We will be talking now briefly about San Telmo Palace. This building was a sailor school. This means that everyone who wanted to go to America had to study in this institution in order to enlist in the ships. But this system was not in place in the first decades after 1492 discovery. The first sailors enlisted were not great conquerors. Colón’s crew was full of ex-prisoners, poor people and people from social minorities. Given the very high risk of the expedition, only those who had nothing to lose would take it. For this reason, the first one to see the new land would be Rodrigo “de Triana”, a neighborhood -Triana- where only people with very little purchasing power lived at that time.
Rodrigo “de Bastidas”, who was a sailor on Columbus’s second voyage, and who was the first to navigate the Colombian and Panamanian coasts, also lived in Triana. He also founded the city of Santa Marta, one of the first in South America and which exists still today.
When the travels to America became more and more frequent, it was decided to found the sailor school, originally located on Pureza Street in Triana, a neighborhood that has historically produced a large number of sailors. It moved to San Telmo in the 17th century. The building began to be built in 1682 on a site donated by the Inquisition. Inside the building there is a Chapel, in which the Virgin of “Buen Aire” (Good Air) is located, represented with the baby Jesus and a boat. It is interesting to say in relation to this that the first “hermandades” (brotherhoods) of the Holy Week in Seville were founded by different guilds. The bakers founded their one, Esperanza de Triana was founded by potters, and the sailors’ guild also created its own brotherhood, with the Virgen del Buen Aire. In honor of this, the Spanish sailor Juan de Garay, founded in America the city of the Holy Trinity and Puerto de Santa María del Buen Aire, what we know today as Buenos Aires. Today the image located in the chapel is no longer the original, but a replica that was made at the end of the 16th century.
Esteban José Martínez Fernández and Martínez de la Sierra studied here, among many others, in the 18th century. He lead the first expedition to explore the entire North Pacific, reaching Alaska, which today preserves several locations and geographic points with spanish names.
Next to the San Telmo Bridge is the New York dock. From there, between the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th, ships that linked the two cities, Seville and New York, left.
If you want to know more details about our beautiful city, take a look at our Free Tours in Seville and schedules.