Magellan (properly Magelhaens), Fernando de, Portuguese voyager, born about the year 1470, entered the service of Spain, and undertook to discover a new route by the westward to the Moluccas. In October. 1520, in this endeavour, be traversed the strait which now bears his name. In the following month he discovered the Pacific, and on March 6th, 1521, sighted the Mariannes. In an unprovoked action with the natives of Matan Magellan was killed in 1521. The expedition, or so much as remained of it, returned under Sebastian del Cano.