On August 10th, 1519, 239 sailors led by Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan sailed five ships out of Seville, Spain, looking for a trading route to the west. When one of those ships finally returned to Spain three years later, it was the first scientific proof that the earth is a sphere.
This year, the 500th anniversary of that very first round-the-world voyage will be commemorated with a joint circumnavigation organized by the governments of Spain and Portugal, using their two most famous tall ships: Sagres and Juan Sebastián Elcano.
Magellan himself never made it home, and only 18 of the original crew completed the circumnavigation, returning under the leadership of Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano. Though Portugal’s Magellan has received most of the credit for the successful voyage, Spain and Portugal have organized this joint commemoration in part to recognize the important part the Spanish Elcano (and the Spanish king’s original funding) played.
With plans for many events along the way, the voyage may last as long as the original circumnavigation. Already on the schedule are celebrations at the start and finish of the 2019 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.