Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino

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Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas
Regia y Pontificia Universidad de Santo Thomás de Aquino
University statutes
Active1538 or 1558–1823
FounderPope Paul III
RectorLast: Bernardo Correa y Cidrón
LanguageLatin, Spanish

The Universidad de Santo Tomás de Aquino (St. Thomas Aquinas University) was founded by papal bull in 1538 in Santo Domingo, in the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, present-day Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, it did not obtained the official Privilege by Charles V to be officially recognized as a university until 1558. It was one the first institution of higher education in the New World. It closed 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 received a university charter by Pope Paul III's papal bull In Apostulatus Culmine, dated October 28, 1538. However, it did not obtained the official Privilege by Charles V to be officially recognized as a university until 1558. Thus, there is a debate on whether it is officially the first university in the Americas.

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 gained its royal charter 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 in 1823, during the Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo, when all students were ordered into military services.[1]

The Autonomous University of Santo Domingo was founded 1912 as a successor to extinct University of St. Thomas Aquinas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Las Universidades" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 2, 2015.

Coordinates: 18°27′43″N 69°55′01″W / 18.4620°N 69.9170°W / 18.4620; -69.9170