Juan Sebastián Elcano

Juan Sebastián Elcano

j.s. elcanoJuan Sebastián Elcano was born in Guipúzcoa, Spain in 1476. He was a Spanish sailor and participated in the first trip around the world, taking over the expedition after the death of Fernando de Magallanes.

The voyage started in Seville, on 10th August 1519 with five ships captained by Fernando de Magallanes. They set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz) on 20th September, with the intention to find a maritime route to India and the Spice Islands, which had also been Christopher Columbus’ Route to the West.

After the death of Magallanes in the Philippines in 1521, Elcano took charge. He had the responsibility to return to Spain which seemed impossible but yet he still managed to end the expedition. His ship Victoria arrived in Sanlúcar de Barrameda on 6th September 1522 with 17 survivors. That became the first voyage around the world.


King Carlos I of Spain awarded him a coat o arms bearing the motto in Latin: Primus circumdedisti me (“You went around me first”).

Elcano died on 4th August 1526 on board Victoria while he was participating in García Jofre de Loaisa’s expedition to the Spice Islands. In his honour, the training ship of Royal Spanish Navy bears Elcano’s name.

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