13072016-IMG_7231The European Academy of Yuste Foundation has started its course entitled ‘Hispanic kingdoms from Fernando the Catholic to Carlos V: European and American political and cultural projection’. It explores, amongst other themes: the consequences and repercussions of the last testament of Fernando the Catholic, signed in the Extremaduran town of Madrigalejo in 1516; his grandson, Carlos I’s governing of Hispanic kingdoms that same year; and the latter’s coronation as Holy Roman Emperor in 1520. These were the events which led to the union between Europe and the New World when the Emperor inherited the rights to the Indies. The course also covers political inequalities in Spanish kingdoms during the transformation of Western Europe; the Empire’s governance of the New World; and cultural influences and relationships in the Spanish American Empire.

Rosa María Martínez de Codes, Professor of American History at Madrid Complutense University and course director took part in the opening, as well as Miguel Ángel Martín Ramos, the Foundation’s delegate for European Affairs in Brussels, who explained that the course was one of the events planned for the commemoration of the death of Fernando the Catholic in Madrigalejo organised by the town hall. The course, he said, “examines a historical period in which Spain, Europe and the New World united”. He added how this was important because it “reminds us of the Emperor, teaches us about history and his values, and brings him closer to today’s society”. Martín Ramos went on to explain how one of the objectives of the Foundation, located at the Monastery of Yuste where Carlos V died, is “to promote European initiatives and values”.

The University of Extremadura’s Vice-Chancellor, Maribel López, said that the courses put on by the University and the Foundation “honour” the spirit of Extremadura because “we are interested in European projection, to border countries such as Portugal, and to America”. The Vice-Chancellor urged students “to be critical and to provoke” so that teachers can see subjects in a new light: it results in “us all constructing a European citizenship together, based on knowledge and culture: it’s a way we can advance and all become better citizens”.

The Prior of the Royal Monastery of Yuste, Padre Pablo Stepkowski, discussed the Hungarian Pauline Order’s confirmation of evidence linking their Order, Saint Paul the Hermit, with the “evangelisation of the New World”: proof found in a letter kept in the Lisbon public archive with a request from Queen Isabel I of Castille to the Hungarian Hermit General, Tomás Szombathelyi, to send “new religious workers” to the New World.

The Prior added that it is a great source of pride for his Order that Carlos V’s ideas “continue to inspire new generations of teachers and students in the search for the spiritual and intellectual roots of Europe in the twenty-first century”.

Speaking at the event are: José Manuel Calderón, archivist and librarian from the Casa de Alba Foundation; Gustaaf Janssens, professor emeritus from the University of Leuven, honorary archivist of the Royal Brussels Palace archive, and European Academy of Yuste academic; Agustín Bermúdez, President of the International Institute for the History of Indian Rights; Manuela Mendonça, President of the Portuguese Academy of History and member of Yuste Academy; César Chaparro, Director of CEXECI; María José Rebollo, Doctor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Extremadura, and others.

The course has been organised by the European Academy of Yuste Foundation and the University of Extremadura, with collaboration from CEXECI (The Extremaduran Centre for Study and Cooperation with Ibero-America) and is being put on as part of the events planned to commemorate the fifth centenary of the death of Fernando the Catholic in Madrigalejo.

The European Foundation of Yuste Academy has given 30 grants for university students coming from Seville, Madrid Complutense, Salamanca, Oviedo, Alicante, Extremadura, Malaga, and Santiago de Compostela Universities.