1902 Encyclopedia > Spain > Spain - Religion. Education.

(Part 14)


Spain - Religion. Education.

Religion. Roman Catholicism is the established religion, and the church and clergy are maintained by the state. The immense majority of the people (in 1877 16,603,959 out of a total of 16,634,345) are professed adherents of this faith, so that, so far as numbers go, Spain is still the most "Catholic" country in the world, as it has long been styled. According to Willkomm, however, religious indifferentism is now very general, not only among the educated but also among the lower classes; and of the bigotry and fanaticism which in former times led to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of victims at the hands of the Inquisition the only traces at the present day are to be found, says the same authority, in the provinces of Aragon, Navarre, and Estremadura, where the clergy still exercise a considerable influence over the lower orders. By the constitution of 1876 non-Catholics are permitted to exercise their own forms of worship, but they must do so in private and without making any public announcement of their services. At the census of 1877 the total number of Protestants was 6654, a number below that of those entered as rationalists (9645). There are nine archbishoprics (Toledo, Madrid, Burgos, Granada, Santiago, Saragossa, Seville, Tarragona, Valencia, and Valladolid) and forty-five bishoprics. The archbishop of Toledo is primate.

Education.—By the law of July 17, 1857, primary education was declared compulsory on all children of school age (originally fixed at six to nine) and made free to the poor, but the results of the census of 1877, though showing an advance in elementary educa-tion as compared with previous years, makes it clear that this law is far from being efficiently carried out. At that date the total number who could both read and write was 4,071,823, equal to 24.8 per cent, of the population, as against 19.97 per cent, in 1860. The provinces in which the percentage of those able to read and write was greatest were Alava, Burgos, Pontevedra, Madrid, Santander; those in which it was least were the Canary Islands, Granada, Malaga, Almeria, Alicante, Castellon.

There are ten universities—those of Madrid (founded in 1836 to replace the long-celebrated university of Alcala), Barcelona, Granada, Salamanca, Seville, Valencia, Santiago, Saragossa, Valladolid, and Oviedo; that of Madrid is now the most celebrated and the best attended, while that of Salamanca, so renowned in the Middle Ages, is now in least repute.

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