Talk:Luís Vaz de Torres

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  • Nobody is recorded as calling Torres a Portuguese - but they often referred to Quiros as such - which was one of the sources of tension with the crews
  • There is no document indicating he was Portuguese or from Portuguese origins.
  • There is only the statements were he is called a "Breton" which in those days simply meant "Celt".
  • Nothing he wrote is in Portuguese or hints at a Portuguese background.
  • There is only the fanciful roundabout speculations that he was descended of Portuguese who lived in Brittany simply due to an ancient misunderstanding that "Breton" meant he was from Brittany.

Unless somebody can show something other than unsupported speculations that he was in fact Portuguese, either directly or indirectly, then we should go with Ockham's razor and say he was Galician orat the very least Spanish. "Traditionally..." (in the English and Portuguese speaking worlds; no less!!!) is not good enough! December 2007. I have removed the speculation about Portuguese ancestory. I cannot find a single source to support this notion, from Collingridge to Hilder, there is no mention of this at all. --Nickm57 (talk) 08:52, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

English sources on Portuguese personalities and happenings are sketchy to say the least. This can be atributed to a disparity of language importance (during the early discoveries Portuguese sources where important, English ones were not, and later when English sources were important, Portuguese ones started to become obsolete, there was never a "translation synnergy" as there is between Germany and the UK for example) also, there is an old ingrained lusophobia, almost a tradition in Northern European sources to discredit potential Portuguese achievements, and to put in the back drawer achievements that are proved. Until quite recently, both colloquial and academic circles in Northern Europe considered the Portuguese barely European at all (not entirelly untrue but we are quite proud of that, rather than Europe, Portugal belongs to the world). So it is normal that not many people are going to challenge you regarding Torres' nationality, but if you want to be fair pursue multi-language sources (not just English and Portuguese!) and try not to follow the prejudice of anglo-saxon academic tradition. The article is quite good! -- FernãoMendesPinto (talk) 18:29, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

December 2007 revision[edit]

I have added some additional information about Torres voyage and provided citations and headings. The claim Torres was Galacian is speculative, so I have now identified him as Spanish, with the speculation appearing in the following paragraph under origins and early life.--Nickm57 (talk) 01:07, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Spelling of Quirós - AGAIN[edit]

I have raised this issue of the spelling of Quirós' name before, but so far there hasn't been any further discussion. I favour spelling his name the traditionally accepted Castilian way. However, this article now has his name spelled in BOTH Portuguese and Castilian interchangeably, while the actual page on Quirós uses Portuguese! So what are we going to do folks?--Nickm57 (talk) 21:17, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

The spelling of Pedro Fernández de Quirós has been made consistent throughout. Also, as I have remarked above, this was the name he used in his adult life, and the documents he left are authored with this name.--Nickm57 (talk) 11:00, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
His name should be spelled the way his parents gave it to him in his native language - i.e. portuguese. Spelling it in Castilian is an example of cultural imperialism. Perhaps for the castilian wikipedia it could be spelt in castilian since he lent this courtesy to them, but there is no need to do that for neutral language wikipedia's (e.g. english).Utopial (talk) 09:35, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
He certainly was born in Portugual, but surely ignoring the fact he consistently spelt his name in the Castilian manner is an example of historical revisionism? I am sure you would agree that the spelling of names in medieval and renaissance Europe was extraordinarily inconsistent by 21st century standards. Names also changed for a variety of reasons during a persons lifetime as they do today. To Queirós, the preference for Quiros as spelling was probably a pragmatic one because of his work for the spanish crown. But perhaps it wasn't. To use one modern example, I am certain Muhammad Ali does not want to be known as Cassius Clay on WP just because his parents gave him that name!--Nickm57 (talk) 11:44, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

I think it's right to recognise the two spellings his name officially had. Ali was a bit different as he changed his name in his original country. I guess it's most similar to how east asians adopt a western name when they move to western countries to make it easier for the locals, but they dont revise their name back in their home country. East asian examples don't help much though as english isnt acting a neutral example. If he had an english name it'd be much easier. Based on the ferdinand magellan and muhammad ali articles, perhaps the best thing to do is the refer to a person by their original name from the start, and from the point they start using a differnet name, use that. I'm not too sure about this tho. In this case the article should be changed back to Quirós.Utopial (talk) 09:44, 23 November 2009 (UTC)


