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Oxford University overlaid with Aztec sun stone. Source:  luisrsphoto / Adobe Stock / ryanking999 /Adobe Stock

The University of Oxford is Older than the Aztec Civilization!

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The University of Oxford is so old that its existence predates the Aztec civilization by more than 200 years!

Here are the facts: People were learning at the University of Oxford by 1096 and the founding of Tenochtitlán, generally regarded as the start of the Aztec civilization, took place in 1325.

The University of Oxford website notes that no one knows the exact date of the university’s foundation, but they do know that teaching was taking place in some form there in 1096, and it became more popular when Henry II banned English students from studying at the University of Paris in 1167. By 1249 students were living at Oxford and it already had three of its original “halls of residence”, the University, Balliol, and Merton Colleges.

The University of Oxford is older than the Aztec civilization. (ryanking999 /Adobe Stock)

The University of Oxford is older than the Aztec civilization. ( ryanking999 /Adobe Stock)

So, the popular story goes that the University of Oxford is older than the Aztecs, but it’s worth considering that the origins of the Aztec people, or the Mexica as they called themselves, began outside the Valley of Mexico. A combination of their legends with archaeological records and historical facts suggests that they descended from hunter-gatherer nomads known as the Chichimeca and moved to the Valley of Mexico from their homeland of Aztlan, which may have been located in northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. It’s believed that after about two centuries of migration the Mexica arrived in the Valley of Mexico around 1250.

The Mexica depart from Aztlán. From the 16th Century Codex Boturini. (Public Domain)

The Mexica depart from Aztlán. From the 16th Century Codex Boturini. ( Public Domain )

The point of this article isn’t to compare civilizations; but to better understand the past, it is worthwhile to put events in context. Imagining events in world history can get confusing when people consider what was happening at the same time in the past in the Old World and New World.

Finally, you may be surprised to know that while Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, it isn’t the oldest university still in operation. That prize goes to the University of Al-Qarawiyyin in Fes, Morocco, which was founded by a woman named Fathima Al-Fihri in 859.

Top Image: Oxford University overlaid with Aztec sun stone. Source:   luisrsphoto / Adobe Stock / ryanking999 /Adobe Stock

By Alicia McDermott

Comments

Seems like a dubious comparison…..why the need to “elevate” Oxford by pitting it against a New World civilization? I think it’s a stomach turning notion...keep to your side of the pond please!

 

KiminNehalem

Pete Wagner's picture

How true is what they teach at Oxford?

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

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