Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico
|Real y Pontificia Universidad de México|
|Active||21 September 1551–1865|
|Location||Mexico City, Mexico|
The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico (in Spanish: Real y Pontificia Universidad de México) was founded on 21 September 1551 by Royal Decree signed by Charles I of Spain, in Valladolid, Spain. It is generally considered the first university officially founded in North America and second in the Americas (preceded by the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru, chartered on May 12 of the same year).
After the Mexican War of Independence it was renamed University of Mexico. It was closed during the years 1833, 1857, 1861 and 1865; the main reason being that it was not well regarded by the liberals, who called it an example of cultural lag.
During the Second Mexican Empire, the University was reopened by Maximilian I of Mexico and, after the victory by the liberals in 1867, closed for good. Scattered institutions, mainly civil colleges founded by the liberals and religious establishments outside Mexico City, continued without interruption.
The university was organized by five faculties: Theology, Laws, Fees, Medicine and Arts. The principal subjects or chairs (in Spanish, cátedras) were Prima and Vísperas, due to the first class was in the morning and the second at evening. The university grants different grades like bachiller, licenciado, maestro and doctor, that means bachelor, graduate, mastery and doctorate.
- Bartolomé de Alva, Roman Catholic secular clergyman and Nahuatl translator.
- Agustín Dávila Padilla (1562–1604), chronicler of the Dominican Order and its missions in America up to the end of the 16th century.
- Juan José Eguiara y Eguren (? - 1763), Roman Catholic bishop and scholar who served as its rector.
- Francisco Cervantes de Salazar (1514? – 1575), distinguished writer who served twice as rector during its early years.
- Alonso Gutiérrez (1507–1584), Augustinian philosopher, historian and intellectual figure.
- Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645–1700), cartographer, historian and philosopher of the late 17th century.
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