500 anniversary of the first voyage around the world

The first circumnavigation of Earth was the Magellan–Elcano expedition, which sailed from Seville, Spain, in 1519 and returned in 1522, after crossing the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans.

The first voyage around the world was that of the ship Victoria, between 1519 and 1522, known as the Magellan–Elcano expedition. It was a Castilian (Spanish) voyage of discovery, led initially by the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan between 1519 and 1521, and then by the spanish Juan Sebastián Elcano from 1521 to 1522. The voyage started in Seville, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and after several stopovers rounded the southern tip of South America where the expedition discovered the Strait of Magellan, named after the fleet’s captain. It then continued across the Pacific discovering a number of islands on its way, including Guam before arriving in the Philippines. After Magellan’s death in the Philippines in 1521, Elcano took command of the expedition and continued the journey across the Indian Ocean, round the Cape of Good Hope, north along the Atlantic Ocean, and back to Spain in 1522. Elcano and a small group of 18 men were actually the only members of the expedition to make the full circumnavigation.

In 1577, Elizabeth I sent Francis Drake to start an expedition against the Spanish along the Pacific coast of the Americas. Drake set out from Plymouth, England in November 1577, aboard Pelican, which Drake renamed Golden Hind mid-voyage. In September 1578, he passed through the southern tip of South America, named Drake Passage, which connects the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean with the southeastern part of the Pacific Ocean. In June 1579, Drake landed somewhere north of Spain’s northern-most claim in Alta California, which is known as Drakes Bay, California. Drake completed the second circumnavigation of the world in September 1580, becoming the first commander to lead an entire circumnavigation.

Magellan’s Cross (Spanish: Cruz de Magallanes) is a Christian cross planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers upon arriving in Cebu in the Philippines in 1521:

Version in English of Magellan’s voyage around the world by Antonio Pigafetta, Italian explorer from the Republic of Venice, whose surviving journal is the source for much of what is known about Magellan and Elcano’s voyage:

In 2016, the Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico, published a webpage and an illustrated book titled Cuaderno de Paseo por la Sevilla de Magallanes with a very complete narrative about the first circumnavigation of Earth (in Spanish):

Tres años de viaje y una travesía que se ha cifrado entre unos 72.000 y 78.000 kilómetros, tal es la impresionante magnitud de la expedición iniciada por las cinco naves de Magallanes y concluida por la única nao superviviente capitaneada por Juan Sebastián Elcano.

El lunes 10 de agosto de 1519, por la mañana… salimos de Sevilla… el 20 de setiembre zarpamos de Sanlúcar de Barrameda con rumbo al Sudoeste, y el 26 llegamos a una de las islas Canarias…”, relata Antonio Pigafetta en su apasionante crónica de la expedición.

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