People rarely stop and think about how vast the globe is. Earth has a radius of nearly 4,000 miles and a circumference of close to 25,000 miles. The surface area of Earth’s land is almost 200 million square miles, while the water’s surface area is nearly 140 million square miles. That really puts into perspective the journey the earliest explorers had to take when they first circled the globe.
The term that refers to the complete circling of a continent, island, or astronomical body is circumnavigation. The first circumnavigation of Earth was completed by Ferdinand Magellan and his crew beginning in 1519 and ending in 1522. A lot of trials and tribulations happened during that voyage, but the expedition was a success. To learn more about circumnavigation and the very first trip around the world, keep reading!
The first trip around the world took three years and involved the crossing of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans. This voyage was made by ship, which was the primary mode of travel for centuries. Many have attempted to circumnavigate the globe, but few had succeeded until the 20th century.
The rise of commercial aviation led to the process of circumnavigating the globe becoming easier. Now that we use planes, it takes just a few days to travel around the world instead of years. The challenges posed today for circumnavigation have shifted more towards speed, human endurance, and less conventional methods like cars or motorcycles.