Zadar has a centuries-old university tradition, the longest in Croatia: following the tradition of ecclesiastical education, first mentioned in the 10th century, a Dominican higher education institution Studium generale, later known as the Universitas Iadertina, was founded as early as 14 June 1396. The town of Zadar was not chosen as a university centre by chance: at the time, it flourished as the most important naval point in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where the seats of governmental institutions were situated, including the seat of the Austro-Hungarian Ban and the Hungarian-Croatian War Navy. The first Rector of the University was John of Dyrrachium, since Zadar’s General University succeeded the previously founded University of Dyrrachium, that retreated to Zadar amid the mounting Turkish threats in South-eastern Europe. From 1396 to 1553 (with the interruption from 1481 to 1495 due to the Ottoman invasion) Zadar’s Studium generale was the first university consisting of two faculties, the lower and higher level studies of Philosophy and Theology. In 1553 it received the status of “the privileged university”, with the right to award the highest academic degrees, including a doctorate. Given that the number of doctorates was limited by the provinces of the Dominican Order, since 1692 the Dalmatian province was allowed to award 10 doctoral and 6 baccalaureate degrees. According to preserved records from 1553 to 1807, 105 doctoral, 96 baccalaureate and 214 lecturer degrees were awarded. In the epoch of the Napoleonic Wars, when Dalmatia became a part of the French Empire, the French government abolished the University of Zadar on 8 January 1807. The professors of the abolished university were given a state pension, and some of them continued their work with exceptional results such as Nikola Budrović, who became the translator and editor of the Croatian section of Zadar's „Kraljski Dalmatin“, the first newspaper in the Croatian language.
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