Gabriel de Castilla
Gabriel de Castilla (1577 – c. 1620), was a Spanish explorer and navigator. A native of Palencia, he was an early explorer of Antarctica. His contribution to knowledge of the Antarctic continent was ignored in his lifetime and long afterwards. It was only at the end of the 18th century that his contributions were recognized. In March 1603, Castilla was at the head of an expedition that weighed anchor from Valparaiso. Under his control were three ships: the galleon Jesús María, of 600 tons and 30 cannons, Our Lady of the Visitación (which had belonged to Richard Hawkins) and Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. The expedition was entrusted by the Viceroy of Peru, Luis de Velasco, marqués de Salinas, to suppress the incursions of Dutch privateers in the seas to the south of Chile. Historians conjecture that they penetrated to a latitude of (64° S) in the Southern Ocean, south of Drake Passage. If correct, this would be the farthest south that anyone had travelled, at that time. Subsequently, several merchant vessels reported being blown south of 60° S [66.67 S] rounding Cabo de Hornos in severe weather.