The biggest biographies collection, in English

Biography of Juan de Cartagena (¿-1520)

Spanish sailor, born in Spain in date and place unknown and died at the port of San Julian (Argentina) in 1520.

He was sent by Bishop Fonseca in the expedition to the spices (Moluccas) Islands. He channeled the Spanish xenophobia towards the Portuguese and was one of the ringleaders of the mutiny of San Julián against Magallanes, reason by which was abandoned in the port, where should die.

The biography of this Navigator is unknown so far in which took part in Magellan's expedition to the Moluccas, which took at least four bred, mainly of Burgos, population which might be a native. Should have a great experience seafaring and great influence in the Clique indiana that ran the Bishop Fonseca, with which was related, reason by which is you named captain of it nao "San Antonio" and observer of it armed that started towards it spices. Herrera said that the mercy of being "Warden of the first fortress which is or is till in the lands that were going to search" had and appeared as a "joint person with Magellan" by Royal appointment of 30 March 1519. Other forty thousand and sixty thousand maravedís annual such fee were awarded by going as captain of the third ship. Soon after, sick the Portuguese cosmographer Ruy Faleiro, brother of Francisco Faleiro, the Emperor appointed instead Juan de Cartagena (July 26, 1519), with the same powers that the own Magellan. In fact, Cartagena seemed to have been a person of confidence of Fonseca and Emperor to counterbalance the huge Portuguese influence in the fleet of Magellan and channel the xenophobia of the Castilians to numerous Portuguese commanders of the expedition.

The fleet of the spices came from Sanlucar on August 10, 1519 and went to Tenerife, where it became watery. Out of the Canary Islands, Magellan ordered to head South, fourth Southwest, contrary to what had been agreed previously in Seville (heading South-West to 25 degrees). Cartagena was immediately faced with Magellan and told him that he could not change the voyage without any explanation to the captains, officers, masters and pilots of the Navy: "without making it so summarily", told him, and the truth is that Magellan should have consulted the change of course with Cartagena, as it was his Deputy at the abovementioned appointment. Magellan, however, was upset by this, and replied that the previous course had been set so that any ship of the fleet, lost thing which at the time didn't make any sense. New course forced the Navy to deal with twenty days of calm and then headwinds, with several storms. Despite all followed their defeat and passed between Cape Verde and its islands.

Arriving off the coast of Guinea came another incident between Magellan and Cartagena, because this greeted a day in a haughty manner the general, who is angered by this and replied that when addressed to him general captain called him. Cartagena and Magellan stopped greeting for three days. Magellan made then Board of captains and pilots in their ship, meeting which addressed the defeat that was followed and the greeting. The latter was not a trivial matter, as you might think, because it affects the authority of the General. There was a great discussion, in which Cartagena led him the contrary to Magallanes and this took to Cartagena by the chest and told him that prisoner would be given. Cartagena asked teammates to stop at the same time Magellan, but not gladly went along with him. As a result of this incident Cartagena it was prisoner in the custody of the Treasurer Luis de Mendoza and as captain of the "San Antonio" was appointed to counter Antonio Coca, who was then replaced by the nephew of Magallanes, Álvaro de Mezquita.

There were no further incidents during the rest of the Atlantic crossing, nor during the descent of the Brazilian and Argentine Coast. In March, 1520 Magellan took prisoner Juan de Cartagena of the supervision of the Treasurer Luis de Mendoza and gave it to Gaspar de Quesada, Captain of the nao "Conception". The 31st of the same month the fleet arrived to the port of San Julián, Patagonia, ready to Hibernate. It was where increased the hostility of many Spanish captains against Magellan.

The 1 of April, Sunday of Ramos, Magellan convened to their captains and pilots for go to a mass in Earth and then to eat to your ship. Wasn't Luis Mendoza, Gaspar de Quesada nor, obviously, Cartagena, who was in prison. That night was the mutiny. Gaspar de Quesada and Juan de Cartagena, accompanied by thirty men, went from the "conception" to the "San Antonio" and called on his captain Gaspar de Quesada that join them to require the fulfilment of orders to Magellan real or even arrest him, since they had lost and misguided paths. They demanded the surrender of Captain Álvaro's mosque and assured that they had the backing of the crew of the ship "Victoria".

Quesada agreed to join the rioters, but the master Juan de Elorriaga of the "San Antonio" objected, so their captain Quesada struck him in one arm of a slash. Mosque was imprisoned and Cartagena was named captain of the "conception". The crew of three rebel ships ("San Antonio", "Conception" and "Victory") established its headquarters in the "victory" and sent a note to Magallanes which called for it to happen to this ship to give account of the road map, since it could not act personally, without consulting them. In words of Navarrete "they sent to Magellan they had three ships and los bateles of the five available, to require compliance with the provisions of S. M.; they had done it so why not it maltratase them as he had verified it there; "that if you were to agree to what fulfilled at the service of S. M. would be to what you send them, and if until then gave him treatment of merced, in the forward they would be of Lordship and covertly you hands and feet". Magellan was warned of the riot and replied that he refused to go and asked if they had claims to do them is to know with the Treasurer Luis de Mendoza. So it was, but when Mendoza arrived in his presence and began to read claims he was murdered by order of the General. Then Magellan was able to seize the ship "Victoria" undid the mutiny, won control and delivered to Álvaro de Mezquita.

Magellan made a very summary trial, because if it had asked responsibilities all the rioters would have been without crew for the expedition. He took in the "conception" Juan de Cartagena and ordered to bring Earth to Mendoza, who was butchered after reading a proclamation which stated you traitor. Day 7 launched another similar proclamation, which ordered hadiy to Gaspar de Quesada and then butchering it. It also sentenced to stay ashore to Juan de Cartagena and the priest Pedro Sánchez de la Reina (to the latter on charges of trying to mutiny against the crew of the "San Antonio"). Finally forgave more than forty involved, as indicated Herrera "and although he found that more than forty men were worthy of death, forgave them, for having them expedient for Navy service, and because not thought that it should be rigorous and be seest with too much punishment". Juan of Cartagena should die shortly after in the same port of San Julian.


A viagem de Fernão de Magalhães e a questão das Maluku", in Actas do II Colloquium Luso-Spanish history overseas. (Lisbon: Board of scientific investigations do Ultramar, 1975).

FERNÁNDEZ DE NAVARRETE, Martín. Works of... (Madrid: B.A.E., tomo II, Madrid, 1964).

HERRERA, Antonio. History General facts of the Castilians in the Islands and mainland of the ocean sea. (Madrid: volumes IV and V, 1936).

PASTELLS, P. Paul and P. CONSTANTINO BAYLE, S. j.. The discovery of the Strait of Magellan. (Madrid: 2 vols., 1920).



Share this Biography

What do you think about this article? Share your opinion with us

Our friends websites