Friday, June 3, 2011


OK, so that's Tom Hanks and he didn't desert; his plane crashed.

Gonzalo de Vigo intentionally jumped ship - one of Magellan's ships - at Guam.  Two others, Portuguese, did the same as Gonzalo, who was a Spaniard from the town of Vigo in Galicia.  The year - 1521.

When one considers that over 200 men in Magellan's fleet - including Magellan himself - died on the journey because of hunger, disease and war, one can see why the expedition was plagued with mutiny, desertions and rebellion, and why Gonzalo and his companions were tempted to remain on Guam.  Before reaching Guam, Magellan's ships had not sighted land for a long time and were starving.  What guarantee did Gonzalo have that, after leaving Guam, they would not perish sailing an unknown ocean?

Gonzalo and the two Portuguese were thus the first caucasian residents in the Marianas, and the first deserters in the Pacific. 

We don't know the names of the two Portuguese because the Chamorros killed them, for reasons unclear.  Gonzalo, we must say, was smarter at keeping in the good graces of the Chamorros and was not killed.

He lived with the Chamorros for five years until a Spanish expedition (Loaisa) stopped by Guam and picked him up.  Was he tired of island life?  Did he miss Europe?

In those five years on Guam, it is inconceivable that Gonzalo did not have a female companion.  And it is entirely possible that Gonzalo produced the first mestiso Chamorro children.  Perhaps it was his children whom later Spanish sailors heard calling out the name "Gonzalo! Gonzalo!" when they pulled into Guam.

Too bad he didn't leave a dictionary behind, besides the children he may have fathered.

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