García Jofre de Loaísa

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García Jofre de Loaísa (c. 1490–1526), was a Spanish friar who is that time the head of Order of Saint John before he was designed by King Charles I of Spain to lead an expedition, known as the Loaísa expedition. It was in 1525 when the expedition was sent by the Western route to colonize the Spice Islands in the East Indies, thus crossing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There were more than 450 men aboard, including all kind of trades and administrative staff, intended to establish a permanent Spanish ruling in those lands. Loaísa was appointed to be the governor of Moluccas if the expedition will be successful. This expedition was the first Spanish attempt to take advantage of its discovery of Strait of Magellan in 1520.

The Expedition

After the failure of Magellan's expedition in searching the Spice Islands, the next attempt was the Loaisa Expedition. During the expedition, the fleet was composed of seven ships - the Sta. Maria de la Victoria, Espiritu Santo, Anunciada, San Gabriel, Sta. Maria del Parral, San Lesmes and Santiago. These ships were of different capacity, strength and speed. Fray Garcia Jofre de Loaisa, a commander of the order of St. John, was appointed captain-general of the fleet now fitting out at Corunna for the Moluccasor Spice Islands, and governor of those islands. His powers are outlined, being such as were usually given in such expeditions.

The fleet departed from Corruna in July 24, 1525. In January 1526, the five ships reached Patagonian shores while two of the ships has lost contacts with the others. In the following weeks, two ships were wrecked due to tremendous winds. The other one was tacked to the Atlantic Ocean and deserted from expedition. The remaining four ships, which at that time had a very bad condition, reached Pacific Ocean in the middle of May, just to be again dispersed. San Lesmes was disappeared. The ship Santiago was set course to the North and in astonishing 10,000 kilometers sailing reached the Pacific coast of Mexico in July 1526. Santa Maria de Parral crossed the Pacific and reached Celebes, where it was wrecked. Survivors of the shipwreck were either killed or enslaved by the natives of the island. Santa Maria de la Victoria, were the only one to reach the Spice Islands in September 1526.

Outcome

The expedition was a failure. Loaisa died on July 30, 1526, Elcano died a few days later, and other successive chiefs of the expedition died while crossing the Pacific Ocean. Only Andrés de Urdaneta and 24 other men survived to land in the Spice Islands, just to be caught by the Portuguese, who had gone there from their outposts in the East Indies. Eventually, Urdaneta and a few of his fellows managed to return to Spain in 1528 and complete the second world circumnavigation in history.

In an investigation concerning matters connected with Loaisa's expedition, Juan de Mazuecos declared (September 7, 1534) that Loaisa had died of sickness, four hundred leagues from the Strait of Magellan; and that all who ate at his table had died within the space of forty days. After the death of Loaisa, the position was passed unto Juan Sebastian Elcano. Elcano was with the 1519-1521 Magellan expedition, who had completed it by returning to Europe via Cape of Good Hope and was the first to circumnavigate the world but was also died just a few days after.

Though Loaisa expedition was a failure, it resulted in further Age of Discovery explorations and it produced some unprecedented sailing achievements in the point of view of History.

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