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Nao Victoria, the first ship to circumnavigate the earth

Victoria was a spanish carrack (nao) which travelled around the world between 1519 and 1522 and I was lucky to be in the harbor of Barcelona to see it.

In fact, the one I saw, it is a replica built in 1991 in Seville for the Universal Exhibition of 1992. Why there ?? Well, because it was in this city that the ship started and came back from its adventure.

The initial expedition included 5 boats and 234 sailors. During their crossing, the 4 others had to give up so in 1521, only Victoria has been able to keep going on. With a very bad condition, the crew had to do a tremendous effort to keep it afloat by continuous pumping out of water and fortunately, it returned

to Spain with a shipload of spices and with only 18 men. So what happened during its sailing of 42,000 miles, I’m quite sure that its story can make a good blockbuster because there are a lot of twists. First, a mutiny has been leaded by 2 captains, Luis De Mendoza (nao Victoria) and Gaspar Quesada (nao Concepcion) in 1520. Both have been executed after their defeat.

ship victoria ship victoria

The captain Juan de Cartagena (nao San Antonio) was marooned on the coast and the ship with its crews deserted the expedition to go to Europe on their own. The captain Fernando de Magallanes (nao Trinidad) died during the Battle of Mactan on april 1521.

Nao Santiago (the 5th ship) sank, it was not the only to know this tragedy, also Concepcion and Trinidad shared the same destiny. If you have followed, none of the original captains survived to the expedition but the adventure didn’t stop here.

ship victoria ship victoria ship victoria

After the death of the last captain, 2 members, Duarte Barbosa and João Serrão, were elected as leaders but on may 1521, Rajah Humabon, ruler of Cebu, invited the crew for a banquet to receive a gift for the king of Spain. In fact, it was a trap and many of them have been killed or poisoned.

Few survived and one of them, João Carvalho, became the captain of Victoria and few months later, he was deposed near Borneo. On september 6, 1522, at the end, the ship arrived at Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain with Juan Sebastián Elcano as captain and 2 days later, it went back home at Seville turning Victoria into the first ship to circumnavigate the Earth.

ship victoria ship victoria

I didn’t mention it but some members died of starving too. Like you can read, it was not really a happy trip and later, the ship disappeared in high sea during its travel from Santo Domingo to Spain.

In 2004, the replica did the same trip like the original one and it sailed 26,894 miles by stopping in 17 countries during 2 years. Ignacio Fernández Vial was the guy who was in charge of the investigation, he was also the designer and the builder of the replica.