Drawing on the possibilities afforded by the universities reform act, the idea of creating an institute of history at the University of Valladolid emerged between 1987 and 1988 as a result of the scientific interests felt by a number of teachers working in the areas of Early Modern History, Medieval History, Contemporary History and Economic History.
The central idea around which this interest revolved concerned the fact that research into history at our university enjoys a number of significant advantages compared to other universities, and which should be taken advantage of, particularly at the present time when the trend is towards universities specialising in certain studies and knowledge areas.
The advantages which research into history at the University of Valladolid has are based mainly on two facts:
– The location of several extremely important historical archives within the area covered by the University of Valladolid -the General Archive at Simancas and the Chancellery- documents from which provide the opportunity to address not only the regional history of Castilla y León but also the history of Spain, Europe and the Americas.
– The constant presence in Valladolid of leading specialists -both from Spanish universities as well as Hispanists from overseas universities- who come to these shores to consult the documents housed in the area.
The proximity of these two archives -and in particular the one at Simancas- has for many decades been the drivingforce behind the history studies conducted at the University of Valladolid, and has included such illustrious teachers of contemporary historiography as Doctors Palacio Atard, Suárez Fernández, Pérez Villanueva, Enciso Recio, Cano de Gardoqui, or Ramos Pérez.
Some fifty years ago, the Simancas Seminary of Modern History was set up at Santa Cruz College and ran until the early 1970s. From this were born the current knowledge areas of Early Modern History, Contemporary History, and History of the Americas. Said seminary, together with the Seminary of Ancient and Medieval History, formed the corner stone which has consolidated the University of Valladolid’s prestigious historiographical tradition in the fields of local and regional history as well as the history of Spain, the Habsburg Monarchyand the Bourbons (XVI-XVIII centuries), and of the Hispanic world, a tradition forged and recognised both in Spain and worldwide. This is reflected through its journals, such as the old Simancas, note worthy due to its spirit and title, or the more recent Investigaciones Históricas and Historia Medieval; editorial collections, such as Estudios y Documentos or Estudios de Historia Medieval; and initiatives such as the Chair of Philip II, which is over twenty-five years old.
A group of teachers felt that all of the above-mentioned circumstances merited the creation of a university institute, specialised in promoting, managing and coordinating the historical research carried out at the various departments. The project also seemed feasible in administrative terms given the positive reception the idea was greeted with from the university governing body.
On 18 March 1988, the university governing body approved the “Proposal for the creation of the ‘Simancas’ Institute of History", signed by professors Teófanes Egido López, Ángel García Sanz, Luis A. Ribot García and Mª Isabel del Val Valdivieso. These four professors were designated by the Chancellor, D. Fernando Tejerina, to form the Managing Commission that would draw up the Institute’s rules and regulations.
On 17 March 1989, the university governing body approved the rules for the Institute. The process of establishing its management and governing board then commenced.
The invitation issued by the management commission to the professors and researchers at the university as well as to the staff working at the archives in Valladolid was warmly welcomed, since 81 professors and researchers from the university-spanning 11 knowledge areas- together with a further 11 archivists expressed their desire to form part of the Institute and were, indeed, accepted as members.
On 20 March 1990, the management commission convened all the Institute members to a general assembly inorder to formalise the Institute’s creation and to select the members of the governing board which, in turn, on 24 April, appointed Professor Ángel García Sanz as director and Professors Pedro Carasa Soto, Juan Helguera Quijada, Luis A. Ribot García and Mª Isabel del Val Valdivieso as members of the standing committee, with Professor Teófanes Egido López being named secretary of the Institute.
In November 1995, Professor Luis Ribot was appointed director, and named Professor Elena Maza as secretary. Afterwards, the procedure once again got underway to gainthe Institute’s much sought-after conversion to an LRU University Institute, permission for which was granted under Decree 181/1997 of 26 September, and published in the Official Gazette of Castilla y León on 29 September 1997.
In April 1999, and after fresh elections to the Institute’s governing board, Professor Luis Ribot García was re-elected as director and Professor Elena Maza Zorrilla was named secretary. The newly appointed board initiated the task of reforming the Institute’s rules so as to adapt them to the Institute’s conversion to an L.R.U. Institute. On 22 February 2000, the governing board approved the revised rules, followed by a period during which a review was undertaken to update and revise its board of members, which currently stands at 72 professors and researchers, 14 archivists and library and museums staff together with 21 researchers from outside the Uva plus one member of the administrative staff.
On 2 March 2001, a cooperation agreementwas signed between the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) and the University of Valladolid for recognition of the Simancas Institute of History at said university as an affiliated unit of the CSIC.
In 2002, a fresh process to renew the Institute’s governing bodies commenced. On 20 February, elections were held to constitute the Institute’s board which, once it had been formed on 13 March 2002, appointed Professor Julio Valdeón Baruque as its new director who, in turn, named Professor Elena Maza Zorrilla as secretary.
On 5 October 2006, Professor Alberto Marcos Martín was chosen to be the new director of the Institute, with Professor Elena Maza Zorrilla being named as secretary.
On 22 January 2008, Professor Mª Isabel del Val Valdivieso was elected as the new director of the Institute, in turn naming Professor Hilario Casado Alonso as secretary, posts which were renewed for a further four years after the elections held on 14 February 2012.
On the 18th January 2017 Professor Adolfo Carrasco Martínez was elected new headmaster of the Institute, who appointed Professor Olatz Villanueva Zubizarreta secretary.
On the 7th October 2021 Professor Concepción Porras Gil was elected new headmaster of the Institute, who appointed Professor Jorge Lafuente del Cano secretary.