Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino
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|Type||Public. It disappeared in 1823 (It was closed by the Haitian Government after invading Santo Domingo in 1822).|
|Established||1538 (unofficially), not by the "Pase Regio" of the King of Spain until 1551 (official establishment).|
|Location||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic|
The Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino (St. Thomas Aquinas University) founded in 1538 in Santo Domingo, in the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, present-day Dominican Republic, was the first institution of higher education in the western hemisphere. It ceased to operate in 1823.
Founded during the reign of Charles I of Spain, it was originally a seminary operated by Catholic monks of the Dominican Order. Later, the institution was reorganized as a university by a papal bull (In Apostulatus Culmine dated 28 October 1538 by Pope Paul III); however, it was not officially recognized by Royal Decree until 1558. It was then called Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino (University of Saint Thomas Aquinas).
The Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino' was created by the Papal Bull In Apostolatus St Thomas Aquinas Culminates with the name of University, on October 28, 1538. With this act by Pope Paul III, it became the first university in the Western Hemisphere.
Prior to its conversion into a full university, the institution had been a Studium Generate (seminary), founded in 1518 and operated by the Dominican Order.
In its structure and purpose the new university was modeled after the University of Alcalá in the city of Henares, Spain. In this capacity it became a standard-bearer for the medieval ideology of the Spanish Conquest, and received royal recognition in 1558. In this royal decree, the university was given the name University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino).
The university was closed in 1801 under the French, but reopened in 1815 as a secular institution. It closed for good during the Haitian Unification of Hispaniola, when all students were ordered into military services.