The Royal Spanish Academy was founded in 1713 with the purpose of preserving the changes made to the Spanish language during the XVI and XVII centuries.
The Real Academia Española (RAE - Royal Spanish Academy), originally registered under this name, is also known as the Real Academia de la Lengua Española (Royal Academy of the Spanish Language). It was founded in 1713 by the Marquis of Villena with the purpose of preserving the changes made to the Spanish language during the XVI and XVII centuries. Its current motto of "Limpia, fija y da esplendor" ("Clean, set and cast splendor") is the same today as it was centuries ago.
In the early years of its history, Spanish King Fernando VI conceded the Academy certain royal privileges such as allowing scholars to publish their works without previous censorship.
Later, when the Spanish colonies of the Americas gained independence from Spain, various other academies emerged nationally. These additions include the Philippine Spanish Language Academy and the North American Academy of Spanish. Finally, all twenty-one Academies created the Association of Spanish Language Academy in order to work side by side in the unification of the great legacy that is Spanish.
The Royal Spanish Academy is made up of:
- 46 numerary members
- A maximum of 60 Spanish-born members
- The corresponding amount of foreign-born members
- Numerary members coming from the academies in the Americas
- Honorary members
The scholars who become members in RAE are elected by the rest of the active members, and upon being chosen, they become members for life. Each member occupies a letter-assigned seat within the Academy: the letter comes from the Spanish alphabet, with uppercase and lowercase letters differentiated and given separate seats. A current member of the Academy is writer Arturo Pérez Reverte (holder of uppercase letter "T"). The Academy also holds other notable famous writers as former members, which is the case of Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela.
El Diccionario de la Lengua Española, El Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas o la Ortografía de la Lengua Española are part of the important publications done by the Academy.