The University of Évora was founded by Cardinal D. Henrique (1512-1580). The construction of the Colégio do Espírito Santo, the institution’s parent building, started between 1551 and 1553, being authorized to operate as a university by Paul IV’s Bull, Cum a Nobis (April 15, 1559).
Entrusted for two hundred years to the Society of Jesus (1559-1759), it would educate the elite of the missionaries who evangelized many and ‘wild’ lands and people of the Portuguese Overseas Empire (16th to 18th centuries).
The pedagogical vocation of the old cloisters persisted even after 1759, when the Marquis of Pombal, having expelled the Jesuits, ceased the education promoted by them in Évora. In fact, the pedagogical innovations of the various regimes would pass through these premises: the Royal Professors of the Pombaline Reform (1762); the reformed Third Order of St. Francis (1776-1816). During liberalism, the Real Casa Pia (1836), the Liceu Nacional (1841-1979), and the Escola Comercial e Industrial (1914) were established here; institutions that contributed to the education and culture of many generations of young people. The University reopened in 1973, as part of the Veiga Simão Reform.