Juan Sebastián Elcano

Spanish anonimous19th Century

Naval Museum

Naval Museum
Madrid, Spain

Juan Sebastián Elcano was a sailor, born in Getaria in the Basque Country, around 1476. He took part in the voyage led by Magellan, which would complete the circumnavigation of the world.

Elcano joined the expedition as boatswain of the Concepción, with Gaspar de Quesada as his captain. Following Magellan's death in 1521, and with the loss of three of their five ships, in differing circumstances, Elcano set sail as captain of one group of survivors on the Victoria. The rest of the group set sail on the Trinidad.

Elcano decided to return to Seville via the Indian Ocean until reaching Africa. The first circumnavigation of the world was completed on the crew's arrival at Sanlúcar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522. Two days later, they docked in Seville. The achievement led Charles I of Spain to grant him an annual salary of 500 ducats and, as a coat of arms, a world globe with the Latin inscription: PRIMUS CIRCUMDEDISTI ME (You were the first to circumnavigate me).

This 19th-century portrait, by an anonymous Spanish artist, has many artistic similarities to the portrait of Fernando de Magallanes, meaning they could have been painted by the same person.


  • Title: Juan Sebastián Elcano
  • Creator: Spanish anonimous
  • Date: 19th Century
  • Location: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: 107,5 x 92,5 x 10 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Original Source: Museo Naval. Madrid. Todos los derechos reservados.
  • Rights: Naval Museum, Madrid. All rights reserved.
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Photographer: Juan Antonio Clemente Izquierdo
  • Inventory: MNM 5605

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