We're saying that he disappeared from the historical record around June 1607. I have an old note that says he was known to have died some time before December 1613, but his actual date of death is unrecorded. Can anyone verify this, and remind me what the significance of December 1613 was? Thanks. -- JackofOz (talk) 01:17, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I've never read this. Is the 1613 date you have seen to do with Prado's letters from Goa? It's possible they are a finally contemporary reference to Torres --Nickm57 (talk) 11:55, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Relevance of addition[edit]

I think the addition "This led Captain Cook to undertake another voyage into the South Pacific. He was bitterly disappointed that it was Captain Cook and not him who was appointed commander of the expedition which eventually led in 1770 to the British discovery and charting of the Eastern coastline of Australia" is muddly and not very relevant to the story of Torres. I take it "He was bitterly..." means "Dalrymple was bitterly"? Do you want to have a reread and a think about this Lacalera?--Nickm57 (talk) 01:11, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I have reverted the page. I suggest this material on Dalrymple-Cook goes on the relevant pages or at best is added in a footnote here. --Nickm57 (talk) 21:01, 3 February 2009 (UTC)


Who exactly claims Torres may have been Portuguese? In case it was missed, this was the subject of discussion above. Please cite a reference for this, Ogre, or at least a reference to some debate about it.--Nickm57 (talk) 07:32, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Hello Nickm57! Give me some time, I'm researching it. Anyhow it does seem that there is an ongoing non-sourced dispute about these issue, with him being present as Portuguese or Spanish in different sources of info (I'm not speaking of credible academic sources). Furthermore, the Sp wiki says he is a Spaniard (the Galician probability), while the Pt wiki calls him Portuguese. This will probably end with the article stating that is national origin remains unknown, and that some say he is Sp while others say he is Pt - that is why I though that the Pt proability should be mentioned (it's a small sentence!:)). I'm trying to source it even now. Will como back soon. Cheers! The Ogre (talk) 10:39, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Hello again Nickm57! Done researching the subject, and found many sources stating Luís Vaz de Torres was Portuguese:

So, you see, I believe there is enough evidence to present both hypothesis with equal status. Furthermore, I think personally that:

  1. He was probably Portuguese, the confusion about his national identity arising from two issues:
    1. The fact that until the definitive breakup between Portugal and Castille-Aragon in 1640, the word Spain or any of its equivalents was used to refer to the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, and not exclusively, as in modern usage, to the country of Spain, thus excluding Portugal. And even more so during the period called the Iberian Union (1580-1640).
    2. The fact that there have been many attemps throughout the centuries of turning Portuguese explorers and navigators into Spaniards, namely when they where working for the Spanish Crown (as in the case of Ferdinand Magellan), and even more so during the Iberian Union.
  2. His name looks extremely Portuguese, and the attempt to turn it into a Spanish one by making it a Galician name seems quite forcefull.
  3. The sentence as it is in the article states (with source): "Accounts attribute his nationality as Spanish, though Don Diego de Prado y Tovar, a Spanish nobleman who accompanied Torres, refers to him in his account as a “Breton”.", but I might ask, which accounts? The source does not say that, but only that "Almost nothing is known of the background of this man." (p. 115), going on to "invent", in my humble opinion..., the Galician hypothesis, claiming, without a source (where, when, please?!?), that Diego de Prado y Tovar called him a "Breton", and that was meant at the time (again, source, please!?!) as having "Celtic blood", and therefore... Galicia. This is all quite improbable, since the whole idea of the "Celts" only emerged centuries after the facts we're discussing (Celts says "The English word Celt is modern, attested from 1707..."), and that (again according to Celts): "Until the end of the 19th century, traditional scholarship dealing with the Celts acknowledged the celts of the Iberian Peninsula as a material culture relatable to the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures. But, since according to the definition of the Iron Age in the 19th century Celtic populations were rare in Iberia and did not provide a cultural scenario that could easily be linked to that of Central Europe, the celts of the Iberian Peninsula were ignored substancially until the end of the 20th century." In fact the idea of a Celtic Galicia only comes up with 19th century Galician romantic nationalism!

