Ixtapa Zihuatanejo - History, Alvaro Saavedra y Ceron

Famous Navigators


(unknown) - 1529†

It is not known the exact date and place of birth but it is estimated that he was born in Spain at the end of the XV century. It is known that he was a cousin of Hernan Cortez to whom he accompanied on his trip to the New Spain (Mexico). Alvaro Saavedra y Ceron became one of the first European explorers of the Pacific Ocean.

It is said that during one of his explorations in the Pacific Ocean between 1525 and 1526 he reached Panama and he suggested that a connection to the Atlantic Ocean could be made at that point. Curiously enough, today the Panama Canal is located around the area he suggested almost 500 years ago.

When he departed from Zihuatanejo under orders of Hernan Cortez on October 31st. 1527, the main purpose of his mission was to find the ship Trinidad sent by Magellan and to aid the Armadas of Loaisa and Caboto who were considered lost near the Philippines and as secondary objective, to look for new lands in the so called South Sea.


The trip of Alvaro Saavedra y Ceron in the
Pacific Ocean after leaving Zihuatanejo

During this voyage he reached New Guinea and traveled along its north coast giving it the name of Golden Island and on October 3rd. of 1528, almost a year after leaving Zihuatanejo, he arrived at Moluccas Island with only one of his three ships.

This trip is really admirable because he was the first  to go across the whole Pacific Ocean and some historians compare it with the prowess of Columbus voyage through the Atlantic a few years before, however, he hasn't have a significant historical recognition for that feat.


What is believed to be a painting of the ship Espiritu Santo
(Holy Spirit) and in front the ship La Florida or Santiago

He made two attempts to return to New Spain (Mexico) but the strong winds took him back to the islands. During these failed attempts, he discovered the Carolinas, Mindanao, Marshall and Admiralty Islands, and traded water and supplies with the natives in his persistent effort to discover new lands and get back to Mexico.

In 1529 in his third attempt to return home (Zihuatanejo) they were caught by a very heavy storm and died in the shipwreck. According to some documents that refer to Alvaro Saavedra y Ceron, it is estimated that at the time of his death he was in the middle thirties.

There are not known paintings that represent him, although some historians speculate that because of his kinship with Hernan Cortez it might be among the hundreds of paintings that up to today they have not been able to identify who they are.

There are some doubts as to whether Spanish explorers arrived in the Hawaiian Islands two centuries before the first recorded visit by Capt. James Cook in 1778. A Hawaiian legend tells that many years before the arrival of Cook, white men were received by Chief Wakalana and if that's the case, there is the possibility that these people were crew members of one of the ships of Alvaro Saavedra y Ceron on their way to the Philippines.


One fact that suggests that the above could have been true, is that in the year 1743 Admiral George Anson captured the Spanish ship "Nuestra Señora de Covadonga" and he found in it, an old map showing a group of islands in the North Pacific (Hawaii) when supposedly no one knew yet of their existence.



Notice: If there is NO MENU on the left part of your screen, we recommend
entering our site the proper way to be able to browse all pages.  CLICK HERE

News Board