Alvaro Mendana de Neira

Alvaro Mendana de Neira

Spanish navigator, discovered a number of islands in Oceania
Country: Spain

Content:
  1. Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra: A Spanish Navigator
  2. Although the expedition did not achieve its initial

Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra: A Spanish Navigator

Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra was a Spanish navigator who made significant discoveries in the Pacific Ocean during the 16th century. Born in the late 16th century, Mendaña embarked on two expeditions that proved to be vastly different experiences. In his first voyage in 1567, Mendaña was a young man with a compassionate soul, a gentle heart, and a strong will. However, his second voyage in 1595 found him as an aged man burdened with a large family, plagued by illness, and lacking in resolve. His wife, Doña Isabella, a powerful and stubborn woman, accompanied him on the expedition, and his brother-in-law, Lorenzo de Barreto, also joined the crew.

During the 1560s, Spanish voyages to the Pacific were launched from ports in Spain and Mexico. Information about the southern Pacific Ocean had been collected in Lima, the residence of the viceroys of Peru. In 1549, Viceroy Pedro de Gasca wrote to Carlos V, stating that the South Sea seemed to be dotted with numerous large islands, some of which may have valuable spices. The belief in the existence of these islands persisted during the Age of Discovery, as people hoped to find treasures and the legendary land of Ophir, where the riches of King Solomon were said to be hidden.

Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, a Spanish nobleman, sailor, engineer, and astronomer, was the creator of this other, more enticing version of the legend. He arrived in Lima in 1557 and learned of an interesting Peruvian legend during his travels. The legend spoke of an overseas expedition led by an Inca ruler, Tupac Yupanqui, who supposedly sailed with his army on large rafts to islands called Achachumbi and Niñachumbi. According to the legend, Tupac Yupanqui discovered and conquered these islands, bringing back black people and lots of gold, including a bronze throne, horse skin, and jawbones.

However, the legend of Tupac Yupanqui's expedition contained obvious fabrications. It was impossible for him to have brought a bronze throne or a horse jawbone from islands in the distant Pacific Ocean. Nonetheless, Sarmiento believed that the islands discovered by Tupac Yupanqui were located southwest of the Peruvian port of Callao, rather than northwest as previously believed. In mid-1567, Sarmiento presented his project for an expedition to the South Sea to Garcia de Castro, the ruler of Peru. However, the course of events did not unfold as Sarmiento had planned. Whether it was due to Garcia de Castro's lack of trust in a man condemned by the Inquisition or a desire to please his own relatives and friends, Garcia de Castro appointed his twenty-two-year-old nephew, Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra, as the leader of the expedition that was being prepared in Callao from July to October 1567.

Mendaña quickly gained experience in leading ships in open waters and possessed natural intelligence, courage, and tact. Garcia de Castro intentionally did not mention the islands once discovered by Tupac Yupanqui in his reports to the king. Instead, he emphasized the search for the treasures of King Solomon. However, there were skeptics in Lima and Madrid who doubted the success of the expedition. The chief fiscal of the vice-kingdom of Peru argued that Garcia de Castro's venture would be costly for the treasury. This was a valid and persuasive argument, but Garcia de Castro skillfully refuted the attacks of his opponents, supporting his arguments with references to the Bible, portraying his critics as unbelievers who doubted the revelations of Scripture. Sarmiento was included in the expedition as an additional pilot. The main pilot was Hernan Gallego, an experienced sailor who had spent ten years exploring the coasts of Peru and Chile.

Two ships were equipped for the expedition: the "Capitana" and the "Almiranta," with a displacement of 250 and 110 tons, respectively. Eighty sailors, seventy soldiers, four monks, and several African slaves were on board. Mendaña, Gallego, and Sarmiento led the crew of the "Capitana," while the "Almiranta" was commanded by Pedro de Ortega, an experienced soldier. Despite having a significant amount of weapons and ammunition, the ships were lacking in provisions and fresh water. Mendaña and Sarmiento believed that the voyage would be short, and no one expected that the crew would not see land for sixty-three days.

Several diaries and notes from participants of the voyage have been preserved. Mendaña, Gallego, Sarmiento, and the treasurer Gomes Catayra all recorded their experiences, with Catayra providing the most detailed account of the journey. On November 19, 1567, the ships left Callao and set a course to the west-southwest, following Sarmiento's plan. However, in early December, the course was changed, and the ships sailed directly west between 15° and 16° south latitude before heading northwest in mid-December.

At that time, Spanish navigators were aware that the southeast trade winds prevailed in the tenth latitudes of the southern hemisphere, and by utilizing these winds, they could make substantial progress westward in the South Sea. However, no one in the expedition could have predicted that, on this course, approximately at 130° west longitude, the ships would enter a wide passage between the Marquesas Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago. They passed through this passage in the third week of December.

Around 6° south latitude and 160° west longitude, Gallego changed the course to the west. The ships passed through the Candles Mays, a chain of low islands, which was likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candle Mays islands clearly indicated the proximity of the hitherto unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

From here, the expedition continued westward and discovered a series of low islands and reefs on February 1, which were named the Candelaria Shoals (likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands). After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

Continuing westward, the expedition discovered the Candelaria Shoals on February 1, a chain of low islands and reefs, which were likely the Ontong Java Atoll to the north of the Solomon Islands. After seventy-four days, the ships had traveled a tremendous distance of at least 2,000 miles, putting them 8,000 miles away from Callao. The Solomon Islands were expected to be found in the following days, and failure to locate them would result in disgrace for the expedition. The Candelaria Shoals clearly indicated the proximity of the unknown lands, and if these lands were inhabited, every participant in the expedition would swear with a clear conscience that they were the islands of King Solomon.

On February 2, 1568, in the morning, the lookout from the masthead of the Capitana spotted land. Mendaña named this small island the Island of Jesus. It was located on the border between the western and eastern hemispheres, in the Ellis archipelago. It was estimated to be 1,500 miles from New Guinea. The Ellis Islands were part of the Melanesian island "galaxy," inhabited by dark-skinned, kinky-haired people who were closely related to the Papuan people of New Guinea.

The expedition continued to explore the region, discovering more islands such as Santa Isabel, Malaita, Guadalcanal, and San Cristobal. They encountered challenges such as hostile encounters with the local inhabitants and harsh living conditions. Despite these difficulties, Mendaña persevered and established a settlement on Guadalcanal, where they stayed for several months.

In August, discontent among the crew grew, and Mendaña's plan to continue searching for new lands was rejected. Instead, the decision was made to return to Peru. The journey back was challenging, with the crew facing hunger, sickness, and storms. However, they eventually reached the Mexican port of Colima in January 1569.

Although the expedition did not achieve its initial

© BIOGRAPHS