Victoria (ship)

This article is about "Victoria", a Spanish carrack. For other ships, see Victoria (disambiguation).
For other ships named Victoria see the disambiguation page, Queen Victoria (ship)
Replica of Victoria, built in 1992, visiting Nagoya, Japan, for Expo 2005
 SpainCrown of Spain
Name: Victoria
Namesake: Santa Maria de la Victoria
Owner: Ferdinand Magellan/Sebastian Elcano
Ordered: 1518
Launched: 1519
Fate: Disappeared en route to Seville from the Antilles, 1570 [1]
Notes: First ship to circumnavigate the globe.
General characteristics
Class and type: Carrack
Tonnage: 85
Length: 18 to 21 metres (59 to 69 ft)
Complement: 55

Victoria (or Nao Victoria, as well as Vittoria) was a Spanish carrack and the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world. Victoria was part of a Spanish expedition commanded by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and after his death during the voyage, by Juan Sebastián Elcano. The expedition began on August 10, 1519 with five ships but Victoria was the only ship to complete the voyage, returning on September 6, 1522.[2] Magellan was killed in the Philippines. The ship was built at a shipyard in Gipuzkoa, with the Basques being reputed shipbuilders at the time, and along with the four other ships, she was given to Magellan by King Charles I of Spain (The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V). Victoria was named after the church of Santa Maria de la Victoria de Triana, where Magellan took an oath of allegiance to Charles V.[2] Victoria was an 85 ton ship with a crew of 42.

The four other ships were Trinidad (110 tons, crew 55), San Antonio (120 tons, crew 60), Concepcion (90 tons, crew 45), and Santiago (75 tons, crew 32). Trinidad, Magellan's flagship, Concepcion, and Santiago were wrecked or scuttled; San Antonio deserted the expedition during the navigation of the Straits of Magellan and returned to Europe on her own.

Victoria was rated a carrack or nao (ship), as were all the others except Santiago, which was a caravel.[3]


The voyage started with a crew of about 265 men aboard five ships. Of all these, only 18 men returned alive on Victoria. Many of the men died of malnutrition. Beginning the voyage, Luis De Mendoza was her captain. On April 2, 1520, after establishing a settlement they called Puerto San Julian, in Patagonia a fierce mutiny involving three captains broke out, but it was ultimately quelled.[4] Antonio Pigafetta's and other reports state that Luis de Mendoza and Gaspar Quesada, captain of Concepcion were executed and the remains hung on gallows on the shore.[4][5] Juan de Cartagena, captain of San Antonio was marooned on the coast. Duarte Barbosa, a Portuguese who had sided with Magellan in facing the mutiny, then became the captain of Victoria. According to Pigafetta, after Magellan's death on April 27, 1521, at the Battle of Mactan, remnants of the fleet tried to retrieve Magellan's body without success. Thereafter, Duarte Barbosa and João Serrão were elected leaders of the expedition. On May 1, 1521 they were invited by rajah Humabon of Cebu, of the Philippines to a banquet ashore to receive a gift for the king of Spain. There most were killed or poisoned, including Duarte Barbosa and João Serrão, who was brought by natives who wanted to exchange him for weapons, but was left behind. Pilot João Carvalho, who had survived the trap, then became the captain of Victoria. In August, near Borneo he was deposed and Juan Sebastián Elcano became captain for the remainder of the expedition.

Returning crew

a detail from a map of 1590 showing Victoria

Out of an entire expedition of 260 people, only 18 returned to Seville with the expedition (many others deserted), which by the end was only made up of the crew of Victoria.

They were:

Name Rating
Juan Sebastián Elcano, from Getaria (Spain) Master
Francisco Albo, from Rodas (in Tui, Galicia) Pilot
Miguel de Rodas (in Tui, Galicia) Pilot
Juan de Acurio, from Bermeo Pilot
Antonio Lombardo (Pigafetta), from Vicenza Supernumerary
Martín de Judicibus, from Genoa Chief Steward
Hernándo de Bustamante, from Alcántara Mariner
Nicholas the Greek, from Nafplion Mariner
Miguel Sánchez, from Rodas (in Tui, Galicia) Mariner
Antonio Hernández Colmenero, from Huelva Mariner
Francisco Rodrigues, Portuguese from Seville Mariner
Juan Rodríguez, from Huelva Mariner
Diego Carmena, from Baiona (Galicia) Mariner
Hans of Aachen, (Holy Roman Empire) Gunner
Juan de Arratia, from Bilbao Able Seaman
Vasco Gómez Gallego, from Baiona (Galicia) Able Seaman
Juan de Santandrés, from Cueto (Cantabria) Apprentice Seaman
Juan de Zubileta, from Barakaldo Page

Out of all these survivors, Antonio Pigafetta was the most significant because his journals supply most of the information known about the first expedition around the world.


The long circumnavigation began in Seville in 1519 and returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522, after traveling 68,000 kilometres (42,000 mi), 35,000 kilometres (22,000 mi) of which was largely unknown to the crew. On December 21, 1521, Victoria sailed on from Tidore alone because the other ships left the convoy due to lack of food/water rations. The ship was in terrible shape, with her sails torn and only kept afloat by continuous pumping of water. Victoria managed to pull through and return to Spain with a shipload of costly spices, the value of which was greater than the cost of the entire original fleet.[2]

Victoria was later repaired, bought by a merchant shipper and sailed for almost another fifty years before being lost with all hands on a trip from the Antilles to Seville in about 1570.[1]


Replica of Nao Victoria built in Punta Arenas, Chile

A replica was built in 1992 and is operated by the Fundación Nao Victoria, Seville.[6]

In 2006, to celebrate the Bicentennial of Chile, an entrepreneur from Punta Arenas founded a project to build a replica of the first ship to circumnavigate the globe and discover the Strait of Magellan,[7] which was also one of the first European voyages to explore Chile’s extreme south. The search for the original plans of Nao Victoria took longer than expected and the project was delayed by almost three years, from 2006 to 2009. The replica was finally completed by 2011. Although it was not possible to complete the project in time for the celebration of the bicentennial in 2010, the project’s creator received a Presidential Medal from the President of Chile.[8]


  1. 1 2 Bergreen, Laurence (2003). "XV- After Magellan". Over the Edge of the World (1 ed.). New York City: HarperCollins. p. 413. ISBN 0-06-621173-5. Little Victoria, the first ship to complete a circumnavigation, had her own curious epilogue. No one thought to preserve the battered vessel as a testament of Magellan's great achievement. Instead, she was repaired, sold to a merchant for 106,274 maravedis, and returned to service, a workhorse of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. As late as 1570, she was still plying the Atlantic. En route to Seville from the Antilles, she disappeared without a trace; all hands on board were lost. It is assumed that she encountered a mid-Atlantic storm that sent her to the bottom, her wordless epitaph written on the restless waves.
  2. 1 2 3 Delaney, John (2010). "Fernão de Magalhães, d. 1521 (Ferdinand Magellan)". Strait Through: Magellan to Cook & the Pacific. Princeton University. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  3. . Laurence Bergreen ”Over the Edge of the World”, Summary by Michael McGoodwin, prepared 2004
  4. 1 2
  5. "Ferdinand Magellan", Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent, retrieved 14 January 2007
  6. "Nao Victoria". Fundación Nao Victoria. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  7. Atlas Vivo de Chile – Nao Victoria Retrieved August 19, 2013
  8. "Presidente Sebastian Pinera expreso compromiso...". Radio Natales (in Spanish). 16 August 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
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