Explorer Ferdinand Magellan named the Pacific Ocean in the 16th century.
Containing more than half of Earth’s free water, the Pacific Ocean is by far the largest of the world’s ocean basins.
In 1519, the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, in the service of Spain, began a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to search for a western route to the Spice Islands through South America, writes National Ocean Service.
After braving dangerous seas and sailing through what is now known as the Strait of Magellan, his small fleet entered an unknown ocean in November 1520.
He named this body of water pacific, because of the calmness of the water at that time (“pacific” means peaceful).
All the continents of the world could fit in the Pacific basin
When Magellan and his crew entered the Pacific Ocean after their long voyage, they thought the Spice Islands were near. Little did they know that their destination remained thousands of kilometers away. Explorers had ventured into the largest ocean on Earth.
The Pacific is by far the largest of the world’s ocean basins. All the continents of the world could fit in the Pacific basin!
Ferdinand Magellan (born 1480, Sabrosa, or Porto and died April 27, 1521, Mactan, Phil.), was a Portuguese navigator and explorer, writes Britannica.
How did Magellan end up in the Pacific Ocean?
Magellan was born into the nobility. From 1505 he participated in expeditions to the East Indies and Africa. After twice asking King Manuel I for a higher salary and being refused, he went to Spain in 1517 and offered his services to King Charles I (later Emperor Charles V), offering to sail westward to the Moluccas (Spice Islands) to prove that they were in Spanish and not Portuguese territory.
In 1519 he left Seville with five ships and about 270 men. He sailed around South America, putting down a rebellion along the way and discovering the Strait of Magellan.
With three ships remaining, Magellan crossed the “South Sea”, later called the Pacific Ocean due to their calm passage.
He was killed by the inhabitants of Mactan Island in the Philippines, but two of his ships reached the Moluccas, and one of them, the Victoria, commanded by Juan Sebastián del Cano (1476?-1526), continued west to Spain.