The year 2022 will mark the 500th anniversary of the notion mankind had about itselfand the world in which it lived five centuries ago: a small sailing ship had succeeded in sailing around the globe. Just one of the five ships that set out on the journey made it; less than twenty men out of the 240 sailors that left in 1519. The task took about three years, so 2019 will in turn mark the 500th anniversary since those ships sailed from San Lucar de Barrameda in Southern Spain to circumnavigate the globe.
It was an unprecedented challenge until man set foot on the moon, the main difference being that those sailors were not certain that their enterprise was feasible. Their voyage confirmed what until then had been a mere conjecture: that the Earth was spherical. It also provided mankind with an idea of its real size. Getting to know the Pacific Ocean, its currents and winds was very expensive in terms of lives and resources, but the world thereafter changed significantly. Despite the fact that vast territories remained to be discovered and thousands of peoples and cultures were still unknown, the world was one, physically limited and thus reachable.
The NAO Victoria, the ship that accomplished the feat, returned to harbor under the command of Juan Sebastián Elcano, a sailor from Getaria, Gipuzkoa (the Basque Country). Along with him 17 other sailors returned, men from 3 different nationalities: 14 Spaniards, 3 Italians and 1 Greek.