The preparations

This unpublished document, number 52, forms part of the cache of documents referring to Elkano recently discovered in the Laurgain Tower . Only a few words are legible, but we can deduce from them that, at the end of 1523, Carlos V ordered Juan Sebastián to gather as many of the men who had sailed with him on the Victoria as he could, and take them to Court. The motive is clear - the crown heads of Castile and Portugal had agreed on a meeting in order to settle the rights of each kingdom regarding the discoveries of the spice islands. The survivors from the Victoria would act as witnesses, and among them would be the men from Biscay, Juan de Arratia and Juan de Zubileta.

Between Badajoz and Elvas

Document number 53 commemorates the paraphernalia surrounding the meeting. Once the meeting had been called to order, it was Juan Sebastián's turn to speak. As captain of the Victoria, he accompanied his reasoning on behalf of Castilian interests, with a large globe which he used to explain the voyage of the Victoria, and to attempt to demonstrate that the islands fell within the boundaries of Castile. The Portugueses' angry response to Juan Sebastián is captured in the following document.

Zubileta´s testimony

In document 54, Juan de Zubileta states that he is from Baracaldo and is eighteen years old. The chronicler noted that Zubileta knew how to write, though not so Juan de Arratia, who was also called as a witness. The testimonies of both witnesses are identical, proving that the declarations had been prepared by the court.

The sentence

In favour of Castile.

At the end of the allotted time, the Spanish ruled for themselves in favour of Castile, while the Portuguese deemed the unilateral resolution to be null and void.

At risk. Weapons permit

This Emperor's Royal Writ, document number 56, is dated a few days before the end of the trial with the Portuguese, giving Juan Sebastián and another two people a permit to carry arms for self-defence. Juan Sebastián had requested this permit because he feared for his life. If we take heed of the date the writ was signed, then the hypothesis becomes more plausible that the risk alluded to by the captain was linked precisely to the possibility of the Portuguese seeking revenge.

The magnetic stone

The owner of the magnetic stone was one Sancho Gutiérrez, who had inherited it from his father.
Sancho did the job of magnetising needles by himself at home, and declared before a judge that he made an important amount of money by this, equivalent to 200,000 euros a year.

Masters and pilots of the Indies Colonial Convoy believed this stone to be one of a kind, saying that the needles it magnetised were perfect for navigation.
With the backing of the Contracting House, the stone was removed from its owner and deposited in the Contracting House, with the excuse of protecting it.
Sancho Gutierrez took them to court and won his case, getting his stone back. But a couple of years later it was stolen from his house.
The loss to navigators was such that King Felipe II signed a writ demanding the authorities in Seville do their utmost to retrieve the stone. We know nothing more of Sancho Gutiérrez or his stone.