Up to now the Relation of the first voyage around the world, the Italian Antonio Pigafetta, was the main source of information of the feat starring Juan Sebastián Elcano and 17 sailors more, of the 247 who left Seville on 10 August 1519. But the rediscovery of the National Archive Torre do Tombo, in Lisbon, the declaration of the moss of the nao Victoria, which led Juan Sebastian Elcano, offers surprising new details about the quest. The young Martin de Ayamonte, who was captured and interrogated by the Portuguese when he was hiding on the island of Timor after deserting from the ship, reveals in his statement to the strength of character of Elcano, the tactics of the natives to kill the spaniards, or the provenance accurate of some of the crew members. “It is an essential document to understand the feat, and it is incomprehensible that has gone missing in the historiography”, explains to THE COUNTRY, Tomas Mazon, one of the three experts that have been found and translated into Spanish the document.
When Cortés tried to rescue Elcano
The 5 of February of 1522, the young Martin de Ayamonte, and the soldier Bartholomew Saldaña left “without senses” the Victory in the island of Timor, where the ship was moored. Defected because they were afraid to die in the attempt to give back to the world. They hid in the jungle waiting for the opportunity to return to the Moluccas, where it was being repaired another of the ships of the expedition, the Trinity. Ayamonte wanted to meet with a family who traveled in this ship and he was going back to Spain, not by the west as a Victory, but for the east, to Mexico.
But, always according to the story of a cabin boy, the little time they were discovered by a vessel Portuguese and taken to the fortress of Malacca (now Malaysia), where the plaintiff was questioned on 1 June 1522 and where a scribe took note of his statement. This document, which ended in Lisbon, was found by the historian António Baiao in 1933 and translated into Portuguese modern. But Spanish historians were unaware of her entire existence up to that Mazon, who is director of the web rutaelcano.com, located in the National Archive Torre do Pombo in Lisbon. The expert reported his discovery to the officers of the General Archive of Indies (Seville), which have been translated for the first time into Spanish of the hand of the archivist Braulio Vazquez Campos and Christopher Bernal Chacón, an expert in palaeography.
The declaration of Ayamonte contains “a narrative of the expedition of utmost importance ahead of one of their crew, and by the amount and quality of information provided”, says Mazon. “The story of the expedition may not be counted as without having this this document, in which, for example, for the first time, we know that Juan Sebastian de Elcano did prevail, his criterion for the choice of the path back in front of the position of their principal officers”,
According to confessed to Ayamonte, the crew of the Victory I wanted to come back to Spain along the Portuguese territories of the Pacific, but Elcano had refused, claiming that they could be imprisoned, and that the monsoons would not be conducive. Imposed its criteria with determination. “As opposed to the general opinion, it took away from the coasts because he understood perfectly the cycle of the monsoons, which enabled that would give back to the world”.
the story of The boy reveals, moreover, how, in the battle of Mactán, where he died of Ferdinand Magellan, the natives placed traps with stakes to skewer the spaniards. Equally, it points to the place of origin of some crew members, like the captain of the ship Santiago, Juan Serrano, who was a native of extremadura, of Fregenal de la Sierra, and Juan de Cartagena, who confirms that he was Catalan.
“we don’t know what happened with the boy”, says Mazon. Only you know the latest words that have been recorded of him to questions of the Portuguese captain who questioned him, Jorge de Albuquerque: “the nao [Victory], when he left Timor [without him or Saldaña], gave the pump a dozen times of day and twelve times a night, and the master and pilot, who were greeks, they wanted to come by Melaka [portugal], and captain [Elcano], which was vizcaino [actually it was in guipúzcoa, born in Getaria], he would not, and your intent of them was to go to the islands of the Maldives to correct [fix] his nao, and there would go your way for those parts [of Spain]. And most don’t tell”.