Magna Carta

Magna Carta (Latin for "the Great Charter"), also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin for "the Great Charter of the Liberties"), is a charter agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.

Magna_Carta_(British_Library_Cotton_MS_Augustus_II.106)

The original document was written in iron gall ink on parchment in medieval Latin, using standard abbreviations of the period, authenticated with the Great Seal of King John. image: wikipedia


First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons.

Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons' War. After John's death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III, reissued the document in 1216, stripped of some of its more radical content, in an unsuccessful bid to build political support for their cause. 

At the end of the war in 1217, it formed part of the peace treaty agreed at Lambeth, where the document acquired the name Magna Carta, to distinguish it from the smaller Charter of the Forest which was issued at the same time. 

Short of funds, Henry reissued the charter again in 1225 in exchange for a grant of new taxes; his son, Edward I, repeated the exercise in 1297, this time confirming it as part of England's statute law.

source adapted from : