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TIDORE Island: Peak of 5 Centuries 2019 Commemoration of Magellan’s Earth Circumnavigation


Five centuries ago, on 20th September 1519, Ferdinand Magellan, renowned Portuguese explorer, set sail from Portugal in quest of a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands said to be in the Far East.

Today the original Spice Islands are called the Maluku or Moluccas located in the eastern part of the Indonesian Archipelago. The expedition resulted into a historic voyage : being the first ever flotilla to have circum-navigated planet earth, thereby unquestionably proving that the earth is round, and not flat.

Five centuries after this historic event, in 2019, this historic voyage will be commemorated internationally, where ships from a number of countries will retrace the same route of Magellan’s voyage around the world to find this tiny island called Tidore in North Maluku, being the original island where the precious sought after nutmegs grew. For this historic reason, the island of Tidore will also become the final port and pinnacle destination of the Ferdinand Magellan’s Voyage 500 Years Commemoration Sail Expedition.

TIDORE Island: Peak of 5 Centuries 2019 Commemoration of Magellan’s  Earth Circumnavigation
Image via harikase_leonard

At the 6th Global Network Magellan Cities (GNMC) Meeting held in Lisbon, Portugal from 18th to 22nd January 2017, Representatives from Tidore Islands City administration were especially invited to attend. The Meeting was attended by 17 member countries of GNMC, where on this occasion, the City of Tidore represented Indonesia. The 6th GNMC was officially opened by the Mayor of Lisbon, Ferdinand Medina, in the presence of Portugal’s Minister of Internal Affairs.

Among resolutions taken during the meeting that mainly focused on boosting cooperation and development in tourism, culture, science and technology, as well as strengthen relations between GNMC member countries, discussions were also made to prepare the island of Tidore that it will be the pinnacle and last port-of-call in the Ferdinand Magellan’s Voyage 500 Years Commemoration Sail Expedition.

The expedition itself is scheduled to sail off from Lisbon in February 2019.

In his remarks, the mayor of Tidore highlighted the importance of the island in world history. “Tidore, indeed, played a great role in contributing to world civilization. Although it is but a small island, Tidore holds a strong position in history since the zero (central) point that proved that the earth is definitely a globe is found in the Rum area, in the Tidore Island City” explained Tidore’s Mayor. Further adding that Tidore has, therefore, become an important entry point in the development of GNMC, once the city-island became an official part of the Magellan cities.”

Historians present at the meeting acknowledged the significant role played by Tidore in world history. Historian from the Magellan Geology Museum, therefore, stressed that for this reason, Tidore Island should receive special attention from GNMC as to its future developments. The next meeting of GNMC in 2018 will be hosted by Santa Cruz, in Bolivia.

TIDORE Island: Peak of 5 Centuries 2019 Commemoration of Magellan’s  Earth Circumnavigation
Image via fruitindonesia2016


History recorded that in 1519 Magellan led a flotilla of five ships with about 270 men on a voyage in quest of a westward route to the Maluku Islands, which at that time was better known as the “Spice Islands”. The voyage, later renowned as “The Magellan’s Expedition” took place from 1519 to 152, that resulted in the solid prove that the earth is definitely round and a globe and not flat as many scientists used to believe. The expedition changed the way people looked at the world , which led to the revolution of science. The expedition also marked the starting point of colonization of the Far East when European nations fought for these very lucrative Spices, especially pepper and nutmeg.


Today, tourists are able to follow in the footsteps of history and visit the historic Spice islands of Maluku. Tour packages provided by, among others, Incito vacations will take you back in time. The tour offers a vacation at Weda Resort with 3 days tour “Trace the Footprints of the Age of Discovery” , where five centuries ago, Europeans first set foot here to monopolize world's precious spice trade. The tour will take you to the remains of centuries’ old Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch forts that have remained standing to this very day.

Photo source: Putu Ayu