The fleet of the first round the world arrived today in Patagonia 500 years ago, where there was a riot against the captain general, Fernando Magallanes, who sentenced 44 of his participants to death, including Elcano, although he finally “only” killed and he cut two and left two others, including a priest.

The five ships in the fleet anchored five months in the port of San Julián, a Patagonian town where there is a replica of the Victoria ship, the first ship to complete the round the world trip, and the decision to stay in the area was met with strong opposition much of the controls and part of the crew.

When they anchor to winter in San Julián, which is barely 290 kilometers from the famous strait that connects the Atlantic and the Pacific, then still unpublished, Magallanes “finally tells the other captains of his plan to reach the Specerie on the world side unknown “, explains the specialist in the first round the world Tomás Mazón.

The arrival at the port of San Julián comes seven months after the expedition left Seville with five ships and 267 men, a figure that dances depending on the historical sources used.

The decision to spend the winter there is the last straw for several of the captains, who mutiny against Magellan, who managed to take command and dominate the situation, after which he sentenced 44 of them to death, although Forty forgive because they need to govern the ships, according to the most widespread version of what happened.

However, Ginés de Mafra, the pilot of one of the ships, the Trinidad, affirms that the execution of all the mutineers is not consummated, including Juan Sebastián Elcano, which culminates in 1522 the first round the world trip, because that “cruelty the other people in the army did not consent. “

As a consequence of the riot, its leader, the captain of the ship San Antonio and general inspector of the fleet, Juan de Cartagena, was abandoned along with the clergyman Pedro Sánchez de la Reina on an island in the area.

Magellan “did not dare to take the life” of Cartagena “because he had been named captain by the emperor himself,” says the chronicler on board, Antonio Pigafetta, who recalls that in that area they raised a cross on a nearby mountain that they called Monte of Christ “and we take possession of this land in the name of the King of Spain”.

The captain of the Victory, Luis Mendoza, already a corpse after being stabbed in the riot, was dismembered, the same as Magallanes ordered with the captain of the Concepción, Gaspar de Quesada, and with the expedition’s counter, Antonio de Coca, according to explains the captain of the ship and historian José María Blanco Núñez in his book on the first round the world.

After those executions, there were no more riots in the Specteria army, historians recall.

At the anchor port, the army had contact with the inhabitants of the area, who are “giants”, according to Pigafetta, who defines them as “very gluttonous; the two we caught each ate a basket of sponge cake per day, and they drank half a bucket of water in one gulp, devoured the raw rats, without skinning them. Our captain called these Patagonian peoples, “explains the chronicler.

Once the navigation resumed after spending the winter in Patagonia and the wreck of one of the ships that recognized the area, the Santiago, which was left without victims, the other four ships almost wrecked before reaching the Strait of Magellan.

There, the San Antonio boat, the one with the largest food storage capacity, deserted and returned to Spain, “which will constitute a severe blow to those who continued circumnavigating,” says Blanco Núñez.


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