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Latin America Team Dispatch

Sawdust and Sails: Odysseys of Other Times

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Magellan led the first circumnavigation of the world by boat, at least until he was killed in the Philippines
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Some of you have written to us and asked us why are we doing this??? When things get tough, we sometimes ask ourselves the same thing! We quickly remind ourselves that YOU are traveling with us and we are all learning so much about the world! Even though this kind of travel can be very hard, we know it's worth it, and hope you will travel the world someday yourselves. Would you like that?

Well, until you can do this yourselves, let us tell you the stories of a few other explorers who have traveled the world.


Ferdinand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan, 1480-1521
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Ferdinand Magellan is famous because he led a group of sailors all the way around the world. They were the first ones to do this in a boat. Magellan himself didn't have such good luck, though. First, the sailors didn't all like him and they kept trying to take over the boat from him!

Then, after they went around the tip of South America (where part of it is now named after him - the Straits of Magellan), they completely guessed wrong about how big the Pacific Ocean is. They thought they could cross it in a few days. This is because they thought the earth was much smaller than it really is. Do you think you could cross the whole ocean in a few days?

Well, it took them 4 months! They ran out of food and had to eat sawdust and rats and leather strips from the sails!

When they got to the Philippines, Magellan got involved in a local war and was murdered! Only enough of his men escaped to leave with two boats, and only one of these actually made it back to where it started in Europe. 270 men and 5 boats had left on the trip. Three years later only one boat and 17 men returned!


Marco Polo

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Marco Polo was the first European to cross the entire continent of Asia and leave a record of what he saw and heard
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Marco Polo was also a great explorer. A 5th grade student named Amy wrote this about him:

Marco Polo was the first European to cross the entire continent of Asia and leave a record of what he saw and heard
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When Marco was a teenager, he, his father, and his father's friend left on a long trip. On their trip they visited many places. On this trip, Marco Polo discovered eye glasses, ice-cream, spaghetti, and the riches of Asia! When he returned, no one believed his stories of the riches he found in Asia. Marco Polo showed them some of the riches he had brought home. That made Marco Polo famous. When Marco was near death, a priest came in his room to ask him if he'd like to admit that his stories were false. Instead, Marco said, "I did not tell half of what I saw." Those were his last words.


Ibn Battuta

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Ibn Battuta covered more htan 25,000 miles in his lifetime!
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Now, some say that a famous Arab traveler from six hundred years ago makes Marco Polo's travels look like a stroll around the block. The name of that traveler was Ibn Battuta, and he left his home in northern Africa when he was 21. He wanted to visit a very famous religious place for Muslims called Mecca. He traveled 75,000 miles on a trip that lasted 25 years. He wanted to see all the lands controlled by Muslims, and he never wanted to see the same place twice!

Picture of Ibn Battuta. Click for more info.
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While he was traveling, he gained great fortunes, and he also lost them. At one time, all he had left were his clothes and prayer rug. When he returned home, no one believed him. Luckily, we know about him because the local king ordered his secretary to record Battuta's adventures.


Us! The Odyssey!

As for the World Trek Team, we haven't yet eaten sawdust and leather strips; we're not traveling the world with our dads; and we have yet to gain great fortunes... BUT we still have two years left. Just wait and see!

The Team


PS: If you want to read more stories from Amy's classmates about other famous people, visit their Images of Greatness website!

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