University of Salamanca: Wikis

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University of Salamanca
Universidad de Salamanca

Seal of the University of Salamanca
Latin: Universitas Studii Salamanticensis
Established 1218
Type Public
Rector José J Gómez Asencio (acting)
Faculty 2,453 [1]
Staff 1,252 [1]
Students ca. 28,000 [2]
Doctoral students 2,240 [2]
Location Salamanca, Spain
Campus Urban
Affiliations EUA, Coimbra Group
Website www.usal.es
Plateresque facade of the University facing a statue of Fray Luis de León.
The old library of the University of Salamanca
Fray Luis de León's classroom

The University of Salamanca (Spanish: Universidad de Salamanca), located in the town of Salamanca, west of Madrid and close to Portugal, is the oldest university in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe.

Contents

History

The university was founded as a "General School of the kingdom" by the Leonese king Alfonso IX in 1218. On the basis of a papal bull by Alexander IV in 1225, the school obtained the title of University, the first in Europe. (The older Spanish "Estudio general de Palencia", which soon disappeared, never received the title of University),[3]. This foundation did not last and the university was refounded by Alfonso's son, King St. Ferdinand III in 1243.

The historical phrases Quod natura non dat, Salamantica non praestat (what nature does not give, Salamanca does not lend, in latin) and Multos et doctissimos Salmantica habet (many and very versed Salamanca has) give an idea of the prestige the institution rapidly acquired.[4]

In the reign of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, the Spanish government was revamped. Contemporary with the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of the Jews, and the conquest of Granada, there was a certain professionalization of the apparatus of the state. This involved the massive employment of "letrados", i.e., bureaucrats and lawyers, who were "licenciados" (university graduates), particularly, of Salamanca, and the newly founded University of Alcal√°. These men staffed the various councils of state, including, eventually, the Consejo de Indias and Casa de Contratacion, the two highest bodies in metropolitan Spain for the government of the Spanish Empire in the New World.

While Columbus was lobbying the King and Queen for a contract to seek out a western route to the Indies, he made his case to a council of geographers at the University of Salamanca. In the next century, the morality of colonization in the Indies was debated by the School of Salamanca, along with questions of economics, philosophy and theology.

By the end of the Spanish Golden Age (c. 1550-1650), the quality of academics in Spanish universities declined. The frequency of the awarding of degrees dropped, the range of studies shrank, and there was a sharp decline in the number of its students. The centuries old European wide prestige of Salamanca declined.

Like Oxford and Cambridge, Salamanca had a number of colleges (Colegios Mayores). These were founded as charitable institutions to enable poor scholars to attend the University. By the eighteenth century they had become closed corporations controlled by the families of their founders, and dominated the university between them. Most were destroyed by Napoleon's troops. Today some have been turned into faculty buildings while others survive as halls of residence.

In the 19th century, the Spanish government dissolved the university's faculties of canon law and theology. They were later reestablished in the 1940s as part of the Pontifical University of Salamanca.

Present day

Salamanca draws undergraduate and graduate students from across Spain; it is the top-ranked university in Spain based on the number of students coming from other regions.[5] It is also known for its Spanish courses for non-native speakers, which attract more than two thousand foreign students each year.[6]

Today the University of Salamanca is an important center for the study of humanities and is particularly noted for its language studies. State-of-the-art scientific research is carried out in the university and research centers associated with it, such as Centro de Investigación del Cáncer,[7] Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León,[8] Centro de Láseres Pulsados Ultracortos Ultraintensos.

In conjunction with the University of Cambridge, the University of Salamanca co-founded the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) in 1989.

In 2009, preparations were being made for the celebration of the institution's eighth centennial.[9]

Notable people

Notable students and academic teachers include:

See also

References

External links

Coordinates: 40¬į57‚Ä≤42‚Ä≥N 5¬į40‚Ä≤03‚Ä≥WÔĽŅ / ÔĽŅ40.961612¬įN 5.667607¬įWÔĽŅ / 40.961612; -5.667607

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