Antonio Pigafetta

Antonio Pigafetta

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Antonio Pigafetta

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Antonio Pigafetta (c. 1491 - c. 1534) was an Italian scholar and traveller from the Republic of Venice. He travelled with the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew on their voyage to the Indies. During the expedition, he became a strict assistant of Magellan and kept an accurate journal which later assisted him in translating one of the Philippine languages, Cebuano. It is the first recorded document concerning this language.

Out of approximately 240 men who set out with Magellan in 1519, Pigafetta was one of only 18 who returned to Spain in 1522, having completed the first circumnavigation of the World, under the captainship of Juan Sebastián Elcano after Magellan's death. His journal is the source for much of what we know about Magellan and Elcano's voyage.

At least one warship of the Italian Navy, a destroyer of the Navigatori class, was named after him in 1931.


Pigafetta belonged to a rich family of Vicenza. In his youth he studied astronomy, geography and cartography. He served on board the ships of the Knights of Rhodes at the beginning of the 16th century. Until 1519, he accompanied the papal nuncio, Monsignor Chieregati, to Spain.


In Seville, Antonio Pigafetta heard of Magellan's planned expedition and elected to embark, accepting the title of sobrasaliente (supernumerary) and a modest salary of 1,000 maravedís. During the trip, Pigafetta collected extensive data concerning the geography, climate, flora, fauna and the inhabitants of...
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