Juan Sebastián Elcano and San Sebastian

Juan Sebastián Elcano, a Spanish historical figure, is renowned for being in command of the first expedition to circumnavigate the world. He and his expedition found what we know today as the Strait of Magellan and were the first to cross the Pacific Ocean.

His exploits are so many that the Spanish Navy training ship was created under his own name, Juan Sebastián Elcano, in honour of the discoveries he made during his 50 years of life.

¿Who was Juan Sebastián Elcano?

He was born in 1476 in Guetaria, Guipúzcoa, and from a very young age he began to enlist in small ships, generally fishing or commercial vessels, so he had a great deal of experience at sea. He began to take an interest in military maritime expeditions until 1509, when he had his own ship and embarked on the expedition against Algiers.

Only 10 years later he joined Ferdinand Magellan and they found the so-called Strait of Magellan and were the first to cross the Pacific Ocean.

Juan Sebastián Elcano training ship

With a length of 113 metres, a height of 50 metres, a draught of 7 metres, a beam of 13 metres and up to 3100 cubic metres of sail, the training ship Juan Sebastián Elcano is the most famous and representative ship of the Spanish Navy. Today it has become a training ship where training cruises of approximately 20,000 miles are carried out.

It is an intensive study of seafaring, from the most practical actions to the seafaring lexicon, etc., which gathers all the necessary knowledge for future generations, from the heart of our own history.

Buque escuela Juan Sebastián Elcano                         Fuente: Flickr

History of Juan Sebastián Elcano and the circumnavigation of the globe

When Juan Sebastián Elcano joined Magellan he had no idea that he would end up being the first to sail around the world. The original aim of the expedition was to locate a passage between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and to build a trade route between the Moluccas and Spain, avoiding Portuguese rule. However, during the voyage Magellan died, and this, together with various circumstances that occurred during the voyage, led Elcano to take command and end up sailing around the world.

Juan Sebastián Elcano is an important part of San Sebastián. He was born in Guetaria, a coastal town in Guipúzcoa. He is one of the illustrious figures of our land who has taken San Sebastian very far, in particular, to the whole world.

If you want to know more about the exciting life of Juan Sebastián Elcano you should walk the same streets he walked, discovering how San Sebastián inspired him to become the first to travel the world. Guetaria is a beautiful fishing village with a multitude of places to discover, such as the Zarauz promenade, the port, Malkorbe beach and its incredible historic quarter.

If you come to know the birthplace of Juan Sebastian Elcano you can not miss the best things to do in San Sebastian and know all the potential that this great place has to show us. In Free Walking Tour San Sebastian we have all kinds of tours to get to know the city from the inside and not miss any of the magical places of San Sebastian.