We still wonder how that little ship, the Nao Victoria, was able to make the First Round the World in the years 1519 to 1522. Until today, the most skilled sailor is still surprised at how the ships of that expedition were able to surround the planet , to reach Patagonian latitudes, to recognize the intricate labyrinth of the channels of the Strait of Magellan, to cross the immensity of the Pacific Ocean, to bend the end of the Storms or to turn around the world without stops.

La Victoria, like her traveling companions in this great feat, were naos, ships that may seem small, tremendously uncomfortable for the lives of their men , with rudimentary nautical instruments and rigging of square sails that gave them little maneuver. However, then they were the avant-garde, revolutionary ships and the most advanced of their time, designed to make great ocean voyages. They were naos of Cantabrian origin, from 80 to 150 tons (in tons it was equivalent to 20% more) of capacity, with ample warehouses to increase their load capacity and little draft to navigate near the unknown coasts.


Between its 20 and 23 meters in length and just over 7 meters in length, the 45 to 60 men who crewed them lived together. Only the captain had his own chamber, and the rest sought among the few free spaces of their decks swept by the water, the wind and the sea, some small hole in the ceiling where to throw their blankets and rest. Their diet consisted of scarce portions of a twice-baked bread, called sponge cake, wine, legumes, nuts and other salted food , since fresh food stored in the cellars where oxygen was barely running, were corrupted a few days after navigation and drinking water became rotten in a little less than a month. Hunger and disease, led 51 of the 245 crew members of the expedition, who in the most tragic moments came to eat the leather of sticks, worms, rats and wood sawdust, so as not to die.


The naos were also dark ships by the black and unctuous pitch with which their woods were covered to protect them from the joke, and therefore their men withstood very high temperatures and few shadow spaces for relief and rest , after the hours of the guards which They divided the work between their decks.

In these conditions those men, however, faced the great oceans of the planet. Of those five naos that left Seville on August 10, 1519, only one of them, Victoria, returned on September 8, 1522, culminating the First World Tour. He had traveled more than 37,000 nautical miles and brought on board only 18 men led by Juan Sebastián Elcano, who on the way back to Spain from the Moluccas Islands, had done with this nao, practically halfway around the world without stops, in lonely and a journey of more than five months through some of the toughest regions on the planet.


In short, a whole feat that would not be repeated until 60 years later by Francis Drake . But it is not only about the greatest maritime adventure in history, but its achievements and consequences had a reach that reaches to this day and it was a real revulsion of the knowledge of the planet in which we live.

With this nautical deed the roundness of the Earth was demonstrated and that America was a continent

Columbus's dream of reaching the mythical Asia for the West and 27 years of successive Spanish maritime expeditions that sought to open the western route to spices, and that had encountered the immensity of a new land that seemed insurmountable and that extended towards the South until latitudes still unimaginable. At the cartographic level, the roundness of the earth, the continental continent of America was demonstrated and thousands of nautical and cosmographic data that would be used by all European nations to collect maps that collected the modern image of the world in its entirety were collected. The Strait of Magellan, the Pacific archipelagos of Tuamotú, the Marianas, the Marshall, the Moluccas, part of the Philippines were discovered, and the Pacific was sailed in its entirety.

But it is more, with this expedition, a commercial and cultural current began that would unite the European, American and Asian continents along the sea roads, beginning globalization. In short, for the first time, man embraced and closed the world and acquired proof of the dimension of the planet in which he lived.

We visited the Interpretation and Space Center "First Round the World". Video: Daniel Izeddin


All this has been told by the Nao Victoria Foundation, an institution that has been spreading this historic milestone and the work of Spanish sailors for more than a decade, at the interpretation center that has recently opened in Seville, called Espacio Primera Vuelta al Mundo, with motive of the V Centenary of the deed. A place where visitors discover the keys to the First Round the World narrated through their main ship: Nao Victoria. It is the ship, which guides from beginning to end: from the preparations for the expedition to the immensity of the crossing he made. A tour of the dangers faced by its crew. An experience for the senses through the sensations and experiences of the ships themselves and their leading sailors, to get closer to knowing the authentic dimension and scope of the achievements of this incredible adventure.

The 'skin' that saved the longest trip

The resistance of the nao Victoria shown on the trip was not the result of fortune but of a conscientious work of expert carpenters. In the first place, the surveyors were responsible for selecting the wood cut in the mountains. They should have a very good eye because they took advantage of the natural shapes of the trunks and branches for the pieces of the future ship. Different factors were taken into account, such as the orientation of the tree (those that were to the north resisted water better) and it was the sawmills and carpenters who worked the wood of trees that were easy to bend. To resist corrosion caused by water, air and animals, wood sawmills adopted a series of preventive measures learned from nature observation. The main one consisted of cutting the oaks and trasmochos in the waning quarters of the months of November, December and January of each year. The shield of these ships, which were able to travel the world, was constructed of oak (structure) and pine lining.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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