Governor: Elcano visit an opportunity to articulate the CHamoru narrative

The Juan Sebastian de Elcano is a training ship for the Royal Spanish Navy. (US Navy file photo)

For Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, the visit of the Juan Sebastián de Elcano Spanish Navy ship provides an opportunity to express and articulate the CHamoru narrative and put Guam’s ancestors at the forefront of this event.

The Governor’s Office held a press conference Thursday afternoon announcing the imminent arrival of the Spanish Navy ship which is on its way to Guam as part of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation.

The Spanish Navy ship is scheduled to arrive on Guam, Friday, February 26.

The Juan Sebastián de Elcano Spanish Navy ship’s current expedition follows the original Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation of the globe.

According to the Governor’s Office, the voyage will take naval training sailing ships across the Atlantic to Argentina, through the Straits of Magellan, and across the Pacific Ocean, passing Guam and the Philippines on their way back to the Spanish port of Cádiz.

“For too long, our story has been framed by colonial powers. In these accounts, our ancestors were made to be seen as very passive. But we need to remember what our people accomplished before the Spanish contract. We had sophisticated material culture as shown through the Latte Stone and strong navigational skills as the first people to engage in migration over the open ocean,” Leon Guerrero said.

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The governor said, “We want to participate in this commemorative event because it marks a point in our history but is also a step in our continued path towards our decolonization.”

The governor said the Estoria ta Kumision was created by law to ensure Guam had a voice in the global commemoration of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world.

The visit to Guam is in advance of March 6, which is celebrated locally as Guam History and CHamoru Heritage Day and when explorer Ferdinand Magellan first made landfall on Guam.