Juan Sebastián Elkano, born in Getaria in 1487, would go down in posterity as the first navigator to sail around the world. He embarked in 1519 on the expedition commanded by Magellan, and ended up taking command when the Portuguese died, successfully completing the voyage on 6 September 1522, when he reached Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

In 1922, on the occasion of the 4th centenary of the voyage, the construction of a monument dedicated to his figure was undertaken. The sculptural project, the work of the Palencia-born Victorio Macho, in the Art Deco style then in vogue, was erected on an old 17th century bastion of the wall of Getaria, which served as a plinth. The monument is crowned by a winged victory, in the image of the masks that adorned the prow of the ships. On the lower part, a relief depicts Juan Sebastián Elkano; inside the building, an inscription commemorates the names of the rest of the crew members who, together with Elcano, managed to complete the voyage.