Real Academia de la Historia

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Template:Infobox historic site Template:Lang (English: Royal Academy of History) is a Spanish institution based in Madrid that studies history "ancient and modern, political, civil, ecclesiastical, military, scientific, of letters and arts, that is to say, the different branches of life, of civilisation, and of the culture of the Spanish people".

The Academy was established in 1738. Since 1836 it has occupied an 18th-century building designed by the neoclassical architect Juan de Villanueva.

Biographical dictionary

In 2011 the Academy published the first 20 volumes of a dictionary of national biography, the Diccionario Biográfico Español, to which some five thousand historians contributed. The publicly funded publication has been subject of controversy for failing to achieve the standards of objectivity associated with, for example, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The British Dictionary restricted itself to persons who were deceased, and the historian Henry Kamen has argued that it was a mistake for its Spanish equivalent to include living figures among entries. However, while there was criticism of entries for some living people (such as the politician Esperanza Aguirre), the main allegations of bias concern articles relating to Francoist Spain. A notable example is the entry on Francisco Franco, written by Luis Suárez Fernández, in which Franco is defined as an autocratic head of state rather than a dictator.<ref name="Marcos30052011" /> In contrast, the administration of the democratically elected President Negrín is described as dictatorial.<ref name="elmundo30052011">La Real Academia de la Historia 'no corregirá' la polémica biografía de Franco, El Mundo</ref>

The dictionary sparked an outcry. Most objections came from voices on the left such as the party United Left and the newspaper Público.<ref name="elmundo30052011" /> For his part, Green party senator Joan Saura asked for publication of the dictionary to be stopped and the offending volumes withdrawn. There was also a call for corrections from the Ministry of Education. The Academy announced in June 2011 that amendments would be made to the text on line and in future paper editions. However, in 2012, when the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, made a statement on the subject of the dictionary, it was still not clear whether the Academy was willing to describe Franco as a dictator.


As formerly the main Spanish institution for antiquaries, the Academy retains significant libraries and collections of antiquities, which cannot be seen by the public. The keeper of antiquities is the prehistorian Martín Almagro Gorbea.

Items held include:

  • The Glosas Emilianenses
  • The Roda Codex
  • The Missorium of Theodosius I, a large ceremonial silver dish, probably made in Constantinople for the tenth anniversary (decennalia) in 388 of the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I, the last Emperor to rule both the Eastern and Western Empires. It is one of the best surviving examples of Late Antique Imperial imagery and one of finest examples of late Roman goldsmith work.


Some Spanish historians consider it an obsolete misogynist institution, that still considers history as a matter of kings and battles.<ref name="Marcos30052011">Marcos, J. M. and Corroto, P. and Jaén, B. García "Los historiadores se alarman ante la hagiografía de Franco" in Público, 30 May 2011</ref>


The Real Academia de la Historia is composed of 36 members, with Academic Correspondents covering all the provinces of Spain and the rest of the world, taking the actual number to 370 (2006). The members of the Academy are (after the number of chair):

File:Real Cédula (17 de junio de 1738).png
Royal approval of the first statute of the Real Academia de la Historia 17 June 1738
  1. Vicente Pérez Moreda
  2. Hugo O'Donnell, 7th Duke of Tetuan
  3. Francisco Rodríguez Adrados
  4. Luis Suárez Fernández
  5. Feliciano Barrios Pintado
  6. José Ángel Sánchez Asiaín
  7. Josefina Gómez Mendoza
  8. José Remesal Rodríguez
  9. Vacant
  10. Luis Miguel Enciso Recio
  11. Martín Almagro Gorbea
  12. Carlos Seco Serrano
  13. José María Blázquez Martínez
  14. Francisco Javier Puerto Sarmiento
  15. Gonzalo Anes y Álvarez de Castrillón (Director de la Academia)
  16. Antonio Cañizares Llovera
  17. José Alcalá-Zamora y Queipo de Llano
  18. José Antonio Escudero López
  19. Luis Ribot
  20. Fernando Díaz Esteban
  21. José Angel Sesma Muñoz
  22. Enriqueta Vila Vilar
  23. Mª del Carmen Iglesias Cano
  24. Fernando Marías Franco
  25. Miguel Ángel Ladero Quesada
  26. Serafín Fanjul García
  27. Miguel Ángel Ochoa Brun
  28. Luis Alberto de Cuenca y Prado
  29. José Luis Díez García
  30. Carmen Sanz Ayán
  31. Faustino Menéndez Pidal de Navascués
  32. Carlos Martínez Shaw
  33. Eloy Benito Ruano
  34. Miguel Artola Gallego
  35. Vacant
  36. Luis Agustín García Moreno

Academic Correspondents

Notable Academic Correspondents of the Academy include:

  • Sir Raymond Carr


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External links

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