Major General Hall
It is the most emblematic auditorium of the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. In its beginnings it was a hall-chapel, because the university was catholic and directed primarily by religious and with the teaching of theology. Where the podium stands today, there was a university chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. Its altarpiece was dismantled on two occasions, until it disappeared as a result of the liberal reform led by Justo Rufino Barrios.
For being the most beautiful and utilitarian hall of the New Guatemala de la Asunción, it was lent several years to the Constituent Assembly, witnessing several historical events, among them it can be mentioned that the hall was used by the Patriotic Boards that met to propose and execute the independence from the Spanish government. These were civil movements that even led to the death of the first San Carlos’ student martyrs. Later, when the Central American provinces were annexed to the Mexican empire on January 5, 1822, there was a need to continue meeting and to amend that decision. Thus, on July 1, 1823, the Act of Absolute Independence was signed in this Main Hall, where the current Central America managed to separate from Mexico. The abolition of slavery was also signed in this room, as well as the formulation of the Federal Constitution of the United Provinces of Central America.
The Major General Hall always held solemn events, first in Latin and then in Spanish. It has been the scene of the inauguration of rectors and deans, as well as frequented by high-level authorities such as Latin American presidents and the diplomatic corps.
Currently, it houses a gallery of illustrious professionals, mainly from Law and shelters the remains of the former president of the State of Guatemala, Doctor Mariano Gálvez, three of his children and his wife María de la Cruz Figueroa. In the lobby there is a fresco by Guatemalan muralist Rina Lazo, called Tierra Fértil de Guatemala (Fertile Land of Guatemala). This is why the Salón General Mayor becomes a Central American bastion, a silent witness of relevant events of the national history during the Bicentennial of the Independence from Spain.