Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico

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Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico
Real y Pontificia Universidad de México
Active 21 September 1551–1865
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Location Mexico City, Mexico
Campus Urban

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.[1] It is generally considered the first university officially[2] 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.

Traditionally, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Pontifical University of Mexico are considered its institutional heirs.


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.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ Olvera Arce, Guillermo (2000-05-20). "Real y Pontificia Universidad de México" (in Spanish). El Universal (Mexico City). 
  2. ^ Founded by Royal Decree of Charles I of Spain on September 12, 1551.

See also[edit]