Bernardo de la Torre

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Bernardo de la Torre was a Spanish sailor, primarily noted for having explored parts of the Western Pacific Ocean south of Japan in the 16th century.


Bernardo de la Torre sailed under the instructions of Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, who sent him in August 1543 on board of the San Juan de Letran (St. John of Lateran) to try to find a return route to the Mexican Western coast from the Philippines.

This was the fourth such failed attempt[1] to find the route that would be known as the Manila galleon once it was finally established in 1565. De la Torre reached 30°N but then, like his predecessors, was forced back by storms.[1]

In the course of his journey, De la Torre sighted for the first time some islets like modern-day Okinotorishima (which he named Parece Vela[2]) and, possibly, Marcus Island[1][3] along some of the Bonin Islands (which he called Islas del Arzobispo, "Archbishop Islands") including Chichijima (which he called Farfama[4]) and the Volcano Islands subarchipelago[5] (which he called Los Volcanes[6]) which include the island of Iwo Jima.

His explorations, among others, were mentioned in Juan de Gaetano's chronicle of his own exploration, entitled Viaje a las Islas de Poniente[2] ("Voyage to the Islands towards the West", 1546).


According to some sources, Bernardo de la Torre was the person who changed the name of what used to be known as Islas de Poniente ("Islands towards the West"[1]) to Felipinas or Philippines, to honour then Prince of Asturias and subsequent Spanish King Philip II of Spain.[7] Other sources credit Villalobos instead.[1]

De la Torre was the first European to circumnavigate Mindanao and, in general, added a great deal to European knowledge of the Islas de Poniente.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Two failures: Grijalva and Villalobos". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  3. ^ "IngentaConnect Was Marcus Island discovered by Bernardo de la Torre in 1543?". 2006-06-16. doi:10.1080/00223340410001684886. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  4. ^ "Viaje de 1755 del Galeón "Santísima Trinidad"". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  5. ^ "España y el pacífico: un breve repaso a las expediciones españolas du" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  6. ^ Early mapping of the Pacific: the ... - Google Books. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  7. ^ "Ruy López de Villalobos — MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31.