The Royal University of Santiago de Compostela (Galician: Real Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spanish: Real Universidad de Santiago de Compostela) is a public university located in the city of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. A second campus is located in Lugo, Galicia.
In 1504, Pope Julius II approved the foundation of a university in Santiago but "the bull for its creation was not granted by Clement VII until 1526". In 1555 the institute began to separate itself from strictly religious instruction with the help of Cardinal Juan Álvarez de Toledo and started to work towards developing other academic fields, including the emerging science fields.
Today the university's facilities cover more than 1,300,000 square meters. In terms of human resources, the university has more than 2,000 teachers involved in study and research, over 42,000 students, and more than 1,000 people working in administration and services.
The roots of the University go back to 1495, when the Santiago de Compostela solicitor López Gómez de Mazoa founded, with the help of the abbot of San Martiño Pinario, a school for the poor known as "Gramatic Academy" in the monastery of San Paio de Antealtares. Early on, the success of the school was in doubt due to a lack of economic resources. But in the year 1504, Pope Julius II issued a Papal Bull recognizing the institution and allowing for the institution of higher learning in the "Gramatic Academy".
The definitive consolidation of the University comes with Alonso III de Fonseca, named archbishop of Santiago de Compostela in 1507. Fonseca was an extremely erudite man, a Renaissance man and patron of numerous artists of the time, who was in touch with important thinkers such as Erasmus of Rotterdam. At this time the old Pilgrim's Hospital was purchased with the aim of transforming it into a university college. The Santiago Alfeo College, today known as the Fonseca College, was also built, which became the centre of the university life till the second half of the 18th century and still remains emblematic in today's university. At the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries the San Patricio College, or College of the Irish, was created and the San Xerome College was moved to its current location.
In contrast to current practice, these colleges agglutinated all the seats of learning in the same building, where students lived as boarders. At this time, there were the main disciplines: Theology, Grammar and Arts, which were soon complemented with the study of Law (paying special attention to ecclesiastical law) and Medicine, more preoccupied with the health of the soul than about the care of the body.
The 18th century witnessed a profound transformation in the University of Santiago. Not only was it the era when the University escaped completely from the control of the religious orders of the Catholic Church, but it was also a time when the University lost part of its autonomy to the centralising forces of the Spanish Monarchy. It was during this period that Charles III granted the title of "Regia" (in English, Royal) to the University. The University seal is enriched with the Royal Crown over the coat of arms of Castilla, León and Galicia, as well as the most important founders' emblems.
After expelling the Jesuits, Charles III granted their land and buildings in Santiago to the university, thus establishing the core of the new university. Immediately, the University recuperated to its plan of studies disciplines that had been previously given to certain religious congregations, including academic degrees and schools for Experimental Physics or Chemistry.
The beginning of the 20th century produced a new generation of intellectuals closely tied to the university who would make up the core of a revival in the cultural life of Galicia. At the same time, there was a wide acceptance and support to the modern currents of thought. This introduced key figures from different scientific fields in our institutions. This is when the USC experiences a significant growth in the number of students as well as in careers, which also meant a significant growth in infrastructures. Thus, it continued to develop with new buildings, the enlargement of the University Building, the Faculty of Geography and History, and further on accommodation buildings, the College of Veterinary (Galician Parliament), the College of Deaf and Dumbs (Seat of the Xunta de Galicia) and the Faculty and Medicine. Another great project was the establishment of the Hall of Residence in 1930. Definitevely, it is a period of great quantitive and quality changes with an important increase in infrastructures along with the regionalisation of studies in search for a best adaptation to the Galician reality.
Another characteristic of the 20th century was the establishment of agreements with foreign institutions of university education, at first with Portuguese universities. From then on, academic halls were established for women, who became members of the university in the 1913–1914 academic year. Moreover, the number of books of the institution has been increased with new endowments, such as that of the American Library.