History Repeats Itself
In the lobby of the headquarters of the U.S. Naval Institute is an odd-looking apparatus that resembles the control wheel of an airplane. A trained eye might be able to identify it, but it is unlikely that anyone would guess that this object has historic ties going back to the 16th century.
Most school children know that Ferdinand Magellan commanded the first voyage to circumnavigate the earth. Setting out in September 1519 with 5 ships and 270 men under his command, this Portuguese mariner made his way across the Atlantic and then around South America through the straits that today bear his name. Once in the Pacific he believed the lucrative Spice islands were only a few days' sail away. He soon learned what every mariner knows who has crossed the Pacific—it is one big ocean! Four months later, suffering from starvation, thirst, and disease, the explorers reached the Philippines. Magellan's voyage ended there when he was killed by the natives in the midst of a tribal war, but Sebastian del Cano took command of what was left of the expedition, and eventually made it back to Europe with one ship and 18 crew members.