João Serrão

João Rodrigues Serrão, also known as Juan Serrano in the Spanish version, ( Kingdom of Portugal - Cebu, 1521) was a 16th-century Portuguese navigator who sailed with Ferdinand Magellan during the first circumnavigation of the world (1519-1521).

Serrão was brother or cousin to Francisco Serrão, who was residing in the Spice Islands when the voyage began and whom Magellan hoped to meet, but both died almost at the same time in 1521, in the Moluku islands ( Ternate) and the Philippines ( Mactan Island, Cebu), respectively, before this occurred.

He was the pilot of a round caravel in the 4th Portuguese India Armada led by Vasco da Gama in 1502. João Serrão also accompanied Ferdinand Magellan and his brother (or cousin) Francisco, in the 7th Portuguese India Armada of 1505, led by Francisco de Almeida, commanding the round caravel Botafogo, and later also in the capture of Malacca and other actions in the East.

Captain of the ship Santiago across the Atlantic and of the Concecion across the Pacific, Serrão was involved in the events that led to a massacre on Cebu allegedly instigated by Enrique of Malacca, but we cannot ascertain this by Antonio Pigafetta's accounts alone.


  • Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages 1492-1616 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974).
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