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Guayaquil and the V centenary of a universal journey

Guayaquil, Dec 6 (EFE) .- The city of Guayaquil evoked this Sunday the “universal” legacy of the first circumnavigation of the Earth in a cultural day organized by the Spanish Embassy in Ecuador on the occasion of the V Centenary of that epic and the arrival from the Juan Sebastián Elcano School Ship to this port. “The feat that would surpass many of its protagonists 500 years ago, becoming an epic of as important as the arrival of man on the Moon in 1969, because it had an enormous historical, scientific, economic and cultural impact,” said the Spanish ambassador in Ecuador, Carlos Abella and de Arístegui. When inaugurating the event at the Anthropological and Contemporary Art Museum (MAAC) in the coastal city, the diplomat recalled that the expedition was the starting point of “a process of globalization by which humanity became aware of the universality for the first time. “. Marked by the arrival of the School Ship on Saturday, for the first time in a decade and within the framework of an eleven-month journey to commemorate the deeds of Fernando de Magallanes and Elcano, Spain wanted Guayaquil to approach the era of the great discoveries of the sixteenth century, which would mark the course of the city yet to be born. Because neither Magallanes nor Elcano ever knew of Chonos, Punaes, Huancavilcas and so many other tribes of the Guayas basin, much less of an equatorial lands that, at the time of the circumnavigation (1519-1522), had not even been discovered by Francisco Pizarro. . GUAYAQUIL: THE PEARL OF THE PACIFIC Which reduces the importance that it would end up having for the main port of Ecuador, a fact such as the discovery of the interoceanic passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific. “This is a trip that has a global impact,” Ecuadorian historian Sabrina Guerra told EFE, who today presented, together with the Spanish ambassador, the second volume of the collection “Enigmas of the Americas”, entitled “The search of the interoceanic passage “. It abounds in that “then there were other trips that explored the Pacific”, which from then on “is inserted into the cartography, economy and global perspective.” That book, a historical exhibition and a peculiar play based on the chronicles of the Italian Antonio de Pigafetta, who accompanied the two discoverers, tried to recover a past that has been crucial for Guayaquil, despite not having been stepped on. And is that if Christopher Columbus demonstrated with his travels that the Earth was round, circumnavigation is for the Spanish María Elena Mexía “the journey” where Europe discovers that “the world is already inhabited.” “As they travel and get to know civilizations, they realize that everyone had their culture, their communities, some – as in the Philippines – with very advanced civilizations,” he highlights. A stage director who has lived in Ecuador for more than a decade, Mexía wrote the theatrical script for Pigafetta’s chronicles, for which, she says, a new genre has been “invented”: “period documentary theater.” “The chronicles were for me a burden of humanity,” he explains about the need to “evoke” in his work a world then “unknown” and that forces to start from that point. With just three actors, two of them mestizos of indigenous appearance to evoke what was then “unknown”, and one main, the veteran Alfredo Espinosa in the role of the Italian chronicler, the play “Chronicles of an unknown world” summarizes the expedition’s experiences 500 years ago. Voice-overs and a dialogue that revolves around several crucial dates and the description of the landscapes described by Pigafetta, recreate the departure of five ships and 237 men from Seville, on August 10, 1519, and the return on September 8. from 1522 of a single ship, the “Victoria”, and 18 surviving sailors. His message is “essentially force and will”, summarizes Espinosa when evaluating a work about the first “globalization”. “Carrying out a feat with such a strong and powerful level of commitment in what they do,” he insists. TRIBUTE TO GUAYAQUIL Between March and April, Guayaquil was one of the cities hardest hit in the world by the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of infections in a short space of time that made the health system collapse and caused thousands of deaths, many of them not accounted for by statistics. A tragic episode that has justified the choice by the Spanish Navy of this Ecuadorian coastal city as a stopover to transfer the midshipmen from the XCIII training cruise to the School Ship. More than 60 people, most of them seafarers in training and some teachers, are expected to arrive late in the day by plane from Spain and board the Juan Sebastián Elcano. Under strict measures to avoid contagion on the ship, whose crew will remain confined for eleven months of the voyage, a ceremony is scheduled for Monday after which the ship will lift anchor to Acapulco, from where it will continue to places such as Guam, the Philippines or Indonesia, stopovers from a journey into what 500 years ago was unknown terrain. Elías L. Benarroch (c) EFE Agency

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