I’ve long been fascinated by the incredible feats of the brave and extremely tough men who set off from Europe and Scandinavia in search of fabled lands. It’s possible that those featured in this article were preceded by unknown explorers but here we mention those whose exploits are confirmed in history.
Ferdinand Magellan (born circa 1480 – died 1521) was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by the Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano after Magellan was killed on the island of Mactan (now part of the Philippines). He was also discoverer of what was named the Strait of Magellan, a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The Strait is the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Above, Democratic Republic of Congo stamp sheet from 2003 also depicting the Magellan spacecraft (also known as the Venus Radar Mapper) which was launched in 1989.
Chile, 1971, issued to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the discovery of the passage later named the Strait of Magellan.
As mentioned above, it was Juan Sebastian Elcano who completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth. He took control of Magellan’s ship Victory after his untimely death.
Spain commemorated Elcano (far right stamp) with the above famous naval commanders set in 1976.
Vasco da Gama was the first European discover a sea route to India. A Portuguese national, da Gama is a leading figure in the history of exploration. Many countries around the world have monuments celebrating his accomplishments and he even has a crater on the Moon named after him.|
And below from Portugal, the first from 1969, and further below a very attractive 12-value minisheet from 1998.