THE FIRST VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
Such were the reports and accusations that the partisans of Juan de Carthagena, Luis de Mendoza, and Gaspar de Quesada had disseminated among the sailors, when on Palm Sunday, the 1st of April, 1520, Magellan summoned the captains, officers, and pilots, to hear mass on board his vessel and to dine with him afterwards. Alvaro de la Mesquita, a cousin of the captain-general, accepted this invitation with Antonio de Coca and his officers, but neither Mendoza nor Quesada, nor Juan de Carthagena, who was Quesada's prisoner, appeared. The next night the malcontents boarded the Sant'-Antonio with thirty of the men of the Concepcion, and desired to have La Mesquita given up to them. The pilot, Juan de Eliorraga, while defending his captain, received four stabs from a poniard in the arm. Quesada cried out at the same time, "You will see that this fool will make our business fail." The three vessels, the Concepcion, Sant'-Antonio, and Santiago, fell without difficulty into the hands of the rebels, who reckoned more than one accomplice among the crews. In spite of this success, the three captains did not dare openly to attack the commander-in-chief, and sent to him some proposals for a reconciliation. Magellan ordered them to come on board the Trinidad to confer with him; but this they stoutly refused to do, whereupon Magellan, having no further need of caution, had the boat seized which had brought him this answer, and choosing six strong and brave men from amongst his crew, he sent them on board the Victoria under the command of the alguazil Espinosa. He carried a letter from Magellan to Mendoza enjoining him to come on board the Trinidad, and when Mendoza smiled in a scornful manner, Espinosa stabbed him in the throat with a poniard, while a sailor struck him on the head with a cutlass. While these events were taking place, another boat, laden with fifteen armed men, came alongside the Victoria, and took possession of her without any resistance from the sailors, surprised by the rapidity of the action. On the next day, the 3rd of April, the two other rebel vessels were taken, not however without bloodshed. Mendoza's body was divided into quarters, while a clerk read in a loud voice the sentence that blasted his memory. Three days afterwards, Quesada was beheaded and cut in pieces by his own servant, who undertook this sad task to save his own life. As to Carthagena, the high rank which the royal edict had conferred upon him in the expedition saved him from death, but with Gomez de la Reina, the chaplain, he was left behind on the shore, where some months afterwards he was found by Estevam Gomez. Forty sailors convicted of rebellion were pardoned because their services were considered indispensable. After this severe lesson Magellan might well hope that the mutinous spirit was really subdued.
When the temperature became milder the anchors were weighed; the squadron put to sea on the 24th of August, following the coast, and carefully exploring all the gulfs to find that strait which had been so persistently sought. At the level of Cape St. Croix, one of the vessels, the Santiago, was lost on the rocks during a violent gale from the east. Happily both the men and merchandise on board were saved, and they succeeded also in taking from the wrecked vessel the rigging and appurtenances of the ship, which they divided among the four remaining vessels.
At last on the 21st of October, according to Pigafetta, the 27th of November according to Maximilian Transylvain, the flotilla penetrated by a narrow entrance into a gulf, at the bottom of which a strait opened, which as they soon saw passed into the sea to the south. First they called this the Strait of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, because this was the day dedicated to them. On each side of the strait rose high land covered with snow, on which they saw numerous fires, especially to the left, but they were unable to obtain any communication with the natives. The details which Pigafetta and Martin Transylvain have given with regard to the topographical and hydrographical dispositions of this strait are rather vague, and as we shall have to mention it again when we speak of De Bougainville's expedition, we shall not dilate upon it now. After sailing for twenty-two days across this succession of narrow inlets and arms of the sea, in some places three miles wide, in some twelve, which extends for a distance of 440 miles and has received the name of Magellan's Strait, the flotilla emerged upon a sea of immense extent and great depth.
The rejoicings were general when at last the sailors found themselves at the long-wished-for end of their efforts. Henceforward the route was open and Magellan's clever conjectures were realized.