04.08.

1526: Death of Juan Sebastián Elcano – Leader of the First Expedition to Sail Around the World

1526: Death of Juan Sebastián Elcano – Leader of the First Expedition to Sail Around the World
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/The Magellan-Elcano expedition

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 4 August 1526
  • After successful completion of the circumnavigation, Elcano was awarded a coat of arms by the Spanish king with the motto "Primus circumdedisti me” (You went around me first).

On this day in 1526, Juan Sebastián Elcano, the leader of the first expedition to sail around the world in human history, died.

Namely, the famous expedition, which was initially led by Magellan, came under the command of Juan Sebastián Elcano after Magellan died in the Philippines in 1521.

Juan Sebastián Elcano was born in the Spanish part of the Basque country and was born a Basque.

At one time, he came into conflict with the law as a commander of a merchant ship, so he signed up to participate in Magellan’s expedition in order to receive pardon.

It is interesting that Magellan was not actually planning to sail around the world on the above mentioned expedition, but to reach the Moluccas (“Spice Islands”) which could bring great profits in trade.

After Magellan was killed in the Philippines, it was precisely Elcano who apparently decided for the expedition to circumnavigate the globe.

Specifically, it was decided that the ships would not take the same route back across South America, but would continue their journey from the Philippines westward.

After successful completion of the circumnavigation, Elcano was awarded a coat of arms by the Spanish king with the motto “Primus circumdedisti me” (You went around me first). Elcano’s descendants were later awarded the title Marques de Buglas.

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