University of Coimbra
The history of the University of Coimbra dates back to the century subsequent to the very foundation of the Portuguese nation, since the University was established in the 13th century, in 1290. Prior to this date, in 1288, a Supplication was made to Pope Nicholas IV (of which only the transcription is known) on 17 November 1288, which was signed by the abbots of the Monasteries of Alcobaça, Santa Cruz of Coimbra, and S. Vicente of Lisbon, and by the superiors of 24 churches and convents of the Kingdom. This document requested the foundation of a “General Study” and stated that its running would be the responsibility of those religious institutions. It is not known whether the Supplication reached the Holy See or not. Source: http://www.uc.pt/en/acerca/historia/historiauniversidade
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Coimbra à noite!
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Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.