Academia Regia: Brief History



 1776 was a year of foundings.  The United States began to found itself by declaring its independence.  That same year Maria Theresa acted with noble will toward Croatia by founding the Academia Regia, referred to also as the Regia scientarum academia and the Regia Academia Zagrabiensis.  It was composed of three Faculties: Philosophy, Theology, and Law.

Maria Theresa (1717-1780), Holy Roman Empress, has been the only female and the last ruler from the House of Hapsburgs.  Her rule was made possible by her father’s Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, ensuring that Hapsburg hereditary possessions could be inherited by a daughter. Croatia accepted the Sanction, and it is reasonable to believe that by establishing the Academia Regia in Croatia, Maria Theresa was acting with gratitude toward the Croatian people.

And what did the Academy do?  One scholar writes, “The mission of the Academy is to educate the citizens and to contribute to the greater general good, while being led by the same logic which establishes a State.” (Theoretical Philosophy at Zagreb Academy 1776-1850, Srećko Kovač, UDK 1(091) : 1.07.)

The Academy, under its traditional form and location, closed in 1850.  Realka or Real Gymnasia carried along the tradition. For a number of reasons, involving Yugoslavia and the Communist take-over of Croatia, Kraljevska Akademija traces its own roots back into this tradition.  The Royal Akademy is the Academy of the reliquiae reliquiarum olim magni et inclyti regni Croatiae  (“remnants of the once great and glorious kingdom of Croatia“).

For more information online, cf. various pages on the history of the law school, on the Faculty of the University of Zagreb, on Boscovich’s influence during this period, and on 19th century science in Croatia.