Guam to welcome Spanish delegation marking 500th anniversary of Magellan circumnavigation

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The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration will welcome the Juan Sebastián de Elcano Spanish Navy ship to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation. This historical event is an opportunity to highlight the indigenous perspectives of the CHamoru people on the world stage.

The Juan Sebastián de Elcano Spanish Navy ship is scheduled to arrive on Guam on Friday, February 26, 2021. The Spanish delegation will include RDML Santiago Barber Lopez, Navy; Capt Carlos Mate San Roman, Navy; and Dr. Maria Saavedra Inaraja, PhD.

“It has been 500 years since our first experiences with colonization, and we must recognize both the challenges and opportunities that have come as a result of Magellan’s voyage to the Pacific. Our participation in this commemorative event marks a point in our history but, more importantly, is a step in our continued path towards decolonization,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “Participating in the commemoration of the circumnavigation and telling our story of the encounter with Magellan will ensure our people’s place in history as agents of our own political destiny.”

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

“Nothing can change our colonial history or undo the pain that history has caused the CHamoru people. But nations–like neighbors–can learn. We can be better, and we can ensure that the long and difficult journey towards freedom continues in our day,” said Governor Leon Guerrero.

A virtual press conference to provide more details on the delegation is scheduled for Thursday, February 25, 2021, at 1 p.m. Members of the media will be provided with Zoom link info. The press conference will be livestreamed on Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s Facebook page.

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