On October 22, 1920, it was incorporated in Madrid and also in
all of continental Europe
First Rotary Club. Like very
says Julio Ponce Alberca, a professor at the University of Seville, thanks to the sponsorship of a Hispanic Rotarian from Florida (Ángel R. Cuesta) and the work
of four founding partners: Gabriel Gancedo, Carles Montañès, Gabriel Montero and Crótido de Simón. Some thirteen months later, on December 13, 1921, at a meeting
in the office of Mr. WE Powell, a
American businessman, resident in Barcelona and president of the American Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club became a reality
of Barcelona and the first board was appointed
of the club Its composition was as follows:
WE Powell, as president, Lluís y Soler, vice president, Carles, secretary, Mr. Cadwell, treasurer, Pere Coll y Llach, censor, Joan Jalibert,
Rotary International is an organization founded in 1905 by Paul Percy Harris, an American lawyer from Illinois. Currently, this movement also brings together 1.4 million members grouped into some 35,000 clubs, practically present in every country in the world. Women were not admitted until 1989.
Some famous Rotarians are Pope Francis, Beyoncé or Angela Merkel
In the Spanish State there are more than 5,000 members distributed in some 200 clubs. In Catalonia there are more than 46 clubs and in Barcelona, 16. At this point, we can cite some famous Rotarians such as Pope Francis, the singer Beyoncé, the former German chancellor Angela Merkel, the singer Rihanna, the basketball player Pau Gasol and, even recently, doctor Moisès Broggi.
One of the ideas that stands out in the approaches of this organization is that business does not have to deal with friendship, quite the contrary. If business goes well and works, they will contribute to providing humanitarian aid to those in need, promote high standards of ethics in all human activities and will also contribute to the spread of good and peace throughout the world. These are the main ideas of this club.
To belong to the club it is necessary that one stands out in an important professional or business activity. Once admitted, attend the weekly or monthly meetings around a table and pay the dues.
After reviewing the documentation, although other people accompanied him, we can affirm that it was Carles Emili Montañès i Criquillion, a Catalan engineer and politician, the main introducer of the Rotary Clubs in Spain and Catalonia. After the adventure of being civil governor of Barcelona during the Canadian strike, at the end of 1919 and beginning of 1920, he made a trip to the United States, where he maintained relevant contacts with personalities that were part of the International Rotary Club. . Back he gave himself body and soul to organize Rotarianism in Spain.
At that time Carles Montañès was a deputy in the Cortes of Madrid and also a great friend of King Alfonso XIII. It was he, with his political contacts, who got the Rotary Club recognized by the country’s authorities. On April 15, 1925, while he was president of the Rotary Club of Madrid, the president of the International Rotary Club, M. Everett W. Hill, was received by King Alfonso XIII, accompanied by Montañès himself.
Carles Montañès was also very interested in establishing the Rotary Club of Barcelona. The six members that form part of the first board are personal friends of Carles Montañès and a large number are also collaborators in his businesses, as is the case of Lluís Riera y Soler, an engineer and member of the company Royal Filmes that Montañès presided over, and Carles Carandini, who shared business with Montañès on electrical components for cars.
It must also be explained that the mother of Carles Montañès was American, which meant that from a very young age Carles Montañès was part of the English colony of Barcelona where the North Americans were also present.
Carles Montañès also intervened in the year 1925 in the formation of the Rotary Club of Zaragoza and in the year 1928 in that of Valencia. By the way, Nicolás Franco, brother of the dictator, was a member of the Rotary Club of Valencia.
Carles Montañès was a very discreet man, which is why he often appears in the background, but the documents do not lie and for this reason we can affirm that he was the main introducer of Rotarianism in the Spanish State.
With the arrival of Francoism, all the rotary clubs were dissolved, but the one in Madrid, hidden behind a tourist entity, Arte y Turismo, somehow continued to function, and also the one in Barcelona, behind the “Tuesday Lunch” .
One of the grandsons of Carles Montañès tells me that he was unaware that the Rotarians had been suppressed and persecuted by Franco, because his grandfather, accompanied by his mother, attended the meetings every week as a normal thing.
Rotary clubs are currently working to eradicate polio from around the world, and in these difficult times, many clubs also have programs to give food and meals to those in need.
These lines serve as information and also as a tribute to the humanitarian work carried out by this international organization.
Congratulations on the hundred years!
We thank the Rotary members, Raül Font-Quer from Tarragona, Jordi Grau i Bastardes and Xavier Sedó i Conde, recently pierced by the covid, from Barcelona for the information provided.