The First Spanish Monarchs to Visit America: King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia

In 1976 the Spanish King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia made history by making their first travel abroad. This was not only the first international trip for the couple as Kings of Spain, but also the first international trip that has ever been done by any Spanish monarchs in history.

Spanish America is Honored due to the Important Historic Links with Spain 

As a symbolic act of the good relations that exist between Spain and Spanish America, a rgion of the world that was a part of Spain for three and four centuries; the first international trip of the Spanish monarchs was to various Spanish American countries.

The Dominican Republic is the Most Privileged Spanish American Nation

The Dominican Republic was honored with the privilege of being the very first country in the world to welcome the King of Spain. This privilege was granted to the Dominican Republic because, as the French Moreau de Saint-Mery said in the XVIII century, she is “the mother of the Spanish provinces in America.” Much how in the XVI century Santo Domingo was the very first port of call for the Spaniards that moved to the New World, the King of Spain also arrived to America by first stepping on Dominican soil. Their very first Spanish American city they visited was none other than Santo Domingo, the first city founded by the Spaniards in America.

Commentaries of Dr Joaquin Balaguer and King Juan Carlos I

The then Dominican president Dr. Joaquin Balaguer with a full fledged delegation of high ranking officers and civilians, waited at the airport for the historic arrival of the Spanish monarchs.

As King Juan Carlos I placed for the first time the soles of his feet on Dominican soil, Dr. Joaquin Balaguer said the following.

“All of America, but especially the parts that received from Spain precious gifts such as the language, the religion, and the culture; today stands up. From the peaks of the Andes Mountains to the plains of the Orinoco. From the watersheds of the Amazon to the Mountains of Bahoruco. We offer our respects, admiration, and salutations to the firest Kings of Spain that placed the soles of their feet on the continent discovered and evangelized by the Spanish spirit. The greatest representation of Hispanic culture comes open our hearts. They will be more fruitful that what the Spanish conquistadors accomplished in our valleys and in our mountains. Your Majesty, welcome to our home.”

After such a welcome, King Juan Carlos I responded in the following manner.

“The queen and I wants to thank this Santo Domingo. Thank you for your historic fidelity to Spain that moves us, despite that at times you recieved griefs that originated in our very own Spain. Thank you for such a warm hospitality that fills us with joy.

I will leave with you the message that Spain has for all of Spanish America. A continent with no golden leyend nor black legend. As it is in reality with its virtues and its misfortunes, and with its Spanish heritage. The future is full of difficulties, but also of the certainty that the end will be victorious.

You made it possible for Spain to get closer to America by opening the doors to your generous welcome. We are profoundly grateful and we offer an optimistic salute.

Images of the Historic Visit of King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain to the Dominican Republic

The Dominican president Dr. Joaquin Balaguer welcomes King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia minutes after they stepped out of the airplane and placed their feet on the island of Santo Domingo.

This was the very first decoration that a Spanish King receives in America. This event took place in the National Palace of the Dominican Republic.

King Juan Carlos I sits at the head of the table with Dominican president Dr. Joaquin Balaguer. This was the first official dinner that the Kings of Spain have in America.

The Kings of Spain pay their respects to Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, and Matías Ramón Mella; the founders of the Dominican Republic.

The King of Spain and the President of the Dominican Republic salutating once more.

Photo taken moments before King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia boarded their royal airplane and continued with their tour through Spanish America.

The Dominican Republic and Spain Have Always Supported Each Other

Spain always supports the Dominican Republic and, as is natural, the Dominican Republic always supports Spain. This level of understanding and mutual appreciation is best described by what Professor Juan Bosch said of the importance that Spain has in the very origin of the Dominican people.

“Spain gave us everything that she had. Her language, her architecture, and her religion. Her way of dressing and eating. Her military culture, her legal and civil institutions. The wheat, the cows, the sugar cane. Even the dogs and the chicken.”
-Professor Juan Bosch