Uncharted: Are Santiago Moncada and The Moncada Foundation Real?

Image Credit: Clay Enos/Sony Pictures

Starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, ‘Uncharted’ is an action-adventure film that focuses on the hunt for the lost treasure of Ferdinand Magellan. Based on the video game series of the same name, the film gives an origin story to Nathan Drake’s character, who is brought into the hunt by Victor “Sully” Sullivan. Drake’s knowledge of history becomes an important aspect of his decoding of the clues left behind by Magellan’s crew, who were in possession of a treasure worth $5 billion.

But he and Sully are not the only ones after the fortune. They have a fierce competitor in a man named Santiago Moncada, who believes that Magellan’s gold is his birthright because it was his family, all those years ago, who funded the voyage that never brought them anything in return. Considering that Magellan is a real character and did take a voyage across the world, one is bound to wonder about the connection between him and Moncada.

The House of Moncada is a Fictional Aspect of Uncharted

There is a real House of Moncada, an aristocratic Catalan house, but it has no connection whatsoever with Magellan’s gold or even his voyage. In fact, the whole story about the House of Moncada funding Magellan’s voyage is entirely fictional and created solely for the purpose of the plot. To add a touch of authenticity to it, the film does give a few real details to the audience. For example, it is true that Magellan went on a voyage that was supposed to bring him around the world but was cut short due to his death. However, the story about him and his crew finding $5 billion worth of gold is made up.

Image Credit: Clay Enos/Sony Pictures

The same goes for the story about his sponsors as well. Magellan’s journey was supposed to find new trade routes that could help European countries establish better trade relations with other countries, their focus being on spice, which was actually much more valuable than gold at the time. It is true that the crown refused to fund his voyage, but it was the Portuguese Crown who did that. Instead, the Spanish Crown funded his voyage and brought in a couple of other rich businessmen when their own funds didn’t meet the mark.

The Crown provided Magellan and his crew with supplies that would allow them to travel for two years without want. However, there were other factors to be considered, and the Crown knew that they couldn’t fund the whole thing by themselves. So, they invited the investors who, at the time, were one of the biggest banking families in Europe: the House of Fugger.

The Fugger were a group of European bankers who were at the top of their game at the time they were approached with the idea of Magellan’s voyage. The House of Medici, who had ruled the banking scene of Europe for a long time, was past its prime, and the Fugger had replaced them to become one of the most influential families. In addition, a Castilian merchant named Cristóbal de Haro was brought on board, and he also provided a great portion of the funding.

With so much money in his pocket, Magellan was ready to take that journey, but as is known, it didn’t turn out to be quite as successful as the investors had hoped. Still, making a journey of that scale back in the day was a huge thing, and for current storytellers, it opens the doors to all kinds of conspiracy theories, which serve as a great premise for films like ‘Uncharted.’

Read More: Is Uncharted’s Nathan Drake Based on a Real Person?