddled the 1400s and 1500s—including Ponce de Leon, Vasco da Gama, Lope de Aguirre and even Columbus—were about money, sometimes trade, sometimes plunder. But just as advances in medicine have often been propelled by war, knowledge about the world has been a byproduct of profit-seeking. Likewise, heroism.