The earliest birthdate proposed for Francisco de Vitoria is 1480. Other dates which have been suggested include: 1483, 1486, 1492, and 1493 Most probably, he was born in 1492 of a Basque family in Burgos. His father was Pedro de Vitoria and his mother was Catalina de Compludo, whose family generations back had likely been converted from Judaism. He had two brothers, Diego who would, like Francisco, later become a Dominican, and Juan who married and became the father of a Jesuit, Juan Alfonso de Vitoria.
If the 1492 date is correct, then Vitoria possibly at age nine in 1501 entered the Dominican convent of San Pablo at Burgos Here he studied Latin and Greek and made his formal profession as a Dominican most plausibly in 1506. In 1509 he was sent by the Dominicans to the University of Paris to take academic degrees, first in arts and then in theology. He was in Paris until 1523.
Although much reduced from what it had been in the thirteenth century, Paris was still the first ranking university in Europe. Both in arts and theology, the dominant thought in its schools was nominalistic. At the turn of the sixteenth century, the university was undergoing a strong revival driven by religious and also humanistic forces. This revival flourished most especially in two colleges attached to the Sorbonne, namely, the College of Montaigue and the Dominican College of St. Jacques. At Montaigue (where Desiderius Erasmus [ca. 1466-1536] and later Ignatius of Loyola [1491-1556] studied) reform had been initiated by John Standonck (1443-1504). Among others there was the famous Scottish nominalist, John Mayor (1469-1550) -- who taught first in arts (logic and philosophy) and then in theology Disciples of Mayor at Montaigue included Erasmus, for whom Vitoria in Paris had great admiration, Peter Crockaert (ca. 1460/70-1514) and Jacob Almain (ca. 1480- 1515).
When Vitoria entered the College of Saint Jacques, it was far along the path of its reform, begun under the rigorous guidance of Jean Clerée, O.P. (1455- 1507). Within its walls were over three hundred friars, most of them students from Dominican provinces outside France. Vitoria's most important teachers in this period were the Spaniard, Juan de Celaya (ca. 1490-1558), who taught arts in a nominalist fashion at the College of Coqueret, and the Fleming, Peter Crockaert. Coming from Montaigue, Crockaert had joined the Dominican order in 1503 and had gone on to teach first philosophy and then theology at St Jacques. It was Crockaert who in 1507 inaugurated at Paris a practice which Cajetan (a k.a. Tommaso de Vio [1469-1534]) and Ferrara (Francesco de Silvestri [ca. 1474-1528]) were following about the same time in Italy, viz employing the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas . . .