On September 25, 1502, in the course of his third voyage, Christopher Columbus reached the American continent (the coast of Honduras). In the vicinity of Veragua, he received vague reports of the existence of a very rich country called Ciguara and of the Pacific Ocean, which he considered the sea of Trans-Gangetic India. On September 25, 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa sighted the Pacific Ocean, which he called Mar del Sur (South Sea).
Ferdinand Magellan held that that the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, were located within the area allocated to Spain by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) and that it was, moreover, possible to find a route other than that used by the Portuguese (around the Cape of Good Hope) by passing through a strait in South America that would make it possible to reach the Moluccas via the Pacific Ocean.
Magellan’s voyage (1519-1522) resulted in the discovery of the strait that bears his name, opening a new route from Spain to the Moluccas via the Pacific Ocean. It was the first circumnavigation of the world, ultimately completed by Juan Sebastián Elcano, who succeeded Magellan in command, confirming that the Earth was round.
The Pacific voyages did away with fables of human monsters, races of giants, Amazons, pygmies or long-eared men, and no such fantasies were ever mentioned again, as can be seen in the itineraries and chronicles of subsequent voyages. Marine monsters reappeared only in the nineteenth century, in American literature, with Moby Dick.
On one of those voyages, Miguel de Urdaneta (1565) discovered the Philippines-America route, which came to be known as “Urdaneta’s route”. A regular trade route was established that linked Mexico to the Philippines, led by the Manila galleon, also known as the Nao de China, until the Cortes de Cádiz put an end to the route on September 14, 1813.
Video of the exhibition 'The Exploration of the Pacific Ocean: 500 years of History' in the Naval Museum at the Casa de América. All items are the property of the Naval Museum.
Exposición virtual — Esta exposición virtual está realizada con fotografías de fondos propiedad del Museo Naval.
Exposición física — La exposición física, comisariada por el Museo Naval de Madrid con sus propios fondos, se puede visitar en la Casa de América, hasta el 2 de febrero de 2014.
Comisarios de la exposición — José Manuel Sevilla López; María Pilar de San Pío Aladrén; María del Carmen López Calderón. Con la colaboración de María Vigón Tabar y José María Moreno Martín.
Creación de la exposición virtual — Olivia Piquero, Coordinadora Web y Responsable de Comunidades Online de Casa de América www.casamerica.es
Patrocinadores — Telefónica, Navantia, Ministerio de Defensa, Armada Española, Fundación Jorge Juan, Fundación Ramón Areces, Tecnobit, Fundación Museo Naval, Alvargonzález, Naviera Armas, Baleária, Boluda Corporación Marítima, Naviera Elcano, Grupo Ibaizábal