Colegio Máximo de San Ignacio

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The Colegio de Manila, also known as the Colegio Máximo de San Ignacio, was the first college school for the boys in the Spanish Colonial Period. It was established by the Jesuits in Intramuros, Manila through Fr. Antonio Sedeño, S.J in 1590. However, it was only in 1595 when the college formally opened. The school was located on Calle Real de Palacio (now General Luna Street) and Calle Escuela (now Victoria Street). In 1601, an extension college called the Colegio de San José was also set up as a residential college for students studying at the Colegio de Manila. The two institutions were often confused for one another.

The Colegio de Manila was also regularly referred in history books as Colegio Seminario de San Ignacio, Colegio Máximo de San Ignacio, or simply Colegio de San Ignacio, possibly to distinguish it from the Colegeo de San José. Even though the San Ignacio was not a university in a strict sense, it was still was duly authorized to confer university degrees in theology and arts. This was by virtue of the privileges that Pope Gregory XV had conferred upon all Jesuit colleges in 1621 in a papal brief, giving them the "faculty to confer university degrees". In 1623, the pope's authorization was confirmed by Philip IV of Spain. The decree arrived in Manila in 1625.

It was Philip V of Spain who founded two regius professorships in 1732. The first one was in canon law and the other was in civil. The institution was referred to as the Universidad de San Ignacio in contemporary documents from that date on. A non-ecclesiastical faculty of Jurisprudence or Civil Law was established in 1734. The San Ignacio was considered as the very first university in the Philippines and in Asia.

The Jesuits surrendered the San Ignacio to Spanish civil authorities in 1768, thus ending the institution. The Spaniards were not in favor of the Jesuits of empowering the natives by giving them access to education. As a result, they were suppressed and expelled from Spanish territories including the Philippines. The buildings of the Universidad de San Ignacio were later on converted into a diocesan seminary. And in 1796, it was renamed as Real Seminario Conciliar de San Carlos. The building was damage during the earthquake of 1889. The seminarians had to vacate the building.

What remained of the Univesidad de San Ignacio was merged with the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the University of Santo Tomas in 1895. It was transformed into a military headquarters named Cuartel del Rey or better known as Cuartel de Espana. This was also the place of which Jose Rizal was tried for Sedition in December 26, 1986.

It became the 31st American Infantry Headquarters before World War II. Filipino and American soldiers died fighting for the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. The building was destroyed by the war. At present, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila is situated of what used to be occupied by Universidad de San Ignacio.

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