Martín Ignacio de Loyola

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Martín Ignacio Martínez de Mallea, known as Martín Ignacio de Loyola, (c.1550 in Eibar, Gipuzkoa, Spain – 1606 in Buenos Aires[1][2][3][4]) was a Franciscan friar, best known for his two travels around the world in 1580-1584 and 1585-1589, being the first person to complete the world circumnavigation twice, and for his missionary effort in China.

Taking in account his two world circumnavigations and his two trips from Europe to South America, Loyola was probably the most widely traveled man in History up to the 17th century.

He was a grandnephew of Ignatius of Loyola, and was ordained a priest in Alaejos in 1572.

Circumnavigations of the world[edit]

In both of his travels Loyola took advantage of Spain and Portugal being united under the crown of Philip II of Spain.

First circumnavigation: 1582-1584[edit]

Loyola's first circumnavigation was made in a westerly direction.

Departing Cadiz on 21 June 1582, he sailed for the Canary Islands, then crossed the Atlantic to La Désirade, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo, to arrive in San Juan de Lúa (modern Veracruz), in México. After crossing to the Pacific Ocean coast of Mexico at Acapulco he sailed once again in a westerly direction, visiting the Mariana Islands, and the Philippines, before eventually reaching the Empire of China, where he landed in Fujian province. There he and his companions were considered to be spies and were sent to Guangzhou. After a year they were set free and sent to Macau.[5] After travelling on to Japan, he departed once again in a westerly direction to return to Europe at Lisbon via the Straits of Malacca, Portuguese India, the Cape of Good Hope and Saint Helena.

Loyola's account of his first journey around the world was first published in Rome in 1586, included in Juan González de Mendoza's Historia de las cosas más notables, ritos y costumbres del gran reyno de la China.

Second circumnavigation: 1585-1589[edit]

Loyola's second circumnavigation was made in an easterly direction.

It is not clear how or when Loyola made his eastward journey to China; anyway in 1587, from Macau, China, Loyola continued eastward across the Pacific Ocean to Acapulco, Mexico,[6] in a ship commanded by Pedro de Unamuno. From there he crossed Mexico to Veracruz, from where he finally set sail across the Atlantic to Spain.

Other journeys[edit]

In 1595, six years after his second return to Spain, he went to Paraguay, that he reached via Panama, Peru, Chile, whose Spanish governor by then, Martín García de Loyola, was his cousin, and Río de la Plata.

He went back to Spain again in 1600 and returned to Paraguay in 1603, this time as Bishop of Asunción. He had been consecrated as such in Valladolid by Juan Bautista Acevedo Muñoz, Bishop of Valladolid, the year before.[7]

Other comparable early globe-spanning journeys and travelers[edit]

  • 1551-(d.1557) - Bernardo, the Japanese; the first Japanese to visit Europe; travelled westward from Japan, via India and Portugal, to Rome and other European destinations; died in Portugal, at the start of his return to Japan.
  • 1582-1590 - Tenshō embassy; Japanese embassy to Europe; travelled westward, from Japan, via India and Portugal, to Rome and other European destinations; and eastward, back to Japan.
  • (b.1564)-(d.1620) - William Adams; an Englishman who, after journeying to Japan via the Straits of Magellan and the Pacific Ocean, spent the last 20 years of his life living in Japan and trading extensively in the Far East.
  • 1600-(d.1624) - Luis Sotelo Spanish priest; travelled to the Philippines and Japan, then travelled with the Keichō embassy to Europe, and back to Japan; murdered in Japan.
  • 1614-1620 - the Keichō Embassy led by Hasekura Tsunenaga in the Japanese warship Date Maru, known to the Spanish as San Juan Bautista; Pacific Ocean, Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, Europe, and back to Japan by a similar route.
  • 1670-1679 - Pedro Cubero; Spanish priest; eastward circumnavigation of the world; travelled by both land and sea from Europe via Russia, Iran, India, China, and Mexico, back to Europe.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Raúl A. Molina: Fray Martín Ignacio de Loyola: cuatro obispo del Paraguay y Río de la Plata (1603-1606). Ediciones Jura, 1953 (online at Google Books).
  2. ^ Charles E. O'Neill, Joaquín María Domínguez (eds.): Diccionario histórico de la Compañía de Jesús. Band 1: AA-Costa Rica. Univ. Pontifica de Comillas, 2001, ISBN 84-8468-037-1, p. 109 (online).
  3. ^ Iglesia del Paraguay: 1er. Período de 1547 a 1620
  4. ^ William Shurtleff, Akiko Aoyagi: History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Southeast Asia. Soyinfo Center, 2010, ISBN 978-1-928914-30-3, S. 17 (online).
  5. ^ "Macao as the non-entry point to China: The case of the Spanish Dominican missionaries (1587-1632)" (PDF). International Conference on The Role and Status of Macao in the Propagation of Catholicism in the East. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  6. ^ The characters on the galleon Esperanza
  7. ^ "Bishop Martín Ignacio de Loyola" David M. Cheney. Retrieved February 29, 2016.


External links[edit]