Victoria (ship)

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Replica of Victoria, built in 1992, visiting Nagoya, Japan, for Expo 2005
Crown of Spain
NamesakeSanta Maria de la Victoria
OwnerCrown of Spain
FateDisappeared en route to Seville from the Antilles, 1570 [1]
NotesFirst ship to circumnavigate the globe.
General characteristics
Class and typeCarrack
Tonnage85 tons
Length18 to 21 m (59 to 69 ft)

Victoria or Nao Victoria (Spanish for "Victory") was a carrack famed as the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world.[2] Victoria was part of the Spanish expedition to the Moluccas (now Indonesia's Maluku Islands) commanded by the explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

The carrack (Spanish: nao) was built at a Basque shipyard in Ondarroa. Along with the four other ships, she was given to Magellan by King Charles I of Spain (later Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire). Victoria was an 85-tonel ship[a] with an initial crew of about 42. The expedition's flagship and Magellan's own command was the carrack Trinidad. The other ships were the carrack San Antonio, the carrack Concepción, and the caravel[5] Santiago.

The expedition began from Seville on 10 August 1519 with five ships and entered the ocean at Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain on September 20. However, only two of the ships reached their goal in the Moluccas. Thereafter, Victoria was the only ship to complete the return voyage, crossing uncharted waters of the Indian Ocean under Juan Sebastián de Elcano's command to sail around the world. She returned to Sanlúcar on 6 September 1522.[6]

Victoria was later repaired, bought by a merchant shipper and sailed for almost another fifty years before being lost with all hands on a trip from the Antilles to Seville in about 1570.[1]


The Victoria was named after the Minim convent of Our Lady of Victory of Triana (Spanish: Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Victoria de Triana [es]) in Seville, where Magellan took his oath of allegiance to Charles I.[6] The convent was subsequently deconsecrated during the French occupation of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars and later demolished.


A detail from a map of 1590 showing Victoria

While agreeing on its Basque origin, for a long period the vessel was thought to have been constructed in Zarautz, next to Elcano's home town Getaria. However, research conducted by local historians has revealed that the nao Victoria was built at the shipyards of Ondarroa in Biscay. It was originally called Santa Maria, owned by Domingo Apallua, a ship pilot, and his son, Pedro Arismendi.[7]

According to a notarial document dating from 1518, the ship had been used in previous years for trade between Castile and England. Royal Castilian officials bought the ship at a set price of 800 gold ducats, a figure at odds with the estimation on the ship's real value provided by the accountant of Magellan's expedition, and accepted by the owners only against their will.[7] The ship was renamed Victoria by Magellan after the chapel he frequented on his prayers in Seville, the Santa María de la Victoria.[7]


The voyage started with a crew of about 265 men aboard five ships, however only 18 men returned alive on Victoria, while many others had deserted. Many of the men died of malnutrition. At the beginning of the voyage, Luis de Mendoza was her captain. On 2 April 1520, after establishing a settlement in Puerto San Julian in Patagonia, a fierce mutiny involving three captains broke out but was ultimately quelled.[8] Antonio Pigafetta's and other reports state that Luis de Mendoza and Gaspar Quesada, captain of Concepcion, were executed and their remains hung on gallows on the shore.[8][9]

Juan de Cartagena, captain of San Antonio, was marooned on the coast. According to Pigafetta, after Magellan's death on 27 April 1521, at the Battle of Mactan, remnants of the fleet tried to retrieve his body without success. Thereafter, Duarte Barbosa, a Portuguese man who had sided with Magellan in facing the mutiny, and João Serrão were elected leaders of the expedition. On 1 May 1521, they were invited by Rajah Humabon of Cebu to a banquet ashore to receive a gift for the king of Spain. At the banquet, most of the crew were killed or poisoned, including Duarte Barbosa and João Serrão, whom the natives wanted to exchange for Western weapons, but was left behind by the remaining crew. Pilot João Carvalho, who had survived the trap, then became the captain of Victoria. In August, near Borneo he was deposed and Juan Sebastián Elcano became captain for the remainder of the expedition.

