University of Salamanca

The University of Salamanca (Spanish: Universidad de Salamanca) is a Spanish higher education institution, located in the city of Salamanca, in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It was founded in 1218 by King Alfonso IX. It is the oldest university in the Hispanic world and one of the oldest in the world in continuous operation.

University of Salamanca
Universidad de Salamanca
University of Salamanca vector seal.svg
Seal of the University of Salamanca
Latin: Universitas Studii Salamanticensis
MottoOmnium scientiarum princeps Salmantica docet (Latin)
Motto in English
The principles of all sciences are taught in Salamanca
Academic affiliations
EUA, Coimbra Group
RectorRicardo Rivero Ortega
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Studentsca. 28,000[3]
Location, ,
40°57′41″N 5°40′01″W / 40.96133760°N 5.66692510°W / 40.96133760; -5.66692510Coordinates: 40°57′41″N 5°40′01″W / 40.96133760°N 5.66692510°W / 40.96133760; -5.66692510
CampusUrban/College Town
Colours  Carmine Edit this at Wikidata
Universidad de Salamanca logo
University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[4]601-700 (2019)
CWTS World[5]699 (2019)
QS World[6]601-650 (2020)
THE World[7]601–800 (2020)
USNWR Global[8]651 (2020)
Close up of the plateresque façade of the University of Salamanca.
Plateresque façade of the University facing a statue of Fray Luis de León.
School Courtyard in the University.
The old library of the University of Salamanca.
Fray Luis de León's classroom.


Prior to the foundation of the university, Salamanca was home to a cathedral school, known to have been in existence by 1130. The university was founded as a studium generale by the Leonese King Alfonso IX in 1218 as the scholas Salamanticae, with the actual creation of the university (or the transformation of the existing school into the university) occurring between August 1218 and the following winter.[1] A further royal charter from King Alfonso X, dated 8 May 1254, established rules for the organisation and financial endowment of the university, and referred to it for the first time by that name.[9] A papal bull of Alexander IV in 1255 confirmed the Royal Charter of Alfonso X and granted universal recognition to the university's degrees.[10]

The historical phrases Quod natura non dat, Salmantica 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.[11][failed verification]

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 Muslims, 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 Alcalá. 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.[citation needed]

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. While the geographers were skeptical of Columbus and his voyage calculations, the University of Salamanca always defended the theory of unknown territories to the west, and supported Columbus' voyage, believing that new territories may be discovered. In the next century, the morality and laws of colonization in the Indies were debated by the School of Salamanca, along with the development of the study of science, geography and cartography of the Americas, and as well as the study of general subjects of economics, philosophy and theology.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Related affairsEdit

The faculty of this university discussed the feasibility of Christopher Columbus's project and the effects his claims brought. Once America was discovered, they discussed the rights of indigenous people as being recognized with full plenitude, which was revolutionary for that period, economic processes were analyzed for the first time and they developed the science of law as it became a classical scholarly focus. It was the period when some of the brightest minds attended the university and it was known as the School of Salamanca. The school's members renovated theology, laid the foundation for modern-day law, international law, modern economic science and actively participated in the Council of Trent. The school's mathematicians studied the calendar reform, commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII and proposed the solution that was later implemented. By 1580, 6,500 new students had arrived at Salamanca each year, amongst the graduates were state officials of the Spanish monarchy administration were nourished. It was also during this period when the first female university students were probably admitted, Beatriz Galindo and Lucía de Medrano, the latter being the first woman ever to give classes at a university.

Present dayEdit

Salamanca draws undergraduate and graduate students from across Spain and the world; it is the top-ranked university in Spain based on the number of students coming from other regions.[12] It is also known for its Spanish courses for non-native speakers, which attract more than two thousand foreign students each year.[13]

Today, the University of Salamanca is an important center for the study of humanities and is particularly noted for its language studies, as well as in laws and economics. Scientific research is carried out in the university and research centers associated with it, such as at the Centro de Investigación del Cáncer [Cancer Research Centre],[14] Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León or INCyL [Institute of Neuroscience of Castile and León],[15] Centro de Láseres Pulsados Ultracortos Ultraintensos [Ultrashort Ultraintense Pulse Lasers Centre]. It is one of only two Hispanophone universities in the world that have a MoU with the United Nations to train language professionals for the organization.[16] In conjunction with the University of Cambridge, the University of Salamanca co-founded the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) in 1989.

In 2018, the institution celebrated its eighth centennial.[17]


The library holds about 906,000 volumes.[18]

Notable peopleEdit

Notable staffEdit

Notable studentsEdit

Other notable students and academic teachers include:

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Álvarez Villar, Julián (1972). La Universidad de Salamanca: arte y tradiciones. p. 13. ISBN 847481751X.
  2. ^ a b University of Salamanca. "Personal" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  3. ^ a b University of Salamanca. "Estudiantes" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  4. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities - University of Salamanca". Shanghai Ranking. Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  5. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2019". Retrieved 2019-10-13.
  6. ^ "QS World University Rankings - University of Salamanca". Top Universities. Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  7. ^ "World University Rankings - University of Salamanca". THE World University Rankings. Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  8. ^ "Best Global Universities - University of Salamanca". U.S. News Education (USNWR). Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  9. ^ Álvarez Villar, Julián (1972). La Universidad de Salamanca: arte y tradiciones. p. 15. ISBN 847481751X.
  10. ^ "Historia" (in Spanish). University of Salamanca. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  11. ^ VIII Centenario de la Universidad de Salamanca - Reseña Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca:. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  12. ^
  13. ^ La USAL inaugura los cursos de verano con 2.000 estudiantes extranjeros. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  14. ^
  15. ^ (in Spanish) INCyL. INCyL. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  16. ^ "MoU Network". United Nations. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  17. ^ VIII Centenario de la Universidad de Salamanca - VIII Centenario de la Universidad de Salamanca. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  18. ^ Spain – Libraries and museums


  • Manuel Fernández Álvarez, Luis E. Rodríguez San Pedro & Julián Álvarez Villar, The University of Salamanca, Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, 1992. ISBN 84-7481-701-3.

External linksEdit