Humans have always been fascinated by what lies beyond the borders and horizons of our world, so it lies on the next hill or on the waves beyond what we see. This fascination has led us to explore and understand our planet from the ancient times, and countless explorers have surpassed the borders of our maps and the limits of our horizon to discover, Tame and conquer. We have many records of these adventures and often lurk within them amazing stories about peoples and strange creatures, some of which are as mysterious and baffling as they were then; And one of them is about the giants of the New World. Perhaps the most intriguing and widely known tale of true giants in the age of exploration began with an account of none other than the great Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Between the years 1519 and 1522, Magellan embarked on his most famous voyage, an expedition to seek a good route to the Maluku islands of the East Indies, which would eventually result in the first circumnavigation of the world. Magellan received command of five ships and a part of his journey led them across the vast ocean to the distant land of Patagonia, in the far south of South America. It was here that the expedition came across a rather baffling sight. According to reports by the official chronicler of the expedition, Antonio Pigafetta, as they approached the Patagonian coast, they witnessed a person of "enormous stature" dancing and jumping naked on the beach, while strangely throwing dust on his head. Apparently, a member of the crew was sent to try to make contact with the mysterious giant and, upon reaching the coast, man began to imitate the eccentric movements and the behavior of the giant in an effort to broaden the friendship. Pigafetta would report what happened like this:
The captain-General [that is, Magellan] sent one of our men to the giant so that he could carry out the same actions as a sign of peace. In doing so, the man took the giant to an islet where the captain-General was waiting. When the giant was in the presence of the captain-General and in our presence, he was very amazed and made signs with a finger up, believing that we had come from heaven. He was so tall that we just reached his waist and he was well-proportioned. The explorers supposedly gave food and drink to this enormous creature, and it was noticed that the giant was absolutely terrified when he saw a mirror. Magellan and his men were finally able to make contact with the rest of the creature's tribe, and they were in good terms at first, slowly gaining the confidence of the Giants over several weeks, even eating and hunting with them. Unfortunately, the European explorers who were, the men did not resist trying to capture some of them to take home. Two of the Giants were supposedly captured, but did not survive the long and harrowing journey back to Spain, meaning they did not return with any real evidence of giants in Patagonia, but only with their fantastic stories about what Had seen. The stories really took off and, in fact, Patagonia would become synonymous with the image of clumsy giants. Such was the popularity of the tale that the very name of the region, Patagonia, comes from the name of Magellan to the creatures, Patagones, which can be derived from the Spanish word pata, which means "foot", making the name something similar to "the land of the big feet", or can Simply come from the fictional characters of wild men that the Patagonian characterized in a book of the time called Primaleon, depending on who you ask. The stories of these mysterious giants living in the vast ocean in some distant and exotic land really captured the imagination at the time, and this would be even more stimulated when other reports of the Patagonian giants began to emerge from other Explorers in the later years. For example, in 1579, Francis Fletcher, chaplain to Sir Francis Drake, wrote about these giants, who claimed to be about 10 feet high. In the 1590, the explorer Anthonie Knivet also claimed that during his time in Patagonia, he had seen some corpses of the Giants, which were estimated at about 3.6 feet high, and there was another account of the English explorer William Adams, who claimed That his expedition had been attacked by unusually large natives while circumventing the land of fire. Such encounters fed even more rumours that Patagonia was indeed a land of giants, and these extreme reports would continue. In 1615, the Dutch circunavadores Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire claimed to have found a mysterious grave that was full of bones and remnants of strange beings that would have been about 3.3 feet tall. In 1766, there was the report that Commodore John Byron, who had circunavegado the world aboard the Dolphin ship, had found a tribe of huge natives in Patagonia, who mediate between 2.40 meters and 3.60 in height. These enigmatic reports from these Patagonian explorers not only aroused much surprise, but also debate and skepticism of the scientific community. Many scholars believed that tales were fraud, excessive exaggeration or a ruse to cover the real intentions behind those who made excursions to South America, but the belief that these giants were real, however, persisted among the population In general. In recent years, the romantic legends of the Patagonian giants have diminished somewhat as more realistic information came to light, as a revised official report of Byron's Travels, released in 1773, in which it was written that the natives they found They were actually only 2.0 feet tall, which was still too high for the time, but away from the rumors from 2.40 to 3.60 meters. In addition, in 1628 the nephew of Sir Francis Drake stated in his book The World encompassed, that the height of the ' giants ' that his uncle had found and spoken out highly exaggerated, writing:
Magellan was not entirely deceived in naming these giants, for they generally differ from the common type of man, both in stature, grandeur and body strength, as well as in the hideousness of their voices: but they are nothing so monstrous and gigantic as They were represented, there were some Englishmen as tall as the highest we could see, but perhaps the Spaniards did not think that some Englishman would come to fail them, and therefore assumed that they could lie audaciously.