Returning crew[edit]

Out of an initial crew of 260 people, only 18 returned to Seville with the Victoria. This was due to a scarcity in food, and a deadly outbreak of scurvy.[10] Others had sailed back with the Santiago, which deserted near the Strait of Magellan. Yet others would return in the following months and years after having been made prisoner by the Portuguese.

They were:

Name Rating Nationality Hometown
Juan Sebastián Elcano Master Basque Getaria
Francisco Albo Pilot Greek Chios
Miguel de Rodas Pilot Gallician Tui
Juan de Acurio Pilot Basque Bermeo
Antonio Lombardo (Pigafetta) Supernumerary Venetian Vicenza
Martín de Judicibus Chief Steward Genoese Genoa
Hernándo de Bustamante Mariner Castillian Alcántara
Nicholas the Greek Mariner Greek Nafplion
Miguel Sánchez Mariner Basque Tui
Antonio Hernández Colmenero Mariner Basque Ayamonte
Francisco Rodrigues Mariner Portuguese Seville
Juan Rodríguez Mariner Castillian Huelva
Diego Carmena Mariner Gallician Baiona
Hans of Aachen Gunner German Aachen
Juan de Arratia Able Seaman Basque Bilbao
Vasco Gómez Gallego Able Seaman Gallician Baiona
Juan de Santandrés Apprentice Seaman Castillian Cueto
Juan de Zubileta Page Basque Barakaldo

Three of these survivors left written records. Elcano wrote a letter to the Emperor on the very day of his return with a brief summary of the trip, and provided additional information to authors such as Maximilianus Transylvanus.[11] Francisco Albo kept a log book with the ship's positional data for every day of sailing.[12] Antonio Pigafetta wrote a detailed first-person account of the voyage. His work, which he began compiling in 1522, was partially published in France around 1525 under the title "Le voyage et nauigation".[13][14]


The long circumnavigation began in Seville in 1519 and returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda on 6 September 1522, after sailing 68,000 kilometres (42,000 mi), 35,000 kilometres (22,000 mi) of which was largely unknown to the crew. On 21 December 1521, Victoria sailed on from Tidore in Indonesia alone because the other ships left the convoy due to lack of rations. The ship was in terrible shape, with her sails torn and only kept afloat by continuous pumping of water. Victoria managed to return to Spain with a shipload of spices, the value of which was greater than the cost of the entire original fleet.[6]

Victoria was later repaired, bought by a merchant shipper and sailed for almost another fifty years before being lost with all hands on a trip from the Antilles to Seville in about 1570.[1]

1992 replica of Nao Victoria during "Escale à Sète 2016" in Sète, Hérault, France
2011 replica of Nao Victoria built in Punta Arenas, Chile


The Victoria was depicted in many sixteenth-century maps such as the Salviati planisphere or Abraham Orterlius's map of the Pacific Ocean.

A vignette of the Victoria forms the logo of the Hakluyt Society, a London-based text publication society founded in 1846, which publishes scholarly editions of primary records of historic voyages, travels and other geographical material. The logo appears on the cover of all the Society's published volumes.


A replica of the ship was built in 1992 for the Universal Expostion of that year in Seville. It is now operated by the Fundación Nao Victoria.[15] To commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the first circumnavigation, the Fundación Nao Victoria, commissioned a second replica of the nao from the Palmas de Punta Umbría shipyards, which was launched on February 11, 2020, with the destination of becoming a permanent exhibition next to the Torre del Oro.[16] The replica arrived in Seville on March 9, 2020.[17]

In 2006, to celebrate the Bicentennial of Chile, an entrepreneur from Punta Arenas founded a project to build another replica of the ship.[18] The search for the original plans[clarification needed] of Nao Victoria took longer than expected and the project was delayed by almost three years, from 2006 to 2009. The replica was finally completed by 2011. Although it was not possible to complete the project in time for the celebration of the bicentennial in 2010, the project’s creator received a Presidential Medal from the President of Chile.[19]


  • Bergreen, Laurence (2009). Over the Edge of the World. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061865886.
  • Joyner, Tim (1992). Magellan. International Marine. OCLC 25049890.
  • Walls y Merino; et al., eds. (1899), Primer Viaje Alrededor del Mundo... (PDF) (in Spanish), Madrid{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link).
  • "Ferdinand Magellan and the First Circumnavigation of the World". Age of Exploration. The Mariners' Museum. Retrieved 28 April 2008.


