The first students arrived in Cambridge in 1209 after fleeing from rioting in Oxford. Cambridge's first college, Peterhouse, was endowed by Hugh de Balsham, the Bishop of Ely, in 1284. Following the example of Merton at Oxford University, Peterhouse was a self-governing college.
In the middle of the 14th century two colleges were established by wealthy women, Elizabeth de Clare (Clare College, 1326) and Mary of Chatillion (Pembroke College, 1347). Thirteen other colleges were founded by the end of the 16th century including Gonville and Caius (1348), Corpus Christi (1352), King's (1441), Queens' (1448), St Catherine's (1473), Jesus (1496), Christ's (1505), St John's (1511), Magdalene (1542) Trinity (1544), Emmanuel (1584). Four more colleges were established in the 19th century including two for women (Girton, 1869 and Newnham 1871). In all, there are now 33 university colleges in Cambridge.
In 1615 Cambridge University was granted the right to elect two MPs. The vote was given to all members of the senate. Between 1784 and 1806 one of Cambridge's MPs was William Pitt. In 1826 Lord Palmerston, who had been Cambridge's representative since 1811, was defeated as a result of him supporting the proposed Parliamentary Reform Act.