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Isla de las Palmeras

In August of 1543 , Villalobos sent Bernardo de la Torre in the San Juan de Letran on what was to beome the fourth unsuccessful Spanish attempt  to sail eastward across the Pacific (Fig, 14). The San Juan sailed from the Sarangani Islands, via Leyte and Samar, north and eastward through the central Marianas and the Volcano Islands and reached latitude 30° N, on October 18 before adverse winds forced a return to the Philippines. The three islands in latitudes 16° and 17° N. named Abreojos (Abriojos) and Las Dos Hermanas probably were the Farallon de Medinilla, Anatahan, and Sariguan. The three islands in latitudes 24° and 25° N., one of which had a volcano with three active vents, undoubtedly were the Volcano Islands which include Iwo-jima. Another island  seen on an eastwardly track in about latitude 26° N. probably was Marcus Island.

                A littled-noted fact  concerning the voyage of the San Juan is that on its return voyage under De La Torre it was the first Europen ship to use the San Bernardino Strait. Furthermore, it was the first to pass through the San Juanico Strait between Samar and Leyte, and was also the first to circumnavigate Mindanao, Early in 1544, before the return to the Sarangani Islands, the San Juan, somewhere to the east of Mindanao, discovered an island covered with coconut palm trees which led to the appearance on many maps of an Isla de Palmas or Isla de las Palmeras. Possibly this island was Siargao.
                By the time of the return of the San Juan, Villalobos had moved to Tidore. In May of 1545, the San Juan was sent out again, now I
ñigo Ortiz de Retes, to attempt a more southern route to New Spain. Going by way of the Pulau Pulau Talaud and Kepulauan Schouten, the San Juan coasted New Guinea for several months and apparently reached a point between latitudes 4° and 5° S. before contrary winds and currents forced a return to Tidore (Fig. 14). Many islands were encountered, to some of which names were given, and several can be identified with islands visited by the expeditions of Saavedra 1529, and Grijalva 1537-38. On June 20, 1545, at the San Antonio River (probably Mamberamo) in latitude 2° S., possession was taken for Spain of the great island which was given the name of Nueva Guinea.

Read more:

European Entry into the Pacific: Spain and the Acapulco-Manila Galleons by Dennis O. Flynn ,
Arturo Giráldez

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