The Patagonian Giants  

Fossil Legends of the First Americans

Discovering the Mysteries of Ancient America: Lost History And Legends, Unearthed And Explored


 The civilized Worlds first account of the Patagonian Giants is derived from the records of famous explorer extraordinaire  Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan never committed to paper his account of his voyage , as he was killed in Battle in the Philippines, long before his ship returned to Europe. Of 260 men who set out with Magellan in 1519, only 18 returned. Antonio Pigafetta was among the 18 survivors. His journal is the source for almost all of what we know about Magellan's voyage  [ Magellan's Voyage : A Narrative Account of the First Circumnavigation ]

Pigafetta describes the first contact with the Patagonians:

"...Leaving that place, we finally reached 49 and one-half degrees toward the Antarctic Pole. As it was winter, the ships entered a safe port to winter. We passed two months in that place without seeing anyone. One day we suddenly saw a naked man of giant stature on the shore of the port, dancing, singing, and throwing dust on his head. The captain-general sent one of our men to the giant so that he might perform the same actions as a sign of peace. Having done that, the man led the giant to an islet where the captain-general was waiting. When the giant was in the captain-general’s and our presence he marveled greatly, and made signs with one finger raised upward, believing that we had come from the sky. He was so tall that we reached only to his waist, and he was well proportioned. His face was large and painted red all over, while about his eyes he was painted yellow; and he had two hearts painted on the middle of his cheeks. His scanty hair was painted white. He was dressed in the skins of animals skillfully sewn together. That animal has a head and ears as large as those of a mule, a neck and body like those of a camel, the legs of a deer, and the tail of a horse, like which it neighs, and that land has very many of them. His feet were shod with the same kind of skins which covered his feet in the manner of shoes. In his hand he carried a short, heavy bow, with a cord somewhat thicker than those of the lute, and made from the intestines of the same animal, and a bundle of rather short cane arrows feathered like ours, and with points of white and black flint stones in the manner of Turkish arrows, instead of iron. Those points were fashioned by means of another stone."

These giants are next mentioned in an account of a voyage round the world, by Sir Thomas Cavendish ...

"Sailing from Cape Frio, in the Brasils, they fell in upon the coast of America, in 47 d. 20 m. North (it should be South) latitude. They proceeded to Port Desire, in latitude 50. Here the Savages wounded two of the company with their arrows, which are made of cane, headed with flints. A wild and rude sort of creatures they were; and, as it seemed, of a gigantic race, the measure of one of their feet being 18 inches in length, which, reckoning by the usual proportion, will give about 7 feet and an half for their stature.


An excerpt from Charles Debrosses’ Historie des navigations aux terres australes, published in 1756, contributed to  the giant saga:

"The coast of Port Desire is inhabited by giants fifteen to sixteen palms high. I have myself measured the footprint of one of them on the riverbank, which was four times longer than one of ours. I have also measured the corpses of two men recently buried by the river, which were fourteen spans long. Three of our men, who were later taken by the Spanish on the coast of Brazil, assured me that one day on the other side of the coast they had to sail out to sea because the giants started throwing great blocks of stone of astonishing size from the beach right at their boat. In Brazil I saw one of these giants which Alonso Díaz had captured at Port Saint Julien: he was just a boy but was already thirteen spans tall. These people go about naked and have long hair; the one I saw in Brazil was healthy-looking and well proportioned for his height. I can say nothing about his habits, not having spent any time with him, but the Portuguese tell me that he is no better than the other cannibals along the coast of La Plata."


Captains Cooke also wrote in his ship's logs of a race of giants that inhabited Patagonia.  He even claimed to have captured one of the giants , Unfortunately, the giant escaped by breaking the ropes that bound him to the mast and jumped off the ship, overboard into the sea.

In an additional excerpt, Capt. Cooke wrote in his log that he  himself was 6 feet 3 inches tall, which was unusual for a time when a mans average height was about 5 feet 4 inches, and that he could easily stand under the arm of one of these giants.


In 1767 Captain John Byron and the H.M.S. Dolphin returned to port and published  "Voyage Round the World in His Majesty’s Ship the Dolphin" in his book he hailed the voyage as

"...putting an end to the dispute, which for two centuries and a half has subsisted between geographers, in relation to the reality of there being a nation of people of such an amazing stature, of which the concurrent testimony of all on board the Dolphin and Tamer can now leave no room for doubt. "


A subsequent publication under his name , Voyage, includes the following tale. Captain Byron is credited with  having had the precaution to take ashore with him a number of trinkets, such as beads and ribbons ,in order to convince the Patagonians of their peaceful and amicable disposition.

" to each of them some, as far as they went. The method he made use of to facilitate the distribution of them, was by making the Indians sit down on the ground, that he might put the strings of beads &c. round their necks; and such was their extraordinary size, that in this situation they were almost as high as the Commodore when standing."

 The title page of the Voyage depicts an English sailor giving a biscuit to one of the nine-foot Patagonian women , and is included on the header of this page.


 Despite the numerous accounts, the Patagonian Giants, if they  ever existed at all are nowhere to be found. No known surviving Patagonians have endured till the current era, nor has any archeological or fossil evidence ever been presented.



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