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Enrique of Malacca: Wikis


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Enrique of Malacca was a native of the Malay Archipelago who became a slave of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the 16th century. Italian historian Antonio Pigafetta, who wrote the most comprehensive account of Magellan's voyage, named him "Henrich" (which was Hispanicized Enrique in official Spanish documents). Pigafetta explicitly states Henrich was a native of Sumatra. His name appears as "Henrique", [1] which is Portuguese, and is what probably was written in his baptismal certificate, as he was baptized a Roman Catholic by his Portuguese captors. His name appears only in Pigafetta's account, in Magellan's Last Will, and in official documents at the Casa de Contratación de las Indias of the Magellan expedition to the Philippines.

Magellan acquired him as a slave, described in Magellan's document "Last Will", at Malacca, most probably at the early stages of the siege by the Portuguese in 1511. His Christian name, Henrique, indicates that his capture was on the feastday of St. Henry on July 13, which was several days from the start of the siege of Malacca by the Portuguese under the leadership of Afonso de Albuquerque.

His baptism is attested to by Magellan himself in his will where he wrote Enrique is a Christian. Magellan also explicitly states Enrique was a native of Malacca. Eyewitness documents of Antonio Pigafetta, Ginés de Mafra, the Genoese Pilot, Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas, Juan Sebastián Elcano, and Bartolomé de las Casas and secondary sources such as João de Barros, Francisco López de Gómara referred to him as a slave.


Magellan expedition

Enrique accompanied Magellan back to Europe, and onwards on Magellan's search for a westward passage to the East Indies. He worked as a slave, and interpreter for the Spaniards. Ginés de Mafra explicitly states in his firsthand account that Enrique was brought along in the expedition primarily because of his ability to speak the Malay language. "He [Magellan]," wrote de Mafra, "told his men that they were now in the land he had desired, and sent a man named Herédia, who was the ship's clerk, ashore with an Indian they had taken, so they said, because he was known to speak Malay, the language spoken in the Malay Archipelago." The island in the Philippines where he spoke and was understood by the natives was Mazaua which Ginés de Mafra locates somewhere in Mindanao.

The Genoese Pilot of the Magellan expedition, states - wrongly - in his eyewitness account that the Spaniards had no interpreter when they arrived back to Cebu because Enrique had died in Mactan island along with Magellan during the Battle of Mactan in 1521. However, Enrique was in fact very much alive on May 1, 1521, and attended a feast given by Rajah Humabon to the Spaniards. Antonio Pigafetta writes that survivor João Serrão, who was pleading the crew to save him from the Cebuano tribes, said all who went to the banquet were poisoned, except Enrique.

Enrique accompanied Magellan on all his voyages, including the voyage that circumnavigated the world in 1519-1521 although of course he himself had not gone around the world. He was left in Cebu on May 1 and there is nothing more said of Enrique in any document, either eyewitness or secondary or whatever. He could have died on that day, or he may have survived. But this has not stopped historians and especially non-historians from speculating or fantasizing he could have hopped on a ship and gone home to either Sumatra or Malaca. Juan Sebastián Elcano, and his 17 companions in the galleon Victoria, the lone ship that returned to Spain on September 6, 1522 are unquestionably the first men to travel around the world whether in a single voyage or multiples.

See also


  • Bergreen, Laurence. 2003. Over The Edge of The World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe. New York.
  • Blair, Emma Helen and Robertson, James Alexander. 1901-1907. The Philippine Islands 1493-1898, 55 vols. Cleveland. Abbreviated BR in citations.
  • De Jesús, Vicente Calibo. 2004. Mazaua, Magellan's Lost Harbor.
  • Fry, Stephen. 2006. "The Book of General Ignorance". London.
  • Genoese Pilot. 1519. Navegaçam e vyagem que fez Fernando de Magalhães de Seuilha pera Maluco no anno de 1519 annos. In: Collecção de noticias para a historia e geografia das nações ultramarinas, que vivem nos dominios Portuguezes, ou lhes sao visinhas. Lisboa 1826. Pp. 151–176.
  • Mafra, Ginés de. 1543. Libro que trata del descubrimiento y principio del Estrecho que se llama de Magallanes. Antonio Blazquez y Delgado Aguilera (eds.) Madrid 1920. Pp. 179–212.
  • Manchester, William. 1993. A World Lit Only By Fire, The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance. Boston.
  • Maximilian Transylvanus. 1523. De Moluccis insulis. In: The First Voyage...Filipiniana Book Guild. Manila 1969: Pp. 103–130.
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot. 1974. The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages 1492-1616. New York.
  • Parr, Charles McKew. 1953. So Noble a Captain: The Life and Times of Ferdinand Magellan. New York.
  • Pigafetta, Antonio. 1524. Various editions and translations:
  • 1524a. Magellan’s Voyage, Vol. II. Facsimile edition of Nancy-Libri-Phillipps-Beinecke-Yale codex. New Haven 1969.
  • 1524b. Primo viaggio intorno al globo terracqueo, ossia ragguaglio della navigazione...fatta dal cavaliere Antonio Pigafetta...ora publicato per la prima volta, tratto da un codice MS. Della biblioteca Ambrosiana di Milano e corredato di note da Carlo Amoretti. Milan 1800.
  • 1524c. Il primo viaggio intorno al globo di Antonio Pigafetta. In: Raccolta di Documenti e Studi Publicati dalla. Commissione Colombiana. Andrea da Mosto (ed. and tr.). Rome 1894.
  • 1524d. Le premier tour du monde de Magellan. Léonce Peillard (ed. and transcription of Ms. fr. 5650). France 1991.
  • 1524e. Magellan’s Voyage, 3 vols. James Alexander Robertson (ed. and tr. of Ambrosian). Cleveland 1906.
  • 1524f. Magellan’s Voyage: A Narrative Account of the First Circumnavigation. R.A. Skelton (ed. and tr. of Yale ms.). New Haven 1969.
  • 1524g. * of Ms. fr. 5650 and Ambrosian ms.). London 1874.
  • 1523h. The Voyage of Magellan: The Journal of Antonio Pigafetta. Paula Spurlin Paige (tr. of Colínes edition). New Jersey 1969.
  • 1524i. Il Primo Viaggio Intorno Al Mondo Con Il Trattato della Sfera. Facsimile edition of Ambrosian ms. Vicenza 1994.
  • 1524j. The First Voyage Around the World (1519-1522). Theodore J. Cachey Jr. (ed. based on Robertson’s tr.) New York 1995.
  • 1524k. Pigafetta: Relation du premier voyage autour du monde...Edition du texte fraçais d’après les manuscripts de Paris et de Cheltenhan. Jean Denucé (text transcribed from Ms. 5650, collating Mss. Ambrosiana, Nancy-Yale and 24224 in notes.) Anvers 1923.
  • Quiriño, Carlos. 1980-1995. "The First Man Around the World Was a Filipino." In: Philippines Free Press, December 28, 1991. --"Pigafetta: The First Italian in the Philippines." In: Italians in the Philippines, Manila: 1980. -- "Enrique." In: Who's Who in the Philippines. Manila: Pp. 80–81.
  • Ramusio, Gian Battista. 1550. La Detta navigatione per messer Antonio Pigafetta Vicentino. In: Delle navigationi e viaggi…Venice: Pp. 380–98.
  • Torodash, Martín. 1971. “Magellan Historiography.” In: Hispanic American Historical Review, LI, Pp. 313–335.
  • Zweig, Stefan. 1938. Conqueror of the Seas: The Story of Magellan. New York.


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