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The name of the founder and the date of foundation of the University of Valladolid are not known with certainty. Its origin probably dates from 1260-64; in 1293 the university was in a most flourishing condition. Alfonso XI was the patron of Valladolid, just as Alfonso the Wise had been that of Salamanca. He provided a fixed revenue for the estudios , of one third the tithes received from Valladolid and its surrounding hamlets, conferred many honours on its professors, and finally petitioned Clement VI for papal authorization, which was given in the Bull of 30 July, 1346. All the courses embraced by the great universities, including medicine and surgery, were installed, the latter branch being later separated and constituted a special course. According to Morejón (see bibl.), medical science in Spain substituted the system of Hippocrates for Arab methods much earlier than foreign writers have asserted. In 1513 the physician Barnadino Montana de Monserrata, in his book "Libro de la anatomia del hombre" (folio 3), said that to study surgery it was necessary to go to either Montpelier, Bologna, or Valladolid. At Valladolid the lectures were so famous that Montana at the age of seventy was carried in a litter to hear the lectures of Prof. Alfonso Rodriguez de Guevara. The professor of surgery made twenty-five dissections in the general hospital each term. The professor and students of botany went into the country to make a practical study of plant life. The influence of the university was very great in both State and Church.

From the catalogue of famous students in the "Historia de Valladolid" the following names are taken: Juan Auves, doctor of canon law, librarian of Santa Cruz, and Bishop of Ciudad (d. 1549); Antolinez de Burgos, first historian of the city; Augustin Antolinez, Augustinian, professor of the university and of that of Salamanca; Tomás Arizmendi, counsellor of Castile ; Lorenzo Arrazola, chief counsellor of the Crown; Pedro Avila y Soto, professor of the university, counsellor of the Indies and of Castile, criminal prosecutor of the Crown, and counsellor of the army; Gaspar R. Bravo de Somonte, professor and physician to Philip IV and Charles II; Breton y Simancas, Bishop and Viceroy of Naples ; Pedro Cevallos, minister of Ferdinand VII; Agustin Esteban Collantes, minister of Isabella II; Dionisio Daza y Chacón, distinguished physician who rendered valuable services at Augsburg during the plague of 1564, was surgeon to Maximilian, the princess Dona Juana, physician of Don Carlos and Don Juan of Austria in the battle of Alpujarra; Diego Escudero, compiler of the "Nueva Recopilación"; José Larra (Figaro), celebrated litterateur ; Luis Mercado, prof., and physician to Philip II during the last twenty years of his life, an eminent writer greatly misunderstood by Sprengel; Claudio Moyano, educational reformer, professor, and afterwards minister under Isabella II; José Zorrilla, noted poet. The controversy between the Jesuits and the Dominicans with regard to grace and free will, which interested all the universities of Spain, involved the University of Valladolid even more deeply, as Diego Alvarez, one of its professors, and Avendaño, both Dominicans, opposed the doctrine of Molina. Of all the religious orders the Augustinians alone maintained an independent position. Their moderation contributed to dissipate much ill feeling aroused by the discussion. In 1770 certain royal privileges gave rise to heated controversy.

The early days of the university were mostly unpretentious; it had only seven courses, the deplorable state of the times not permitting anything else. The residence of the Court of Valladolid contributed to its development. In the various grants of privileges given by the kings the services rendered by this university to the Crown are explicitly stated. In the time of Charles V and Philip II the rank of university was conferred upon it. In the time of Charles III the colleges which had grown up around the university were dealt their death blow by the ministry of Roda, and since then the university has suffered from the changes, reforms, and systems which the central government of Spain has imposed on all the universities.

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