What was ironic about the fact that the one surviving ship of Magellan's fleet was piloted home by Cano?

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martinjmurphy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Juan Sebastian del Cano (sometimes called Elcano) was a Spanish sailor who was the pilot of the Concepcion, one of the five ships on the voyage to circumnavigate the globe led by Ferdinand Magellan.  The expedition departed in 1519 and wintered in Patagonia, South America.  There, talk of mutinying and returning to Spain began among the men.  In March of 1520 some Spanish captains mutinied and Cano was considered one of the ringleaders. Magellan put down the mutiny and killed or marooned several of the captains.  Cano was eventually pardoned by Magellan after being punished with forced labor on the mainland.  Cano was later given command of the ship Victoria, mainly because other captains had been killed or marooned after the mutiny.  In April, 1521, Magellan and most officers were murdered in the Philippines.  The only ship to complete the journey around the globe was the Victoria, captained by Cano.  The irony of this, of course, is the fact that Cano, who participated in a mutiny to return to Spain, which would have ended Magellan’s historic voyage, was the leader of the expedition when it ended in 1522 and was even given a pension by Emperor Charles V.