The Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC, University of San Carlos of Guatemala) is the largest and oldest university of Guatemala; it is also the fourth founded in the Americas. Established in the Kingdom of Guatemala during the Spanish colony, it was the only university in Guatemala until 1954, although it continues to hold distinction as the only public university in the entire country. The university has had five major transformations: The university grew out of the Colegio de Santo Tomás de Aquino (Saint Thomas Aquinas High School), founded in 1562 by Bishop Francisco Marroquín. After a series of major earthquakes in 1773, which destroyed many parts of the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, the crown authorities ordered the evacuation of the city and the relocation of its government, religious and university functions to the new capital La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, the university's present location. In the early years, from the 16th to 19th centuries, it offered studies in civil and liturgical law, theology, philosophy, medicine and indigenous languages. More information...

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