The University of Salamanca (Spanish: Universidad de Salamanca) is a Spanish higher education institution, located in the town of Salamanca, west of Madrid, in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It was founded in 1134 and given the Royal charter of foundation by King Alfonso IX in 1218. It is the oldest founded university in Spain and the fourth oldest European university in continuous operations. The formal title of "University" was granted by King Alfonso X in 1254 and recognized by Pope Alexander IV in 1255.
Salamanca draws undergraduate and graduate students from across Spain; it is the top-ranked university in Spain based on the number of students coming from other regions. It is also known for its Spanish courses for non-native speakers, which attract more than two thousand foreign students each year. Today the University of Salamanca is an important center for the study of humanities and is particularly noted for its language studies, as well as laws and economics. Scientific research is carried out in the university and research centers associated with it, such as at the Centro de Investigación del Cáncer [Cancer Research Centre], Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León [Institute of Neuroscience of Castile and León], Centro de Láseres Pulsados Ultracortos Ultraintensos [Ultrashort Ultraintense Pulse Lasers Centre].
In conjunction with the University of Cambridge, the University of Salamanca co-founded the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) in 1989. In 2009, preparations were being made for the celebration of the institution's eighth centennial.
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