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Woodrow Wilson becomes first US President to visit Vatican City
President Woodrow Wilson and King Victor Emmanuel of Italy Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Woodrow Wilson becomes first US President to visit Vatican City

Rome, 6 January 1919 - Woodrow Wilson became the first American President to set foot in Vatican City when he visited Pope Benedict XV on 4 January.

President Wilson was met on his arrival at the Vatican by a platoon of Swiss Guards and by a band of gendarmes playing the American national anthem.

The president’s private audience with the pope lasted 20 minutes during which time the pontiff quizzed Mr Wilson about conditions in the different countries he has recently visited. The pope also presented Mr Wilson with a mosaic reproduction of Guido Breni’s painting of the crucifixion of St Peter.

On departing the Vatican the American president immediately headed for the American Episcopal Church in Rome where he received delegations from protestant denominations.

During the visit, president also met with the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.