Setting sails

This painting depicts the departure from Seville and the start of the voyage to the Maluku Islands where spices were to be found. It was the 10th August 1519. On the 20th September the fleet headed out to sea at Sanlúcar.

A week later they arrived in Tenerife. After taking on more supplies, they sailed down the coast of Guinea and crossed the Atlantic for Brazil.


They arrived in Rio de Janeiro on the 13th December and were greeted by the friendly inhabitants, who gave the expedition fresh foodstuff, in return for trinkets and playing cards. A seven-year-old Guaraní boy went aboard to join the fleet. He was the son that Juan Sebastián's pilot, Carvalho, had fathered when he was in Janeiro doing business.

Río de Janeiro. Homosexuality

We can read Juan Sebastián's testimony concerning one of the masters, by the name of Salomón, who was accused of being homosexual. Magellan passed sentence and the master was executed.

Homosexuality in the Basque Country

The first sentence in Spain concerning female homosexuality was passed in San Sebastián. In 1503 Catalina de Belunce and Mache de Oyarzun were persecuted by the mayor of the city but, in spite of torturing them, he could not extract a confession from either of them, not even of a kiss or an embrace. As the mayor couldn't prove the crime, he banished them and expropriated all their property. However,
Catalina refused to give in. She appealed and was granted royal absolution and the mayor was obliged to pay damages.

In the same city of San Sebastián, five years before Magellan's expedition was to set sail from Seville, a similar case to master Salomón's came to court.

In this case, a Genovese master, Agostín Corço, was accused of having relations with a cabin-boy on his ship. He was tortured with fire but refused to admit carnal relations, though he did admit to kisses and embraces.

The sentence was the following:
I decree that I must pass sentence, and I sentence that Agostín Corço be taken from the public gaol on the back of a beast, and be paraded through the streets of this city to the call of the town-crier saying "This is the justice meted out by the Queen, Our Lady"; and that he be tied to a stake and burned to death.