Today in Philippine History, April 26, 1521, Datu Zula sent to Magellan one of his sons with two goats as present; The Battle of Mactan

Friday February 22, 2013 ()

The death of Magellan   
An artist illustration of the death of Magellan (Photo credit: The story of Magellan and the discovery of the Philippines, Hezekiah Butterworth, New York, 1899).   
On April 26, 1521, Datu Zula, Chief of Mactan, sent to Magellan one of his sons with two goats as present. Zula who had promised his service to the King of Spain was opposed by another Chief, Lapu-lapu. Datu Lapu-lapu declared that Mactan would never submit to the Spanish King.

Zula sent a message to Magellan that "I can overthrow Lapu-lapu if you send me a boatload of men". Magellan having received the message in a friendly feeling, resolved to follow Zula's lead.

Magellan set out from Cebu to Mactan at midnight with around 60 men in corselets and helmets along with some native allies. Magellan had become a happy man, he could not doubt that he was on his way to vcitory. The expedition arrived at Mactan just before dawn. At the red dawn in the morning Admiral Magellan gave the order to disembark, and 45 men leaped into the water.

Today in Philippine History, April 26, 1521, Datu Zula sent to Magellan one of his sons with two goats as present; The Battle of Mactan

They faced a fierce army of some 1500 in number.

Magellan divided his followers into two bands. The musketeers and cross bowmen began the attack. But the firing was not effective. The native army moved down upon them like a cloud, throwing javelins and spears. Some of them singled out Magellan. They threw at him lances pointed with iron. Magellan, seeing that the odds were against him in such a contest, sought to break their lines by firing their houses.

Some thirty houses burst into flame. The sight of the fire maddened the natives and rendered them furious.

They discovered that the legs of the invaders were exposed, and that they could be wounded there with poisoned arrows. A poisoned arrow was aimed at Magellan. It pierced him in the leg. He felt the wound, and knew its import. He gave orders to retreat. A panic ensued, and his men took to flight. The air was filled with arrows, spears, stones, and mud. The Spaniards tried to escape to the boat. The islanders followed them and directed their fury to Magellan.

They struck him twice on his helmet.

Magellan's thought now was not for himself, but for the safety of his men. He stood at his own post fighting that they might make safe their retreat. He thus broke the assault for nearly an hour, until he was almost left alone.

A native suddenly rushed down toward him having a cane lance. He thrust this into his face. Magellan wounded the native, and attempted to draw his sword. But he had received a javelin wound in his arm, and his strength failed. Seeing him falter, the native rushed upon him and brought him down to the earth with a rude sword.

The natives now fell upon him and ran him through with lances. He tried to rise up, to see if his men were safe. He did not call for assistance, but to the last sought to secure the safety of his men. In fact, he never seemed to so much as think of himself in the whole contest. It was thus that his life went out, and his heart ceased to beat.

Magellan was left dead on the sand, on April 27, 1521.

The natives refused to surrender his body. Eight of his own men and four native allies, who had become Christians, perished with him. There was one man who was true to the Admiral to the end. He was wounded with him, but survived. It was he that saw that the Admiral had forgotten himself at the hour of the final conflict.

References:
From the narrative of Antonio Pigafetta, via The story of Magellan and the discovery of the Philippines, Hezekiah Butterworth, New York, 1899.


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