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El Colegio Nacional (Mexico)

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El Colegio Nacional
The National College, located on Luis González Obregón Street in the historic center of Mexico City.
Formation15 May 1943
Region served
Official language

The National College (Spanish: Colegio Nacional) is a Mexican honorary academy with a strictly limited membership created by presidential decree in 1943 in order to bring together the country's foremost artists and scientists, who are periodically invited to deliver lectures and seminars in their respective area of speciality. Membership is generally a lifelong commitment, although it could be forfeited under certain conditions. It should not be confused with El Colegio de México, a public institution of higher education and research.


The College was founded on 8 April 1943.[1] with the purpose of promoting Mexican culture and scholarship in a number of different fields. Its motto is "Libertad por saber" (Freedom through knowing) and its emblem is an eagle taking off (symbolizing freedom of thought) above a flaming sun (representing wisdom).[2] The College's foundation decree, signed by General Manuel Ávila Camacho, limited membership to twenty Mexican-born citizens, who were supposed to deliver their lectures and or seminars in its official premises at Mexico City. A subsequent amendment signed by President Luis Echeverría in 1971 increased the limit to forty and members were given the choice of delivering both their lectures or seminars in places other than the capital. Those aged 70 and over were released, at their discretion, from that obligation. Naturalized Mexicans can also been appointed, provided that at least ten years had passed since they acquired citizenship.

In 1995, President Ernesto Zedillo amended the rules so that naturalized Mexicans could be admitted to the College irrespective of the date on which they acquired citizenship.


The property on which the Colegio sits used to belong to the Convent of La Enseñanza. When the convent was closed in 1863, due to the Reform Laws, this site first became the Palace of Justice. Later, the property was split to house the General Notary Archives and the Colegio.[3] The building took on its present appearance in 1871. During the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas, the building was used by the Unified Socialist Youth Movement.[1]

The main access to the building is from Luis Gonzalez Obregon Street, between Rep. de Argentina and Rep. de Brazil Streets. This used to be the back entrance to the convent. The facade of the building has three levels and is covered in tezontle, a blood-red, porous, volcanic stone. The doors, windows and balconies are framed in chiluca, a greyish-white stone. The windows and balconies have ironwork railings and window guards.[3] The main entrance leads to an entrance hall, which leads to a central patio. The ground floor of the patio is marked with pilasters while the upper level has columns. The main room in the building is the assembly hall, where debates take place, new members are initiated and congresses in the College's various specialities are conducted.[2]

The building houses a collection of nine gilded altarpieces that date from the end of the 17th century, with the largest of these dedicated to the Our Lady of the Pillar. Among the paintings on display are "The Assumption of Mary" and "The Virgin of the Book of Revelation Apocalypse", both done by Andres Lopez in 1779.[3]


The first date is the admission date to The National College; the second is the date of death or resignation/expulsion.


Members admitted in the 20th century

Members admitted in the 21st century


  1. ^ a b Galindo, Carmen; Magdelena Galindo (2002). Mexico City Historic Center. Mexico City: Ediciones Nueva Guia. p. 104. ISBN 968-5437-29-7.
  2. ^ a b Horz de Via, Elena (1991). Guia Oficial Centro de la Ciudad de Mexico. Mexico City: INAH-SALVAT. pp. 57–58. ISBN 968-32-0540-2.
  3. ^ a b c Bueno de Ariztegui (ed), Patricia (1984). Guia Turistica de Mexico Distrito Federal Centro 3. Mexico City: Promexa. p. 79. ISBN 968-34-0319-0.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Leopoldo García-Colín" (in Spanish). El Colegio Nacional. 2007. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
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El Colegio Nacional (Mexico)
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