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Oxford History, United Kingdom

Who hasn’t heard of Oxford University in Great Britain? It is one the landmarks of British education, along with Cambridge University. This Oxford, History guide describes some important moments in the development of the city and of the university within it.

Oxford, History – The Beginnings

The first historic documents of Oxford date as back to 912; therefore, one is not quite sure when this town was exactly set up. Some historians speculate that it was founded by the Neolithic population in this area or even by the Trojans. If there are not important events happening here during the Roman period, the town becomes quite important during the Saxon one. Legend has it that king Alfred the Great himself thought of establishing a university here and we all know how famous it has become!

Oxford, History – Medieval Times

During the Middle Ages, Oxford became an important centre of Catholicism, due to receiving a charter form the Pope in 1214 and the continual arrival and establishing here of monks orders such as the Franciscans and Dominicans. Later on, it gradually developed into England’s main academic centre, being in a direct competition with the University of Paris that was formerly the only choice for English intellectuals. Of course, King Henry’s interdiction for students of choosing Paris over Oxford somehow tipped the balance in favor of the English university. Furthermore, in the 13th century, due to a row between the city’s inhabitants and the professors, a part of the latter left Oxford and went to establish a new university at Cambridge. You can read about this in Cambridge Travel Guide

This Oxford history guide continues with The Black Plague of the 14th century that heavily depopulated Oxford, leaving many properties without owners. The college professors, who retreated to their country houses during the plague, somehow benefited from it as they got the opportunity to enlarge their colleges’ properties in Oxford. Therefore, by the end of the Middle Ages the town was entirely submitted to the university. For those of you who are history passionate, you should also know that Oxford was the place where John Wycliffe got his education and established the movement of the Lollards.

Oxford, History – Nowadays

It is no secret that contemporary times have meant Oxford being flooded with tourists from everywhere, wishing to see England’s oldest university. More importantly, it is a quality standard for academics and academic institutions from all over the world. Though preserving its medieval town flavor, Oxford has also kept up with modern developments, constantly updating both architecture and way of living.

You should also know that Oxford is only about one hour away from London, so if you are in the area try not to miss it. You can get more information about it in London Travel Guide.

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  • Guinevere1988Pitt Rivers Museum
    travel tip by Guinevere1988 posted more then 30 days ago
    The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford has a great display of culturaland archeological items. Everything is categorized by topic, so it is easier for the visitor to understand what he/she is seeing. There are collections of Religious items,...
  • Guinevere1988Sightseeing in Oxford with the bus
    travel tip by Guinevere1988 posted more then 30 days ago
    Sightseeing buses may seem as a waste of time and money, but in the case of towns like Oxford I would say that they are the perfect choice. Oxford official tour bus tickets have an affordable price and if you purchase a ticket you get...
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