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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Jesuit teachers were installed


Jesuit colleges.]

[Sidenote: Other schools of higher education.]

[Sidenote: The _Casa de Contrataci?n_ as a maritime university.]

There were also various other institutions of higher education. One of them, the Estudios Reales de San Isidro of Madrid, founded early in the reign of Philip IV for the education of the sons of the greater nobility, ranked with the universities. Jesuit teachers were installed. This was not the first instance of Jesuit instruction in the peninsula. By their vows the Jesuits were obliged to found "colleges," but this term meant houses for study, only in that the members of the order living in these institutions pursued investigations there. Gradually, outside pupils began to be accepted by the Jesuits, who soon won a great reputation for their efficiency as teachers. Their teaching was markedly influenced by Renaissance ideals, for the study of classical authors formed one of the principal elements in their curriculum. They devoted themselves to the education of the wealthy classes, leaving the field of vocational preparation to the universities. Apart from the Jesuit colleges there were various schools, both religious and secular, primarily for the study of Latin. They were in essence schools of literature, at which students were given practice in the writing of poetry and the reciting of verses, both Latin and Castilian. It is said that there were

more than four thousand of these institutions in 1619, although their numbers declined greatly with the advance of the century. In addition there were many schools of a purely professional character, such as those for the study of religion, war, medicine, and nautical science. The school of nautical science of the _Casa de Contrataci?n_ of Seville merits special attention. Among the manifold functions of the _Casa_ in its relation to the Americas was that of the pursuit of scientific studies to facilitate overseas communication, and this was carried out to such an extent that the _Casa_ was a veritable maritime university. Mathematics, cosmography, geography, cartography, navigation, the construction and use of nautical instruments, and military science (in so far as it related to artillery) were taught at the _Casa_, and in nearly all of these respects that institution not only outranked the others in Spain but was able also to add materially to the sum total of world knowledge. Primary education continued to be neglected. The current belief was that it was unnecessary unless one intended to pursue a professional career. The education of the masses for the sake of raising the general level of culture, or even for technical advancement, was a problem which was not as yet comprehended. Such primary schools as there were, were usually ecclesiastical or private foundations. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and Christian doctrine were the subjects taught. Taken as a whole it will be seen that the number of teaching establishments had vastly increased over that of the preceding eras. An understanding of the superior facilities available for the upper classes would not be complete without a reference to the extraordinary diffusion of printing in this era. Although the publication of works was subject to various conditions, printed books fairly came into their own, for the first time in the history of the peninsula. A number of great libraries were formed. It is worthy of mention, too, that it was at this time that care began to be taken in the accumulation of public documents in archives. In 1558 Philip II founded an archive at Rome, and in 1563 made a beginning of the famous state archive at Simancas.

[Sidenote: Neglect of primary education.]

[Sidenote: Great age of printing.]

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