  1. ^ Note that many English sources such as Joyner[3] provide these numbers calqued as "tons" without converting their values from the actual unit, the Biscayan tonel ("tun"). At the time of Magellan's voyage, this tonel was reckoned as 1.2 toneladas,[4] giving the Victoria a capacity of roughly 102 toneladas,[4] 145 , 5100 cu. ft., or 51 English shipping tons.


  1. ^ a b c Bergreen, Laurence (2003). "XV – After Magellan". Over the Edge of the World. New York: HarperCollins. p. 413. ISBN 0-06-621173-5. Little Victoria, the first ship to complete a circumnavigation, had her own curious epilogue. No one thought to preserve the battered vessel as a testament of Magellan's great achievement. Instead, she was repaired, sold to a merchant for 106,274 maravedis, and returned to service, a workhorse of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. As late as 1570, she was still plying the Atlantic. En route to Seville from the Antilles, she disappeared without a trace; all hands on board were lost. It is assumed that she encountered a mid-Atlantic storm that led to her sinking, her wordless epitaph written on the restless waves.
  2. ^ "Victoria ship". Archived from the original on 2022-10-03. Retrieved 2022-10-03.
  3. ^ Joyner 1992, p. 93.
  4. ^ a b Walls y Merino (1899), Annex 3, p. 174.
  5. ^ Bergreen, Laurence (2004). "Over the Edge of the World Summary by Michael McGoodwin". Archived from the original on 2015-07-03. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  6. ^ a b c Delaney, John (2010). "Fernão de Magalhães, d. 1521 (Ferdinand Magellan)". Strait Through: Magellan to Cook & the Pacific. Princeton University. Archived from the original on 20 July 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Madrid Gerona, Danilo. "The Ships of Magellan's Armada". Sevilla 2019-2022. Archived from the original on 2023-01-29. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  8. ^ a b Murphy, Patrick J.; Coye, Ray W. (2013). Mutiny and Its Bounty: Leadership Lessons from the Age of Discovery. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300170283. Archived from the original on 2015-06-27. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  9. ^ J., C.; Benson, E. F. (1930), "Ferdinand Magellan", Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 75, New Advent, p. 191, Bibcode:1930GeogJ..75..191J, doi:10.2307/1784134, JSTOR 1784134, archived from the original on 13 January 2007, retrieved 14 January 2007
  10. ^ "Mutiny and Its Bounty". Yale University Press. Archived from the original on 2024-02-12. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  11. ^ "READINGS IN PHILIPPINE HISTORY ACTIVITY A Pigafetta Transylvanus". Archived from the original on 2024-01-10. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  12. ^ "Log-Book of Francisco Alvo or Alvaro". Wikisource. Archived from the original on 2019-04-16. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  13. ^ "The Transmission and Bibliographic Study of the Pigafetta Account". Revistes UB. Archived from the original on 2024-01-10. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  14. ^ "Pigafetta: Eyewitness to birth of Christianity in PH". Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2023-09-15. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  15. ^ "Nao Victoria". Fundación Nao Victoria. Archived from the original on 3 September 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  16. ^ "La nueva réplica de la Nao Victoria es botada hoy en Punta Umbría". Huelva información. 11 February 2020. Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  17. ^ "La réplica de la Nao Victoria llega a Sevilla para convertirse en un museo permanente". La Razón. 9 March 2020. Archived from the original on 10 March 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  18. ^ Atlas Vivo de Chile – Nao Victoria Archived 2018-09-24 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved August 19, 2013
  19. ^ "Presidente Sebastian Pinera expreso compromiso..." Radio Natales (in Spanish). 16 August 2010. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.