This book tells the story of a nobody who persuaded the ultimate somebody – Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor – to give him an armada with which to claim half the globe for Spain. Some at court held that sailing west to reach the East was an impossible dream but Ferdinand Magellan had charts and references to support his case. In making it, however, he did not disclose the extent to which his New Navigation was intended to further his own ambitions rather than those of the Emperor. In the end he was killed while in pursuit of personal territorial interests. His fame rests on something he did not achieve or even intend, the first circumnavigation of the globe. That has obscured his most significant navigational achievement, which was to demonstrate that the world ocean is one, with no continental seacoast that cannot be reached by a ship starting from anywhere.