Testimony of Martín de Ayamonte

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We present here a list of the expedition of the first round the world told by one of its crew, the cabin boy of the nao Victoria Martín de Ayamonte.

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It is a located in Portugal, in the Archives National Torre do Tombo (Lisbon) under the Auto name das perguntas that fizeram to dois espanhois that chegaram Fortress Malaca vindos of Timor na Companhia de Alvaro de Juzarte, capit ã or document de um junco ( see original ) ; in Spanish,   Auto of the questions that were made to two Spaniards who arrived at the fortress of Malaca from Timor in the company of Álvaro Juzarte, captain of a junk.

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This document was discovered and transcribed in Portugal in 1933 by the Portuguese historian António Baião. Since then it has been published more times, the first being in Spanish, and the only one that we have news of, in the Chilean Journal of History and Geography , tom. 87 (year 1936) , according to the information kindly provided by the Austrian historian Christian Jostmann . Later, it was published again in Portugal (Neves Àguas) and in France (Xavier de Cartro).

In Spain it has not been published until now, and we do it here through the Internet and with free access for its wider dissemination.

Apart from this, for some reason that we cannot understand, it is a document that has gone very unnoticed by historiography as the indispensable source that it is. It contains an account of the expedition of the first round the world, of great importance because it came from one of its crew members, and because of the quantity and quality of the information that is provided in it. There are many examples of the forgetfulness suffered, which is irrelevant to relate, but this document has not been valued, so we must incorporate its information into the account of the trip known to all.

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The question of how it is possible that this testimony exists is answered by the document itself and by the history that we already knew about the expedition. From the Relation of the Dead we knew that on February 5, 1522, the cabin boy Martín de Ayamonte and the man-at-arms Bartolomé de Saldaña fled from the Nao Victoria "without being felt" on the island of Timor. the night (Accounts of payment to the crew AGI, Contaduría, 425, N.1, R.1). The document in question tells us that a short time later they were found there by a Portuguese ship, being transferred to the fortress of Malaca (present-day Malaysia), where Martín de Ayamonte was questioned about the way in which he had reached Timor. His testimony, taken on June 1, 1522, was drawn up in Portuguese by a scribe, and later ended in Lisbon.

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The history of the expedition cannot be told without bearing in mind this document, in which, for example, for the first time we know that Juan Sebastián de Elcano made his criteria for choosing the way back prevail over the position of his main officers. , the pilot Francisco Albo and the master Miguel de Rodas, supporters of opting for another route.

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The work published here is a translation into Spanish of this document, with explanatory comments, and has been carried out as a team by Braulio Vázquez Campos, from the General Archive of the Indies, Cristóbal Bernal Chacón, an expert in palaeography and in the history of the expedition, and by Tomás Mazón Serrano, author of this website.

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Map of the island of Timor by Antonio de Pigafetta.

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Naos_mapa2.jpg

Nao Victoria on Diego Ribero's world map from 1529.

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