Juan Sebastian Elcano


Juan Sebastián Elcano was an important navigator and explorer of Basque Spanish origin who is best remembered for leading the second half of the first voyage around the world , after having assumed the death of Fernando de Magallanes . When he returned to Spain, the King gave him a shield which contained a globe with a phrase that said: “You went around me first . 


Personal information

  • When was born:  1476
  • Where he was born:  Guetaria, Spain
  • When he died:  08/04/1526
  • Where he died:  Pacific Ocean

Who was Juan Sebastián Elcano?

He was a Basque sailor who completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth in human history during the Magellan-Elcano expedition . He took command of the expedition after Ferdinand Magellan’s death and led his men ashore.

  • What did
  • Biography of Juan Sebastián Elcano
  • Death
  • Juan Sebastián Elcano expeditions
  • Importance
  • Acknowledgments
  • Juan Sebastián Elcano in popular culture

What did

Juan Sebastián Elcano is considered the first Basque navigator who managed to complete the first circumnavigation of the Earth . In 1519, Cano sailed as captain of the Concepción, one of the five ships in Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet , which had sailed west from Europe with the aim of reaching the Spice Islands in the eastern part. After Magellan’s death in the Philippines in April 1521, a number of men took command of the expedition, but none of them remained in charge for more than a few months.

As one of the few men who had managed to survive, Cano took command of one of the two ships that had survived known as the Victoria . With much security he managed to bring the expedition home to Spain in September 1522, despite diseases such as scurvy, famine and the attack of the Portuguese . Only 18 Europeans survived the trip, which was the first trip around the world .

Biography of Juan Sebastián Elcano

He was born in Guateria in 1476 . As a young man, Juan Sebastián Elcano learned the trades of sailors and participated in various fishing and commercial companies . He fought for Spain in North Africa during the first decade of the 16th century.

In his early years, he was an adventurer fighting with the Spanish army in Algeria and Italy before establishing himself as a captain and owner of a merchant ship. When he was forced to hand over his ship to Italian companies to which he owed money, he discovered that he had violated Spanish law and had to apologize to the king. The young King Charles V agreed, but on the condition that the skilled navigator and sailor serve with an expedition that the king was financing: the search for a new route to the Spice Islands , led by the Portuguese navigator Fernando de Magellan.


In 1525, Juan Sebastián Elcano was chosen to be the main navigator of a new expedition led by the Spanish nobleman García Jofre de Loaísa , who wanted to retrace the Magellan route and establish a permanent colony on the Spice Islands. The expedition was a failure because of seven ships, only one reached the Spice Islands, and most of the leaders, including Elcano , died of malnutrition during the arduous crossing of the Pacific . Elcano, has been forgotten by history , since Magellan is the one who takes all the credit for the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Juan Sebastián Elcano expeditions

The Magellan-Elcano expedition

Juan Sebastián Elcano was awarded the position of ship captain aboard the ship called Concepción , one of the five ships that were part of the fleet. Magallán believed that the globe was smaller than it really is and that there must be a shortcut to reach the Spice Islands and that it was also possible to cross the New World . The fleet set sail in September 1519 and headed for Brazil, avoiding the Portuguese settlements as there were many hostilities between the Spanish and the Portuguese.

Arrival in Spain

After crossing the Indian Ocean and managing to go around Africa , Elcano completed the first circumnavigation of the globe , bringing the expedition to completion and arriving again at the port of departure, Seville , on September 8, 1522 along with 17 other survivors. what was seen as an imposing feat for the time.

Expedition of García Jofre de Loaísa

It was a maritime expedition that was led by García Jofre de Loaísa to colonize the Moluccas Islands , which was disputed by the crowns of Castile and Portugal . Seven ships and 450 men left on July 24, 1525. Among its occupants, Juan Sebastián Elcano, who died on the expedition . Great geographic and maritime discoveries were made , but they suffered many disasters , calamities, and desertions .


Juan Sebastián Elcano is one of the most valued figures of the time when Spain was building its empire , in addition to being considered the best sailor in his time, as he was the first man who managed to go around the world traveling through seas and lands that did not they had still been explored . He was the one who decided to follow the path after the death of Fernando de Magallanes, on a journey that became one of the most important epics in the history of Spain .


Elcano was awarded a coat of arms that was personally delivered by Carlos I of Spain , who had a globe with the motto: Primus circumdedisti me, which in Spanish means ” You surrounded me first ” and an annual pension . At present, several awards that are given related to art bear his name, and at the confluence of Paseo de las Delicias , the monument is located in the Glorieta de los Marineros . The monument was made by Antonio Cano , it has a pond with fountains, a muralin which there is a world map and a statue of the conqueror and navigator.

Juan Sebastián Elcano in popular culture

Some of the books that we can find where his story is told are the following:

  • Juan Sebastián Elcano from Editorial Everest.
  • Juan Sebastián Elcano, ambassador and navigator.
  • Juan Sebastián Elcano, the greatest journey in history.

Movies have also been made where their story is told, for example:

  • The 18 heroes of Magellan and Elcano
  • The deed of Magellan and Elcano
  • Elcano, the first round the world.
  • Elcano.

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