Return to Enrique de Malacca (person)

[Enrique de Malacca], also known as Enrique [Negro], Black Henry, or [Panglima Awang], was possibly the first person to [circumnavigate] the earth.

When he was a 13 year old boy, in [Malacca] on the [Malaysia]n [peninsula], he was captured and enslaved by [Ferdinand Magellan], at some point around the year [1500]. Enrique travelled with Magellan for years as his close personal servant.

In [1519] Magellan's [expedition] set out to discover a route sailing west from [Spain] to the [Moluccas], or [Spice Islands].

When the expedition reached the [Visayan] islands of the [Philippines], Enrique was able to communicate with the islanders. Magellan was killed on the island of [Mactan], betrayed by the [Spanish] officers in his service. Enrique then betrayed the officers to [Humabon], Rajah of the neighboring island of [Cebu], and jumped ship.

The question is, did Enrique know the language of the islanders, or did they know [Malay], a popular [trade language]? The impression from Pigafetta's journal is that Enrique was communicating fluently with the islanders of [Cebu].

Several explanations have been put forth that Enrique had been born in the [Philippines], or in [Sumatra], but had been sold into slavery, ending up in [Malacca]. There were [Filipino] immigrants living in Malacca at the time, too. If this is true, it's possible that he, not [Juan Sebastian Del Cano], [Antonio Pigafetta], and the other 16 survivors of the expedition, was the first to go all the way [around the world]. But it's only a theory. Personally I think it's more likely that the Filipinos were speaking Malay.