At the same time as Magellan, the licentiate Rey Faleiro left Lisbon with his brother Francisco and a merchant named Christovam de Haro; the former was a man deeply versed in cosmographical knowledge, and had equally with Magellan fallen under Emmanuel's displeasure. Faleiro had entered into a treaty of partnership with Magellan to reach the Moluccas by a new way, but one which was not otherwise specified, and which remained Magellan's secret. As soon as they arrived in Spain, (1517), the two partners submitted their project to Charles V., who accepted it in principle; but there remained the always delicate question touching the means for putting it into execution. Happily, Magellan found in Juan de Aranda, the factor of the Chamber of Commerce, an enthusiastic partisan of his theories, and one who promised to exert all his influence to make the enterprise a success. He had an interview accordingly with the high Chancellor, the Cardinal and Bishop of Burgos, Fonseca. He set forth with such skill the great advantage that Spain would derive from the discovery of a route leading to the very centre of the spice production, and the great prejudice which it would cause to the trade of Portugal, that an agreement was signed on the 22nd of March, 1518. The Emperor undertook to pay all the expenses of the expedition on condition that the greater part of the profits should belong to him.

But Magellan had still many obstacles to surmount before taking to the sea. In the first place there were the remonstrances of the Portuguese ambassador, Alvaro de Costa, who, seeing that his endeavours were in vain, even tried to compass the assassination of Magellan, so says Faria y Sousa. Then he encountered the ill-will of the employés of the Casa de contratacion at Seville, who were jealous of a stranger being entrusted with the command of such an important expedition, and envious of the least token of favour which had been accorded to Magellan and Rey Faleiro, who had been named commanders of the order of St. James. But Charles V. had given his consent by a public act, which seemed to be irrevocable. They tried, however, to make the Emperor alter his decision by organizing, on the 22nd of October, 1518, a disturbance paid for with Portuguese gold. It broke out on the pretext that Magellan, who had just had one of his ships drawn on shore for repairs and painting, had decorated it with the Portuguese arms. This last attempt failed miserably, and three statutes of the 30th of March, and 6th and 30th of April, fixed the composition of the crews and named the staff; while a final official document dated from Barcelona the 26th of July, 1519, confided the sole command of the expedition to Magellan.

What had meanwhile been happening to Rey Faleiro? We cannot exactly say. But this man, who had up to this time been treated on the same footing as Magellan, and who had perhaps first conceived the project, now found himself quite excluded from the command of the expedition, after some dissensions of which the cause is unknown. His health, already shaken, received a last shock from this affront, and poor Rey Faleiro, who had become almost childish, having returned to Portugal to see his family, was arrested there, and only released upon the intercession of Charles V. At last, after having sworn fidelity and homage to the crown of Castille, Magellan received in his turn the oath of his officers and sailors, and left the port of San Lucar de Barrameda on the morning of the 10th of August, 1519.

But before entering on the narrative of this memorable campaign, we must give a few particulars of the man who has left us the most complete account of it, Francesco Antonio Pigafetta or Jerome Pigaphète as he is often called in France. Born at Venice about 1491, of a noble family, Pigafetta formed part of the suite of the Ambassador Francesco Chiericalco, sent by Leo X. to Charles V., who was then at Barcelona. His attention was no doubt aroused by the noise which the preparations for the expedition made at that time in Spain, and he obtained permission to take part in the voyage. This volunteer proved an excellent recruit, for he showed himself in every respect as faithful and intelligent an observer as he was a brave and courageous companion. He was wounded at the battle of Zebu, fighting beside Magellan, which prevented him from being present at the banquet during which so many of his companions were destined to lose their lives. As to his narrative, with the exception of some exaggerations of detail according to the taste of that time, it is exact, and the greater part of the descriptions which we owe to him have been verified by modern travellers and learned men, especially by M. Alcide d'Orbigny.