With all of these in mind I'll try to rewrite the "Origins and Early Life" in a NPOV manner. Tell me what you think afterwards. Thanks and cheers! The Ogre (talk) 14:36, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Fair enough! But in the intro, I think probably only a couple of references would be adequate - 12 does seem excessive! Good work all the same. --Nickm57 (talk) 23:40, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Ok! I'll put them all in one ref. Or would you prefer just some of them? The Ogre (talk) 12:37, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
My view is one or two references, in one or two footnotes, to English language texts that are fairly easily accessed, would be adequate.--Nickm57 (talk) 06:52, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Ok! The Ogre (talk) 11:50, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

The origin of the word "CELT" IN English is irrelevant[edit]

1. The name Torres is common in Spain, especially in Galicia and the neighbouring areas of Castile. Note the famous guitar maker Antonio Torres Jurado, who was from ANDALUCIA and the current Liverpool football player, Fernando Torres, from MADRID. 2. The English world celt derives from the ancient Latin word Celtus, itself derived from an older Greek equivilant. (note, Spanish inherited the word "celta" from its ancestral language LATIN, NOT English). 3. Maria Estensen points out that the word "breton" was used (in Spain) to refer to Galicians - Anyone familiar with Spain, and particularly the bagpipe playing peoples of Spain's Atlantic provinces of Galicia and Asturias, would know why, and how they could have been associated in past times with "bretons", given the similarities. 4. Galicia has a long and rich maritime tradition - even today Galician navigators are highly considered and sought. 5. Torres wrote his accounts in Spanish, not Portuguese. 6. Not a single scrap of documentary evidence from official records, diaries or other accounts from the voyage mention that Torres was Portuguese - all such claims happened CENTURIES later, and then seem to have become an unchallenged convention - in English and Portuguese speaking countries. Contrast this with the mention in the relevant accounts of the time of de Quiros Portuguese origins - which was raised when there was some tension over his deciaions.

The onus is on anyone arguing the case for his Portuguese origin to come up with the evidence that he was in fact Portuguese - as none exists in the records, barring a unsubstantiated claim that has spread through sheer convention. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:39, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Dear anon user. I'm inclined to agree with some of what you have written, but I think the article as it stands today does Torres justice and acknowledges the debate over his origin. Two things I don't think are necessary however, are his name rendered in Portuguese at the start, and the awkard expression of the newly edited sentence "The matter of fact Torres, not one given..." - which I think you should revert.
(By the way - why not personalise yourself by creating a log-on for yourself.)Cheers and welcome to WP--Nickm57 (talk) 05:03, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
1. The name 'Vaz' is common in Portugal. One source says that his name is more Portuguese than Spanish.[1]
2. No primary sources use the word 'celt'. they use 'breton'.
3. Multiple sources, not just Estensen, refer to how he was called a Breton and suggest this mean 'of celtic blood.' The celtic blood region includes northern portugal, which in fact held the capital (Braga) of this region. One of many sources, Rafael Altamira confirms that the celtic region includes Portugal in his book 'A history of Spain from the beginnings to the present day'
5. He wrote them in Castilian Spanish, which wouldn't have been his native tongue if he was from either Galicia or northern Portugal. Numerous sources wrote in the language of the crown they served - e.g. Matteo Ricci. This means nothing of their origin.
6. None of the primary evidence in this article proves he is either Spanish or Portuguese. The best evidence is that he is from Gallaecia - ie either north portugal or Galicia. As such i've made the primary language of his name spelling Galician-Portuguese rather than Castilian-Spanish which would not have been the language used to spell his name if he was from Gallaecia. Utopial (talk) 15:37, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
None of which justifies changing the page in the way you have done I am afraid! This is entirely based on your own research and considerable supposition. Part of the problem is that attempting to straitjacket historical figures of unknown birth into 21st century concepts of nationality, on the basis of what "their name sounds like," just doesnt work. However, its against my instincts just to change the page without waiting for others to comment. --Nickm57 (talk) 21:18, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
The only evidence is that he is from the galician-portuguese speaking region (which isn't a 21st century concept of nationality). Primary sources say he is a breton. Several secondary sources say this means 'of celtic blood'. This means he is galician-portuguese, whether this is 21st century portuguese/spanish is unknown/irrelevant. I've thus changed the page to reflect that he was from this general region/ethnic/linguistic group by making galician-portuguese the main language rather than the completely irrelevant castilian-spanish. I've actually moved the article focus away from a 21st century definition of nationality, which, I think, essentially diffuses a lot of the debate.
It isn't based on the way his name sounds, I was just responding to the previous person who made a lot of irrelevant assertions when the only meaningful/primary one is 'breton'. His name sound, the etymology of 'celt', galician maritime culture, reporting to the spanish crown in castilian, etc are all irrelevant.Utopial (talk) 09:03, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough point about the primary sources. Most people (inc. me) don't have access to them so it would be great if you would cite them! But I can't agree with your contention that the castilian-spanish connection is irrelevant!--Nickm57 (talk) 11:13, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I just read the ogre's post above, particularly how this primary source isnt cited by historians. Maybe this whole breton thing is a load of rubbish! The irony is that it could end up that the only real information we have to go off is the way his name sounds haha. I guess then it'd still be galician-portuguese. I suppose the main thing to note is that it really just isnt known what he is.Utopial (talk) 11:43, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, maybe the Breton reference is wrong, misleading or just way out of context. So... without wishing to be discourteous, my question is; have you changed this entire article because you think the name Vaz sounds more Galician-Portuguese than Spanish?? If so, I think we need to change it back the way it was....unless there is new historical data available to justify such a revision! --Nickm57 (talk) 21:42, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

