Universitas is a public research university consisting of the entirety of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. It is regarded as the most prestigious human center for tertiary education and is by far the largest in term of physical size. Its predecessor, the University of Great Britain was founded in 2088 when the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the University of Lancaster and the University of York merged. After a referendum with the inhabitants was held, and an agreement with other institutions was sealed, the entire region (the two islands) was declared the one university of Universitas in 2188, on the 100-year anniversary of the University of Great Britain's founding. The manner of which the university operates has been left largely sovereign, even by the United Earth Federation after the Dark Time.