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University of CambridgeAccording to legend the University of Cambridge in England was founded in 1209 by scholars escaping Oxford after a fight with Oxford locals. King Henry III of England granted them a teaching monopoly in 1231.
Along with the University of Oxford, Cambridge University produces a large proportion of Britain's prominent scientists, writers, and politicians; the pair are known as Oxbridge. Both are members of the Russell Group of Universities.
The thirty-one Colleges of the University are independent institutions, separate from the University itself, and they enjoy considerable autonomy.
The first College was Peterhouse founded in 1284 by Hugh Balsham, Bishop of Ely. The second-oldest College is King's Hall which was founded in 1317, though it no longer exists as a separate entity. Many other colleges were founded during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A full list of Colleges is given below, though some, such as Michaelhouse (which was combined with King's Hall to make Trinity, by King Henry VII) and Gonville Hall no longer exist.
During those early times the Colleges were founded so that their students would pray for the souls of the founders and were often associated with chapels, if not abbeys. In conjunction with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, in 1536 King Henry VIII ordered the University to disband its Faculty of Canon Law and to stop teaching "scholastic philosophy." So instead of focusing on canon law, the colleges' curricula then became centered on the Greek and Latin classics, the Bible, and mathematics.
The first Colleges for women were Girton College in 1869 and Newnham College in 1872. The first women students were examined in 1882 but attempts to make women full members of the University did not succeed until 1947, 20 years later than at Oxford. Of the 31 Colleges, three are now for women only (Lucy Cavendish, New Hall, and Newnham), and four are for graduate students only (Clare Hall, Darwin, Wolfson and St Edmunds).
There are certain number of leisure pursuits associated with Cambridge. Rowing is a popular sport and there are competitions between colleges (notably the bumps races) and against Oxford (the Boat Race). There are also Varsity Matches against Oxford in many other sports, including rugby and cricket. Theatre clubs include the famous Footlights.
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