20th September 1519 20th September 1519
i
Illustration by Igor Kubik
Experiences

20th September 1519

Anniversary of the Month
Adam Węgłowski
Reading
time 8 minutes

The greatest excursion in human history – until the first trip to the moon – began inconspicuously: at dawn, with no fanfare. The party left the Spanish port of Sanlúcar, the same one that saw Columbus take off on his third travel to the ‘New World’ (and unlucky at that, as it ended in shackles). Time showed it to be a bad omen. But who could have suspected it back then…

Perhaps there were some sceptics among the crew, though: the Spanish sailors. The expedition was led by a man who failed to inspire trust. His name was Ferdinand Magellan and he was Portuguese, which made him a representative of a rival colonialist empire. Beforehand, Magellan had tried convincing the Portuguese monarch to support his ideas, but he lost his

Information

You’ve reached your free article’s limit this month. You can get unlimited access to all our articles and audio content with our digital subscription. If you have an active subscription, please log in.

Subscribe

Also read:

27th August 1939 27th August 1939
i
Illustration by Igor Kubik
Art, Experiences

27th August 1939

Anniversary of the Month
Adam Węgłowski

“In London, crowds of people are gathering at Downing Street, waiting for the report from the cabinet meeting. In Berlin, gauleiters and ‘parliament’ members are waiting in antechambers, waiting for their ‘leader’ to give a sign so they can applaud his decisions and agree with them in the name of the ‘German nation’. Paris accepts the anti-aircraft defense measures with the usual humour. In Rome, Delphic comments prevail, ‘Duce’ keeps summoning councils with his generals. And in Warsaw? Car after car driving along Łazienkowska Street! An unending wave of people pushing forward… to make it for the Poland–Hungary football game!” wrote Przegląd Sportowy, describing that momentous August Sunday.

An impressive 20,000 supporters sat in the stands of the Polish Army Stadium in Warsaw, despite the international tension, Hitler’s threats and quiet mobilization already happening across the country. Of course, the spectators did not know that the Molotov–Ribbentrop non-aggression pact, signed several days later between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, included a secret protocol discussing the upcoming partition of the Second Polish Republic. Were the Germans to carry out their initial plans, the war would have already been happening by then! Hitler’s general staff expected to attack Poland on 26th August, but the invasion was called off at the last minute due to the signing of an alliance pact between Poland and Britain on the day before.

Continue reading