It is believed that these explorers may actually be confronted with a Patagonian tribe called Tehuelche, which has one of the highest average heights in the world, commonly exceeding 1.80 meters and reaching more than 2.10. They would have certainly been overwhelmed in most of Europe. The explorers of the day, who would normally have stayed in the 1.52 Metro range, and subsequent exaggerations, rumours, recounts and identification errors of observers could have seen the descriptions of the height of the ' giants ' increase, giving rise to stories Mysterious travelers containing rumours and rumours. However, in Magellan's case, the chronicler was a shrewd observer and had an eye for the details, with most of his information quite accurate, so it's hard to tell if Pigafetta would have invented such a thing. Patagonia is not the only place that saw historical reports of real giants lurking in the backwoods of the New world, and similar creatures were described during the era of conquerors in the jungles of what is now Florida. The Spanish Conquistador and explorer Pánfilo of Nárvaez faced a disastrous and failed invasion of northern Florida, after losing most of his men to attacks and native diseases, lack of adequate supplies and being abandoned by their own Ships that took them there, and he himself would disappear after leaving for Cuba on an improvised raft. A survivor of all ordeal was a subordinate officer named Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, who along with a group of other people decided to go straight to safety in Mexico, which they erroneously believed to be much closer to where they were than in the Truth was. They built a raft and set off on their poorly conceived voyage, and Cabeza de Vaca would survive the ordeal and follow to Texas before finally returning to Spain and finally writing an adventure report. Buried in this diary is a very strange and distressing account in which this heterogeneous group apparently encountered a group of mysterious giants very aggressive when crossing a lake in Florida. Cabeza de Vaca stated in his diary:
When we tried to cross the Great Lake, we were under the heavy attack of many giant Indians hiding behind the trees. Some of our men were injured in this conflict, so the good armor they were wearing didn't count. The Indians we had seen were all archers. They walked naked, they were big, and they appeared as giants in the distance. They were of admirable proportions and of great activity and strength. The arches they wore were as thick as the arm, eleven or twelve feet long, which shot at 200 steps, with a precision so great that nothing was wrong.
Other areas of North America had historical reports of giants at the same time, and indigenous peoples often spoke of gigantic creatures inhabiting the earth. In 1519, an entire village of Giants was supposedly found somewhere along the Mississippi River by the explorer Alonzo Álvarez of Piñeda during an expedition to map the Gulf Coast area. Piñeda described them as a "race of giants, ten to eleven feet high", and said that they were peaceful and had a wealth of gold, even though the natives were terrified of them. Years later, in 1539, there was also the account of Hernando de Soto, who came face to face with numerous giants during his adventures in the southeastern portion of what is now the United States. De Soto departed from Tampa Bay, Florida, with a contingent of hundreds of men, and during the journey they supposedly often found tribes of natives ruled by giants. One of them was a Tuscaloosa chief, who was found in West Alabama and said to be a huge, giant man who rose above all others. There are also reports of Spanish conquistador and explorer Hernando de Alarcón, who was trying to find a river that could be used to transport supplies to the Spanish troops along the coasts of California and Mexico. Alarcón ascended the Colorado River to the Grand Canyon, and during that journey he and his men supposedly ran into a tribe of about 200 giant warriors up to 3 meters high. The Giants were supposedly very aggressive, but Alarcón the abated with gifts and other signs of peace. The Conqueror Francisco Coronado also told that he came across whole tribes of giants during his mission throughout the Southwest in search of the legendary El Dorado. In some cases, physical evidence of these giants was found, as supposedly happened to the Conqueror Bernal Díaz del Castillo, who served under Hernán Cortés during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Within the pages of his detailed record of the conquest and subsequent collapse of the Aztec Empire, the true story of the conquest of New Spain, there is a strange report of a race of giants that was told by the Tlaxcatec Indians to have once inhabited the area. The head of the tribe then provided the remains of these mysterious giants as evidence, of which Castillo would write about the tales and remains:
They said that their ancestors had told them that very tall men and women, with huge bones, had lived among them. But because they were very bad people with wicked customs, they fought against them and killed them, and those left died. And to show us how big these giants were, they brought us the one leg bone, which was very thick and the height of a man of common size, and that was a leg bone from the hip to the knee. I judged myself against it, and was as tall as I am, though I have a reasonable height. They brought in other pieces of bones of the same kind, but they were all rotten and devoured by the soil. We were all amazed at the sight of these bones and we felt certain that there must have been giants on that Earth.
It is not clear what happened to these remains, and this remains just another strange and unverified account among many. Here we examine some of the countless reports of real giants being found throughout North and South America in the age of exploration, and such reports have disappeared in history to be forgotten and devoid of any evidence or real proof. One gets to wonder if there is any truth in these historical accounts of these massive monsters, or whether they are just great tales created by cautious explorers or the product of years of evolution. It is difficult to determine how much of these tales are real or fabricated, and we are largely left to speculate and ask ourselves what these explorers saw out there in these unknown areas of the planet. Whether the reports were real or not, the idea that the Giants have already run the world is tempting and will probably trigger the imagination for a long time to come. Source