In 1784, King Charles III of Spain sent George Washington a token of his esteem. Knowing that Washington had long sought a Spanish donkey for his Mount Vernon estate, the king permitted a jack to be exported to the new United States. Washington named the donkey Royal Gift in recognition of its royal origin, and the donkey became somewhat of a minor celebrity when he disembarked from his ship in 1785.
As it turns out, Spanish jacks like Royal Gift were highly prized animals in the Atlantic world. And in this case the Spanish, who had supported the United States during the American Revolution, saw an opportunity to use a donkey as a way to shore up diplomatic relations with the new republic and protect their interests in North America.
On today’s show, Professor José Emilio Yanes joins Jim Ambuske to discuss his new book, El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift.
Yanes is a veterinarian and Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca in Spain. As the title of his work suggests, it is a Spanish language book, one that makes use of manuscripts in Spanish archives to flesh out Royal Gift’s story.
We spoke last fall with the help of his friend and collaborator, Allan Winn, Jr., who it so happens is a native of Alexandria, Virginia who has lived in Spain for many years now and runs Allan School of English in Zamora.
If Spanish happens to be your mother tongue, or if you are like me and you are desperately trying to get better at it, please check out the Spanish-language version of this episode, which will appear in your podcast feed.
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About Our Guests:
José Emilio Yanes Garcia is Superior Polytechnic School of Zamora and Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca (Spain). He is the author of El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift (2019).
Allan R. Winn, Jr. is a native of Alexandria, Virginia who now resides in Zomora, Spain. He is the proprietor of Allan School of English. Winn assisted Yanes with translation work in El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington and provided translation for this episode.
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