Obverse. Photo © Numismatica Visual
  • 2 Euro 2022, Spain, Felipe VI, 500th Anniversary of the Magellan–Elcano Circumnavigation
  • 2 Euro 2022, Spain, Felipe VI, 500th Anniversary of the Magellan–Elcano Circumnavigation

The Magellan expedition, also known as the Magellan-Elcano expedition, resulted in the first recorded circumnavigation of the Earth in 1522. It is considered by many as one of the most important events in history for its scientific, socio-economic, political, philosophic and theological consequences.

The expedition was sponsored by the Spanish Monarchy aiming to find a maritime route sailing westwards from Europe to the East Indies across the Pacific Ocean. In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese-born explorer subject of the Spanish Crown since 1518, was appointed Admiral of the Spanish Fleet by the emperor Charles V to lead a five-ship fleet called "Armada de Molucca" to reach the Spice Islands (Maluku Islands, in present-day Indonesia). After the death of Magellan in Mactan (now part of modern-day Cebu, Philippines) at the hands of the natives in 1521 and following several other short-lived leaderships, Basque navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano took command of the expedition to finally reach the Spice Islands. Elcano then decided to return to Spain across the Indian Ocean and up the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the world in 1522.

When Victoria, the one surviving ship and the smallest carrack in the fleet, returned to the harbour of departure after completing the first circumnavigation of the Earth, only 18 men out of the original 270 men were on board.


Depicts the portrait of Juan Sebastián Elcano in the background of a globe. Country name and date of the issue on the right. The logo of the Royal Spanish Mint (crowned letter M) on the left. The dates of the expedition, name and motto of the naval commander below. Surrounded by the twelve stars of Europe.

Juan Sebastián Elcano (1486/1487–1526) was a Castilian navigator of Basque origin best known for having completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth in the ship Victoria on the Magellan expedition to the Spice Islands. He received recognition for his achievement by the emperor Charles V with the coat of arms reading "primus circumdedisti me" ("You went around me first" in Latin).

Following his success, the emperor entrusted him with another large expedition to the Spice Islands headed by a nobleman, García Jofre de Loaisa, which could not complete its goal. Elcano died on the Pacific Ocean during this venture.



A geographical map of Western Europe spans the outer ring and inner core on the right side of the coin. The inscription 2 EURO is superimposed over the map of Europe, with the numeral “2” located in an open field representing the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

12 stars are located on the right side of the outer ring, with six stars atop the map of Europe and six stars below it; six vertical stripes cut across the inner core of the coin, visually connecting the upper and lower star segments.

Luc Luycx, a designer at the Royal Belgian Mint, designed the Euro’s common reverse; his initials, LL, are seen on the right side of the design, just under the “O” in “EURO.”



The sequence "2 ★ ★" repeated six times alternately upright and inverted

2 ★ ★ 2 ★ ★ 2 ★ ★ 2 ★ ★ 2 ★ ★ 2 ★ ★

Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Bi-Metallic
Ring Cupronickel
Center Nickel Brass
Weight 8.5 g
Diameter 25.75 mm
Thickness 2.2 mm
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Royal Spanish Mint (FNMT-RCM)

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