Francisco Albo

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Francisco Albo was a boatswain and navigator of Ferdinand Magellan’s ship Trinidad. After the death of the Portuguese, he became the pilot of the Victoria under the command of [[Juan Sebastián del Cano|Juan Sebastián Elcano]], becoming one of the first persons to circumnavigate the world. His logbook of the voyage was utilized by scholars and subsequent navigators in their reconstructions of the route of the circumnavigation.

Circumnavigation

Albo was from the island of Rhodes in Greece. With knowledge on Portuguese discoveries in the art of navigation, Albo started as Trinidad’s boatswain. The first entry in his log was on 29 November 1519–two months after the voyage began. He kept it only as far as the Cape Verde Islands on the return voyage. It was the only extant account with navigational data: daily entries of the course of the Victoria, latitude readings, and islands encountered. According to Lord Stanley who translated it from a manuscript in the British Museum, this logbook is valuable as it helped to fix the position of the “Unfortunate Islands,” and because it established that the island of Amsterdam in the Indian Ocean was discovered by the Victoria.

Albo kept a log of the voyage, the Diario ó derrotero. This was published in Martín Fernández de Navarrete’s Colección de los viages y descubrimientos que hicieron por mar los españoles desde fines del siglo XV (Collection of the voyages and discoveries made by the Spaniards since the late 15th century).

Despite criticisms, Albo’s logbook was utilized by scholars as a take-off point for the reconstructions of the route of the circumnavigation. Maximilianus Transylvanus (Maximilian of Transylvania) was the author of De Moluccis Insulis, the first printed account of the circumnavigation. It was written in the form of a letter dated 23 October 1522. Maximilian was a student of Peter Martyr and together, they used the accounts of Juan Sebastián Elcano, Francisco Albo, and Hernando de Bustamante to appear before Charles V to give their account of the voyage.


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