The University Historical Archives of Santiago de Compostela

Name: Arquivo Histórico Universitario
Address: Casas Reales, 5, 15704 SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (Spain)
Telephone: + 34 981 581325
Fax: + 34 981 574095
Name of director: María José Justo Martín
Number of employees: 16
Opening hours: Monday through Friday: morning 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. afternoon: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. July and August: 9:00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m..

The archives have been connected to the university from its foundation. From the beginning, it was responsible for care taking documents from both the cloister and the very rector, demonstrating its double function. The Archives contain documents created previous to its founding which were written to guarantee the founders' worldly possessions. These are mainly legal and economic in nature.

From the beginning of the 16th century the Archives were under the custody of the Secretary General, who was a sort of scribe before whom would pass all documents related to the university: professors, cloisters, acts, etc.

In the XIX century, the arrival of French troops would create one of the Archive's most serious problems since the times of its foundation, because the French invasions caused the destruction of many documents both of parchment and of paper.

Up until the middle of the 19th century the archives protected all kinds of university documents, including those of both academic and administrative natures. Reforms in the education system in this century would give the rector responsibilities over Primary, Secondary Education along with documents related to art, commerce, notaries, etc., all conserved in the university archives.

In the 20th century the archives have seen both a quantitative as well as qualitative increase. Since the 1940's, documentation related to the city has been added. In 1946 documents related to ecclesiastic institutions affected by the "Desamortización Laws" of the 19th century were added. Another source of documents would be real estate papers from the city halls of Santiago, Boqueixón, Conxo, Vedra and Enfesta.

During the decade 1960 the archives of the Royal Hospital,and the protocols of the Santiago Notary District were incorporated.

In 1973, the Castroviejo Blanco-Cicerón family gave the university a series of 19th century documents related to Galicia politics and government.

From the 80's on the archives have received institutional support, which has allowed it to expand. With the approval of new university statutes, the archives functions, personnel and budget are all specifically stipulated, and the archives were able to receive their own building. It is situated in the old part of the city and has six floors. It is divided into areas for depositing documents, and other areas for work, including a restoration workshop, a microfilm facility, and numerous meeting and exhibition areas.

This building has allowed the archives to acquire new collections. During the decade 1990, a historic protocol called "Land of Santiago", the judicial documents of Ortigueira both from the Notary College of A Coruna, the Municipal Archives of Santiago were incorporated.and also increased Archives of a commercial nature..

Documents related to family archives, politics and labour unions, oral sources, music, the Figueroa Foundation, maps and plans and microfilm documentation are also protected.

During the last two years a digitalizing and computerised indexing plan has been being developed which has greatly increased the Archives efficiency as both a resource centre and a publisher.

In conclusion, the Historic Archives of the University are an authentic Archive of Archives. It is the point of reference in the broad range of historical documents written both in the modern times as well as in medieval times when it was established as the first civil archives in Galicia.


Fasade of the Historical Archives of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Photo: TM)