Magellan’s Voyage – 500th anniversary 2019-2022
In 1519 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Seville with a fleet of five naos (carracks or carvel-built wooden sailing ships) to find the Molluca spice islands, in modern-day Indonesia.
Three years later, only one of his naos returned, the Nao Victoria, captained by Juan Sebastian Elcano – Magellan had been killed in a conflict in the Philippines.
This ship and the few remaining crew aboard had circumnavigated the globe for the first time, discovering the passage around the southern tip of South America, which was named after the expedition’s leader: the Magellan Straits. They were also the first to sail across the Pacific Ocean.
For more details about the background to the voyage, see explorer here.
The fifth centenary of this historic venture is being celebrated with events in Seville, throughout Spain and beyond during 2019-2022.
Espacio Primera Vuelta al Mundo 1519-1522 - First Trip around the World Visitor Centre
In Seville, a new visitor centre retraces the Portuguese explorer’s voyage.
The Espacio Primer Vuelta al Mundo (First Trip around the World Centre) is located by the Guadalquivir river, on the Paseo Marques de Contadero. The naos departed from here, Spain’s most important and richest port in the 16th century.
The small visitor centre explains why the voyage took place and what was its aim; the preparations - how the five ships of the Armada de Maluco (the Molluca Fleet) were built; who their crew were; and how they navigated across the oceans. Historic pictures of Seville show how the city and its river looked in the 16th century.
You can see a scale model of the Nao Victoria, as well as original documents such as contracts and crew manifests, listing all nine nationalities of the 245 crew.
A huge map shows their route, from Seville down the river to Sanlucar de Barrameda, westwards across the Atlantic to the Canary Islands, thence to Brazil and around the southern tip of Chile. From here they crossed the Pacific to Australia, the Philippines and Molucca Islands, passing Africa and back to Spain. The remaining ship and 18 crew arrived back in Seville in September 1522.
A full-size replica of the Nao Victoria, which was made for Expo 92 using only traditional materials and methods, has retraced the explorer’s round-the-world journey. This ship will be moored outside the centre from January 2020.
In the visitor centre, you can see photos and videos of this replica wooden nao crossing oceans in full sail, recreating the sensations of riding the swells, with nothing to see except miles of wide open water. You can imagine how the sailors felt, as they set off on a perilous voyage into the unknown.
If you’re interested in marine expeditions and the great explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries, check out the Pabellón de Navegación on the other side of the river, near Torre Sevilla.
To find out about the latest events celebrating the 5th centenary, from regattas to art exhibitions, see http://vcentenario.es/