Thursday, June 20, 2013
June 20 - University of Oxford
The University of Oxford, located northwest of London on the River Thames, was granted its official charter on June 20, 1214. Teaching existed at Oxford since 1096. Most wealthy Englishmen seeking higher education had previously gone to the University of Paris (now the Sorbonne), but in 1167 King Henry II banned English students from attending. They settled at Oxford instead, which expanded greatly thereafter. In 1209, violent disputes between students and Oxford townspeople led academics to flee en masse to the northeast, establishing what became the University of Cambridge. To reverse Oxford’s loss of prestige and income, a papal emissary formalized the scholars’ situation via a charter. Students returned and colleges were formed, though town-and-gown tensions remained for centuries. Oxford is the English-speaking world’s oldest university and the world’s second-oldest surviving university. Pictured: the iconic Radcliffe Camera (1749), part of Oxford’s Bodleian Library (“the Bod”), and All Souls College.