The University of Granada was founded in 1526 by Emperor Charles V for religious reasons to extend the Catholic faith in view of their blatant policy failure to christianize the Moors in the kingdom of Granada (which the Catholic Monarchs conquered from the Arabs in 1492). Although it was supervised by the Emperor, it was basically organized and financed by the Church, and it was destined to become the cultural vehicle for the education of the learned (lawyers, humanists and theologists), who defended the faith and held office in the kingdom. In 1531 Pope Clemente VII granted Granada the same prerogatives, privileges and facultatives as Bologna, Paris, Salamanca and Alcala. In 1532 the professorships of Philosophy, Law, Canon Law and Medicine came into being. Taking into account the terms of its foundation, it is not surprising that the studies of Theology and Canon Law were the most important from the outset. At the end of the 18th century after the Jesuits were expelled, important reforms were undertaken as studies were in full decline: the proferssorships which hitherto had been strongly linked to religious services, severed their ties. Pure sciences (Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry etc.) were introduced into the curricula of the Faculty of Arts, dignifying the study of Philosophy in the face of the three larger faculties, two of which (Law and Canon Law) were fused into Jurisprudence. At the same time the studies of Greek and Hebrew acquired a certain relevance. A large library was also created with numerous, valuable books and manuscripts from the Jesuits. The reforms which were nearing completion at the beginning of the 19th century were curtailed by the War of Independence. Progressive advances become more apparent from the middle of the 19th century. During the first half of the 20th century, the University continued to expand and created the College of Arabian Studies, to cite only one example. Between the fifties and sixties its large student population made it the third university in Spain. Its influence has extended geographically to other faculties, colleges and learning centres like Almeria or Jaen (now independent universities), Ceuta or Melilla.
After its statutes were approved in 1985 the university underwent a great period of expansion which was reflected amongst other things by the creation of university institutions (Criminology, Regional development, Women's studies, and Biotechnology etc.), university departments (97 to date) and other centres (Scientific instrumentation, a summer centre by the Mediterranean and Modern languages etc.). During this period new faculties have been created ( Library studies and Documentation, Physical and Sports Education, Political Sciences and Sociology, Economics and Business Studies, Translating and Interpretation, Psychology) numbering 14 in all, mainly located on the Cartuja and Fuentenueva campuses and new degrees have been introduced (Engineering, Arquitecture and Computer studies). All this together with the creation of new supportive services to the University Community (Student Guidance and Support, International Relations, and Covenants etc.) corrobarate the potential and dynamics of a university which wishes to project itself both national and internationally through its teaching and research. In spite of the fact that Granada has lost students to the campuses of Jaen and Almeria, in recent years the number of students registered has exceeded 50.000. With reference to bibliographical infrastructure the majority of the centres have their own libraries and archives as well as a central university library with 1.229 manuscripts (including codexes, manuscripts, collections of documents and loose documents), c. 50 incunables, c. 20.000 printed books from the 16th to 18th centuries, c. 20.000 from the 19th century and c. 35.000 from the 20th century and a Historical Archive with more than 11.000 entries. The total number of volumes belonging to the university comes to more than 700.000 with approximately 40% on C.D. rom at present which are accessible through Internet (http://www.ugr.es).
M.C. Calero Palacios, I. Arias de Saavedra & C. Viñes Millet, Historia de la Universidad de Granada, ( Historia y Patrimonio 7), Universidad de Granada, Granada 1997.
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