<<Juan Sebastián Elcano (c.1486–4 August 1526) was a Spanish explorer of Basque origin who completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth. Elcano settled in Seville and became a merchant ship captain. After breaking Spanish laws by surrendering a ship to Genoan bankers in repayment of a debt, he sought a pardon from the Spanish king Charles V, by signing on as a subordinate officer for the Magellan expedition to the East Indies.
They set sail with five ships, Concepción, San Antonio, Santiago, Trinidad and Victoria with 241 men from Spain in 1519. Elcano participated in a fierce mutiny against Magellan before the convoy discovered the passage through South America, the Strait of Magellan. He was spared by Magellan and after five months of hard labour in chains was made captain of the galleon. Santiago was later destroyed in a storm and the crew of San Antonio mutinied and returned to Spain. On 28 November 1520, three ships set sail for the Pacific Ocean and about 19 men died before they reached Guam on 6 March 1521. Conflicts with the nearby island of Rota prevented Magellan and Elcano from resupplying their ships with food and water. They eventually gathered enough supplies and continued their journey to the Philippines and remained there for several weeks. Close relationships developed between the Spaniards and the islanders. They took part in converting the Cebuano tribes to Christianity and became involved in tribal warfare between rival Filipino groups in Mactan Island.
On 27 April 1521, Magellan was killed and the Spaniards defeated by natives in the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines. The surviving members of the expedition could not decide who should succeed Magellan. The men finally voted on a joint command with the leadership divided between Duarte Barbosa and João Serrão. Within four days these two were also dead. They were killed after being betrayed at a feast at the hands of Rajah Humabon. The mission was now teetering on disaster and João Lopes de Carvalho took command of the fleet and led it on a meandering journey through the Philippine archipelago.
During the six-month listless journey after Magellan died, and before reaching the Moluccas, Elcano's stature grew as the men became disillusioned with the weak leadership of Carvalho. The two ships, Victoria and Trinidad finally reached their destination, the Moluccas, on 6 November. They rested and re-supplied in this haven, and filled their holds with the precious cargo of cloves and nutmeg. On 18 December, the ships were ready to leave. Trinidad sprang a leak, and was unable to be repaired. Carvalho stayed with the ship along with 52 others hoping to return later.
Victoria, commanded by Elcano along with 17 other European survivors of the 240 man expedition and 4 (survivors out of 13) Timorese Asians continued its westward voyage to Spain crossing the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. They eventually reached Sanlúcar de Barrameda on 6 September 1522. Elcano was awarded a coat of arms by Charles I of Spain, featuring a globe with the motto: Primus circumdedisti me (in Latin, "You went around me first"), and an annual pension.
Antonio Pigafetta, an Italian scholar, was a crew member of the Magellan and Elcano expedition. He wrote several documents about the events of the expedition.>>