FERNANDEZ, JUAN (fl. c. 157o), Spanish navigator and discoverer. By putting out from the coast, and so avoiding the prevailing southerly winds and gaining the help of the trade winds, he sailed from Callao to Chile in 3o days, which resulted in his arrest for sorcery. In 1563 he discovered the islands which bear his name. He endeavoured to found a colony there, which was a failure; hence the goats which Alexander Selkirk found there. In he discovered St. Felix and St. Ambrose islands, and in 1576, in the southern ocean, he is said to have sighted Easter island, as well as a continent which, if the story, not generally accepted, is believed, was probably Australia or New Zealand.
See J. L. Arias, Memoir recommending to the king the con version of the new discovered islands (in Spanish, 1609 ; Eng. trans. ; A. de Ulloa, Relation del Viaje, bk. ch. iv. (1748; Eng. trans. 1813) ; Alexander Dalrymple, An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean .