May 27, 2020

Around the world set off with 250 men

The year around the world of Fernando de Magallanes and Juan Sebastián Elcano a document can rewrite certain passages of how the circumnavigation was or, at least, shed light or discover passages that remained hidden thanks to a document translated for the first time into Spanish that demonstrates , for example, that Juan Sebastián Elcano imposed his criteria to decide the route with which he went around the world, over the course defended by two of his trusted men, the Greek pilot Francisco de Albo and the master Miguel de Rodas .

This is a text located in Portugal, in the Torre do Tombo National Archive (Lisbon) under the name "Auto das perguntas that is written to dois espanhois that chegaram à malaca fortress, came from Timor na Álvaro de Juzarte company, capitão de um junco ", in Spanish," Auto of the questions that were asked of two Spaniards who arrived at the fortress of Malaca coming from Timor in the company of Álvaro Juzarte, captain of a reed ".

Transcribed at the beginning of the 20th century

According to the translators website, “the document was discovered and transcribed in 1933 by the Portuguese historian António Baião, and also later by Neves Águas in 1986, although it has gone unnoticed for historiography until now as the indispensable source that is . It contains a story of the expedition of the first round the world, of utmost importance for coming from one of its crew, and for the quantity and quality of the information provided. ”

And he continues: “The question of how it is possible that this testimony of the trip exists is answered by the document itself and by the history we already knew about the expedition. From the Relationship of Deceased we knew that on February 5, 1522, Victoria de Ayamonte and the gunman Bartolomé de Saldaña, on the island of Timor, fled from the nao Victoria "without being felt."

The document that concerns us tells us that a short time later they were found there by a Portuguese ship, being transferred to the fortress of Malacca (now Malaysia), where Martín de Ayamonte was questioned about how he had reached Timor. His testimony, taken on June 1, 1522, was written in Portuguese by a scribe, and ended up later in Lisbon.

The monsoons were not favorable

One of the translators of the document, Tomás Mazón, author of the website, explained to Efe that Elcano, "without bad vibes" with his officers, made his criteria prevail because he understood the cycle of the monsoon winds, that they were not favorable to the route defended by Albo and Rhodes by Malacca, the current Malaysia, and that belonged to Portugal, which in the end was "decisive".

Elcano also ruled out returning to Spain bordering Portuguese territories because he was afraid of being arrested, added Mazón, who translated the document together with Braulio Vázquez Campos, from the General Archive of the Indies of Seville, and Cristóbal Bernal Chacón, expert in paleography and in the history of the expedition.

"From now on, the history of the expedition cannot be told without taking into account this document" which includes the interrogation of the Portuguese to two Spaniards who had hidden in the jungle, recalled Mazón.

The grumble Martin de Ayamonte, one of those arrested by the Portuguese, hid because he wanted to return to Spain with another of the ships of the expedition, the Trinity, who tried to do it without success in the east, and for fear of shipwreck in the West navigation planned by the Elcano.

In addition to the route decided by Elcano, the document confirms other data of the expedition: that Fernando Magallanes had a relative on board named Martín de Magallanes and that the captain general knew about the existence of a Portuguese army that was going to India, reason for which "maybe" they waited 41 days in Sanlucar de Barrameda (Cádiz).

Thirty Portuguese on board

One of the discoveries that this interesting text also advances refers to the number of sailors of all kinds embarked and that is recorded as follows: “… said Fernando de Magallanes departed from said port of Seville and according to the opinion of said Martin, would come to be two hundred and fifty men in the armed bliss, among which there would be thirty Portuguese, more or less … ”, to later record that among them was Martin de Magallanes, a native of Lisbon, and said relative of the said Fernando de Magellan…".

In the footnotes elaborated in the document it is noted that the number of 250 men is the highest figure that can be found in a direct source and “is also the most adjusted to the reality that we can find by the embarked listings , salaries, deceased and payments made. It is another fact that points to the credibility of this testimony. ”

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