I changed it because of the Breton reference. It would be nice to put in the primary source these historians claim to use. I did see that they referenced another book with respect to this (Stevens) but I couldnt find an open copy of this. I think, as the ogre says, that the claim of him being a spaniard would be made through the galician route. Galician-portuguese is probably the most neutral language as it could be either spain/portugal.Utopial (talk) 06:31, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

More Tendentious Nonsense to prove Torres Portuguese[edit]

Roman era Gaellecia, which occupied what later became Galicia and northern Portugal, is an anachronism in this article(only historians would have been aware of it in Torres time) as is the Galician-Portuguese language - for the two languages had long since diverged. Lets be clear, if Torres had been from Portugal, even the north, he would have been called Portuguese - people at the time were very very clear about this distinction. Remember northern Portugal is in fact the oldest part of Portugal, and the part that declared itself independent from Galicia before conquering the lands to its south. One more thing - the point is the Portuguese were at the time (as they are today) very adament in letting everbody know they're PORTUGUESE, especially at the time when the same king was sitting both the Spanish and Portuguese thrones, politically speaking. If there was the faintest whiff that Torres was Portuguese he would have been called Portuguese and not referred to as a Breton (ie, a Spaniard of 'Breton' blood).

Dear anon user. It certainly is time for a broader discussion about this. I think I've had my say above on Torres, and anyway my interest has always really been what he did, not where he was born (in the absence of any actual information about where he was born!). So perhaps its time for others to join you in a dialogue - Utopial and Ogre? By the way, anon user - why not give yourself a name and log in- others are much more inclined to respond if you do.--Nickm57 (talk) 03:29, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Nooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! You should first inquire as to why so much effort has been made to show that this relatively obscure figure is Portuguese, without any evidence! As I said above, given the political situation, if he had been Portuguese it is almost certain he would have been recorded as such - even if he was from the celtic north of Portugal - which is, after all, old Portugal. The onus is on the Portuguese to come up with tangible evidence. By the way (and this isn't proof), I looked up a 30 year old Britannica and it calls him a Spanish navigator. Interestingly, the eastern neighbours of the Galicians, the bagpipe playing Asturians are also of celtic ancestry. Did other Spaniards of the time also call them "Bretons"? - perhaps we should include that possibility in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:09, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Recent edits have not improved this article Dec 2013[edit]

Great chunks of this article are now almost incomprehensible, slipping between past and present tense and liberally filled with unsourced assertions. If I had the time to work on cleaning it up I would.Nickm57 (talk) 21:38, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Sorry - I really don't know where to start on making this readable - so I'm reverting it to an earlier version. Sentences like the following are incredibly awkward: "During that travel a mutiny causes the disgrace of Queiros, letting Torres as main sailing captain of the voyage. Prado leads politically the expedition as a representative of the King and the Pope, however."
I hope the editor can re-work this with more care. Nickm57 (talk) 08:08, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
As English is probably not your first language, I respectfully invite you to bring any further ideas for improvement, here to the talk page first.Nickm57 (talk) 05:29, 10 January 2014 (UTC)


In early modern Spain –I'm a late 16th century spanish historian– "bretón" means an individual with origins from "Bretaña" which is Brittany nowadays northwest France. I never found the use "breton" as galician or "gallego" in literary sources or documents but I worked mostly on southern Spain sources anyway.

In this period "breton" didn't mean that the person was born in Brittany instead of be part of the breton nation "nación bretona" or people from this background most of them merchants living outside Brittany. There were a lot of "bretones" living in Sanlúcar de Barrameda near Cadix in Spain in a special neighborhood with a street called "calle de los bretones". They used to trade salted cod and "bretañas" a type of cloth. Be careful with surnames and "bretones" they used to transform them to appear more "castilian". R. Girón — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:25, 14 January 2015 (UTC)