March 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

The Spanish training ship “Juan Sebastián Elcano” arrives at the Umatac Bay of the island of Guam, thus commemorating the 500 th anniversary of the arrival of the Spaniards in these islands called as a whole Las Marianas, located in the area of Micronesia (Pacific ocean). It was on March 6, 1521, after four months without stepping on land, that two Spanish ships arrived there.

Curiously, Rear Admiral Santiago Barber López, who is an advisor for the V Centennial Commemoration, is also now on the island attending the different events that take place there during these days. He is a Majorcan who is a prominent military officer of the Spanish navy in where it commemorates the trip that our compatriots made now five centuries ago, in the first travel around the world, a trip that began on August 15th, 1519 with Fernando de Magallanes at the head of several ships and a total of 239 sailors. When he died on his way back Juan Sebastián Elcano took his place, arriving in Seville on September 6th, 1522,  with only 18 crew members left in the Victoria ship.

To be honest a few years ago I had no idea that there was an island called Guam, but coincidences of life and the fact that the Chamorros of this island also have a tradition of throwing stones with the sling, are the reasons why already there is a bond between Guam and the Balearic Islands. Several of its slingers have visited our islands in the Mediterranean and there is continuous contact for future sporting and cultural events between the Balearic Islands and the island of Guam.

For example, this same 500th anniversary, and had it not been for the pandemic, we would surely have traveled from various European countries to the Pacific Ocean to enjoy and compete with our colleagues in these important and historical moments.

There are more than a dozen who have visited Mallorca and Ibiza, Román de la Cruz, Vicente Rosario, Tony, Josua and Linda Pérez, among others, are the ones that we keep fond memories of.

Speaking of names, precisely, in addition to sling shooting and other customs, what surprised me the most, are these names and surnames that many of them have, which are completely Spanish and which they have maintained since this time called the Philippines.

The common history of Spain and Guam lasted until 1898. The island currently belongs to the United States (due to its strategic location) and there is even a major military base located there.

 In Guam the traditional and ancient language is the Chamorro but English is also spoken and one can even find some minority examples of Spanish.

 The slinging clubs of the Balearic Islands and all their members ,send a big hug to the friends of the island of Guam.

Congratulations to both Guam and Spain for this 500th anniversary!

Pep Ribas Ribas
Balearic Islands


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