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Some basques throughout the history

Juan Sebastian Elcano “The first sailor to sail around the world”

Juan Sebastian Elcano (Getaria, Basque Country, 1476 – Pacific Ocean, 4 August 1526), was a Basque sailor who completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth in human history in the Magellan-Elcano expedition. He took command of the expedition after Ferdinand Magellan’s death.

The Magellan and Elcano’s expedition is a maritime expedition which took place in the 16th Century under the command of Ferdinand Magellan and, after his death in the Philippines, of Juan Sebastian Elcano. The expedition, funded by the Spanish Crown, is the first circumnavigation of the Earth in history. It departed from Seville downstream and headed for Sanlucar de Barrameda, the starting point of the circumnavigation. After spending one month and ten days there getting everything ready they finally set sail on 20 September 1519. The expedition returned to the port of Sanlucar on 6 September 1522, with just one ship and 18 survivors.

Juan Sebastian de Elcano’s life, like any other Basque’s, was linked to the sea. This is due to the fact that the Basque Country has turned this natural resource into one of its best industries and, moreover, it has developed an extraordinary sailing tradition and culture which nowadays has a strong presence in many coastal towns.


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