In doing so, he acknowledged the Basque sailor's feat, who reached Sanlúcar de Barrameda 6 September 1522 on board the ship Victoria, three years after setting sail.
Indeed, Elkano was the first. But who was he, actually?
Juan Sebastián was born in Getaria, on the coast of Gipuzkoa, at the dawn of the age of discover in 1487.
The earliest documents to speak of him belong to the House of Trade of Seville. These are accounting entries recording Magellan’s Armada’s preparations in 1519, when Juan Sebastián was approximately 32 years old. He is identified as a resident of Getaria, and information on his parents is also provided.
His father was Domingo Sebastián Elkano (in Spanish, this was interchangeably spelled “del Cano,” “Cano,” or “de Elcano”).
His mother, a noteworthy figure in the family’s story, was Catalina del Puerto. The family enjoyed a certain economic standing, as seen in Getaria’s register of residence in 1500, showing that they owned pieces of real estate. This family was closely linked to the sea, as shown by the fact that four of the male children, including Juan Sebastián, chose the sailing profession, and at least one of their sisters married a sailor.