The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous University of Mexico) is a public university based primarily in Mexico City and is generally considered to have the largest enrollment among universities in the Americas. UNAM was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico (founded on 21 September 1551 by a royal decree of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and brought to a definitive closure in 1867 by the liberals). UNAM's autonomy, granted in the 1920s, has given it the freedom to define its own curriculum and manage its own budget without interference from the government. This has had a profound effect on academic life at the university, which some claim boosts academic freedom and independence.
The UNAM generates a number of different publications in diverse areas, such as mathematics, physics and history. It is also the only university in Mexico with Nobel Prize laureates among its alumni: Alfonso García Robles (Peace), Octavio Paz (Literature), and Mario Molina (Chemistry).
Besides being one of the most recognized universities in Latin America, it is one of the largest and the most artistically detailed. Its main campus is a World Heritage site that was designed by some of Mexico's best-known architects of the 20th century. Murals in the main campus were painted by some of the most recognized artists in Mexican history, such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.