Birthday: November 30, 1476
Died At Age: 49
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Born Country: Spain
Born in: Getaria, Spain
Famous as: Explorer
father: Domingo Sebastián Elcano I
mother: Catalina del Puerto
siblings: Antón Martín Elcano, Domingo Elcano, Martín Pérez Elcano
children: Domingo Elcano III
Partner: Maria de Vida Urreta, María Hernández Dernialde
Died on: August 4, 1526
Cause of Death: Malnutrition
Who was Juan Sebastián Elcano?
Juan Sebastián Elcano was a Spanish sailor, explorer and navigator of Basque origin. He led the second half of the Earth’s first circumnavigation, after he took over the expedition, following Ferdinand Magellan’s death. Elcano was born in the 15th century, in Castile, a medieval polity located in Southwest Europe. Before becoming a sailor, he was in the military, and he also fought in the Italian wars. Later, he got settled and became a merchant ship captain. When Magellan began his voyage, Elcano was the ship’s master on board the ‘Concepcion’, which was one of the five ships of the fleet. Upon completing the trip and returning to Spain, the-then King of Spain, Charles V honored Elcano and also gave him an annual pension. In addition, his family was given rule over the Marquisate of Buglas in Negros Island, Philippines.
Childhood & Early Life
Juan Sebastián Elcano was born sometime around 1476, in Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Castile, a medieval polity, which was located in modern South West Europe. His parents were Domingo Sebastián Elcano and Catalina del Puerto. He had three siblings, all brothers, namely, Domingo Elcano, Martín Pérez Elcano, and Antón Martín Elcano.
In his early years, he served in the military and also took part in the Italian Wars under the command of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba. He also joined the Spanish expedition in 1509, against Algiers, which was organized by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros.
Later, he chose to settle in Seville, and became a merchant ship captain. However, he soon accumulated too many debts, and companies started demanding that he surrender his ship to cover all his debts. However, by doing so, he broke the law of the land.
When he asked the king for a pardon, the King agreed but only on a condition that he would use his skills as a sailor and navigator to aid Ferdinand Magellan on his voyage. Soon, he signed on as a subordinate officer for the expedition to the East Indies.
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Juan Sebastián Elcano never married during his lifetime. But he had a son with María Hernández Dernialde, who was named Domingo Elcano. He had also fathered a daughter with another woman named Maria de Vida Urreta.
In 1525, Juan Sebastián Elcano was chosen as the chief navigator of another expedition being led by García Jofre de Loaísa, a Spanish nobleman. Their main intention was to retrace Magellan’s route in order to establish a permanent colony on the Spice Islands.
During the crossing of the Pacific, Juan Sebastián Elcano passed away with several of the other sailors on 4th August 1526. He wrote a last will and testament, before his death, which stated that his money was left for his two illegitimate children as well as their mothers.