Salamanca, University of

Salamanca, University of,

at Salamanca, Spain; founded 1218 by Alfonso IX of León, reorganized 1254 by Alfonso X of Castile and León. It has faculties of philosophy, philology, geography and history, sciences, economic sciences, psychology, chemistry, biology, fine arts, law, medicine, and pharmacy. It also has schools of business, nursing, library science, social studies, and social work and an institute of educational sciences. There are university colleges at Avila and Zamora; the Polytechnic Institute of Zamora is affiliated.

Salamanca, University of

 

one of the oldest universities in Spain and all of Europe. The university was founded in Salamanca in the late 12th or early 13th century. (Most sources give 1218 as the founding date.)

In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the university was one of Europe’s major cultural centers, rivaling the universities at Bologna, Paris, and Oxford. The natural sciences were taught, and the traditions of Arabic culture were studied. The first translations of the works of ibn Sina (Avicenna), ibn Rushd (Averroës), and other outstanding scholars were made at the university, and one of the first encyclopedias was compiled there. The works of professors at the university were translated into many European languages, and the professors were invited to teach at universities in other European countries. During the Inquisition of the 16th century, the University of Salamanca was the only institution where the Copernican system was taught. As a result of Spain’s economic decline in the early 17th century, the university lost its significance, especially after the University of Madrid became the country’s scientific center in the 1860’s.

As of 1973, the university had faculties of philosophy and letters, law, medicine, and science. The student enrollment was approximately 8,000, and the academic staff included about 500 instructors and professors. The university library has holdings of 200,000.

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