The New International Encyclopædia/Coimbra, University of

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COIMBRA, University of. The State University of Portugal, and the only university in that kingdom. With some 1600 students in theology, law, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy, its library, hospitals, observatory, museums, and laboratories, it is an institution of great national importance. Its history is long and checkered. Founded in 1290 by the poet-king, Diniz, at Lisbon, a supplementary charter was issued in 1308, transferring it, because of dissensions between town and gown, to Coimbra, the first of a long series of migrations which make it unique among universities. From 1308 to 1380 it vibrated between Coimbra and Lisbon, in the latter year being settled at Lisbon. In 1537 it migrated again to Coimbra, where it has since remained. It was at the beginning of this last period that it reckoned Camoëns (see Camões) among its members. Alone among Continental universities to-day, it preserves the mediæval academic dress; and in this, as in its architecture, traditions, and customs, it finds its only rivals in picturesque interest in Oxford and Cambridge. Consult Braga, Historia da Universidade de Coimbra (Lisbon, 1892).