Settings

ⓕ font-size

  • -2
  • -1
  • 0
  • +1
  • +2

Chilean exhibition sheds light on Magellan's expedition

  • Facebook share button
  • Twitter share button
  • Kakao share button
  • Mail share button
  • Link share button
The 'Encounter between three worlds: 500 years after the first circumnavigation of the earth' exhibition, co-organized by the Embassy of Chile and the National Library for Children and Young Adults, focuses on Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigating expedition and its influence on Chile. Courtesy of the NLCY
The 'Encounter between three worlds: 500 years after the first circumnavigation of the earth' exhibition, co-organized by the Embassy of Chile and the National Library for Children and Young Adults, focuses on Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigating expedition and its influence on Chile. Courtesy of the NLCY

By Kwon Mee-yoo

Over 500 years ago, Ferdinand Magellan set sail in search of a new navigation route with five ships. Three years later in 1522, only one of the ships returned, becoming the first vessel to circumnavigate the globe.

An exhibition at the National Library for Children and Young Adults (NLCY) in southern Seoul explores Magellan's voyage across the globe and the influence of his discovery, a navigable sea route in southern Chile, South America, now known as the Strait of Magellan.

The exhibition's title, "Encounter between three worlds: 500 years after the first circumnavigation of the earth," is a rendition of an exhibition that was originally shown at the National Library of Chile in 2019. The Chilean Embassy here joined hands with the NLCY to bring it here and make it more suitable for children and young adults.

The expedition holds great significance for Chile as it was the first sighting of the territory that would later be named "Chile" by Europeans as well as forming the identity of Chileans as a combination of Indigenous people and European adventurers.

"For many people, including Chileans, history says that the first person who set foot on what was going to become Chile in 1536 was a Spanish conquistador called Diego de Almagro, who had traveled with a group of men from Peru to the South of the continent in search of precious minerals ― silver and gold. Today it would be lithium," Mathias Francke, the ambassador of Chile to Korea, said during the opening ceremony of the exhibition, Sept. 26.

"What Pizarro didn't know was that 16 years before him, a Portuguese by the name of Ferdinand Magellan had landed in what is now Chile, 4,000 kilometers south.

"It was a journey that for the first time connected the world: Portugal and Spain, the Americas, Asia and Africa. It can be considered the very beginning of what nowadays we understand as globalization."

Ambassador Francke noted that Chile is part of the most dynamic region in the world.

"We have strong bilateral ties with the countries around this big mass of water (Pacific Ocean) because we want to be a bridge that connects Latin America and the Asia Pacific," he said.

"Korea is not an exception. This year we are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations working together to foster our trade, investment, science and technology exchanges, including on issues related to the conservation of the Pacific Ocean and its resources."

From left, YI Chong-yul of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Chilean Ambassador to Korea Mathias Francke, National Library for Children and Young Adults Director General Park Ju-ok and Consul of Embassy of Chile in Korea Lucas Pavez pose for a photo during the opening ceremony of the 'Encounter between three worlds' exhibition at National Library for Children and Young Adults in southern Seoul, Sept. 26. Courtesy of the NLCY
From left, YI Chong-yul of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Chilean Ambassador to Korea Mathias Francke, National Library for Children and Young Adults Director General Park Ju-ok and Consul of Embassy of Chile in Korea Lucas Pavez pose for a photo during the opening ceremony of the 'Encounter between three worlds' exhibition at National Library for Children and Young Adults in southern Seoul, Sept. 26. Courtesy of the NLCY

Lucas Pavez, consul and in charge of cultural affairs at the embassy, gave a tour of the exhibition, beginning with some ancient maps that explain the historical background of Europeans who were searching for new trade routes in the 15th century.

The exhibit has a large globe and maps to demonstrate Magellan's expedition route from Spain to South America, then crossing the Pacific Ocean to Asia as well as showing eventually how the only surviving vessel helmed by Spanish navigator Juan Sebastian Elcano made its way back to Spain.

The next section centers on the Indigenous people of Chile.

"When Magellan arrived in the southern zone of America, there were peoples who had been living there for more than 10,000 years, building unique forms of culture in the inclement weather and rugged geography," Pavez explained.

Indigenous groups in Chile include: the Aonikenk, the Selk'am as well as the Kawesqar and the Yagans.

"These Indigenous people still exist today and protect some of their cultural practices, although in a much smaller number and territory, given the colonization processes," Pavez said.

A special section introduces Chile to Korean children in a friendly way, through maps, photos and videos, including the UNESCO sites in Chile such as Rapa Nui National Park, known for the Moai stone statues, Churches of Chiloe, the Historic Quarter in Valparaiso and more.

Chile is a long and narrow country with a diverse natural environment that is made up of deserts in the north to snow-capped mountains in the south as well as the Patagonian Archipelago, where the territory begins to divide into thousands of islands.

"Chile is located in South America, 18,300 kilometers away from Korea, so getting to Chile can be a long journey. In this section we show you some of the attractions of our country to convince you that this trip is worth it," Pavez said.

The exhibition runs at the National Library for Children and Young Adults until Dec. 18.


Kwon Mee-yoo meeyoo@koreatimes.co.kr


Interactive News

  • E-Prix thrills racing fans in Seoul
  • With tough love,
  • 'Santa dogs' help rebuild burnt forests in Andong
  • 'Santa dogs' help rebuild burnt forests in Andong
  • A tale of natural wine

Top 10 Stories

go top LETTER