Once the seat of kings, Oxford has been a scholarly community for almost 900 years. Today it continues to be one of the most important intellectual and cultural centers in the world.
Founded long before the first millennium, Oxford had acquired a reputation as a gathering place for scholars by the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. The first Oxford college was founded in the mid-1200s and today the University enrolls over 20,000 students in 38 colleges. Oxford and its University have nurtured many famous figures who have shaped English culture and society, including no fewer than 12 saints (before the Reformation) and 24 Prime Ministers, most recently Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, and the current Prime Minister, David Cameron. The University has bred great writers and thinkers like Adam Smith, John Locke, Percy Bysshe Shelley, J.R.R. Tolkien, W.H. Auden, C.S. Lewis, and Oscar Wilde, as well as renowned scientists such as Edmond Halley, Robert Boyle, Stephen Hawking, and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.
Oxford is a city of legend and achievement — a city in which our students sense that history lives in every building, in every monument, and on every street. They rapidly come to feel, as John Keats did, that Oxford is "the finest city in the world."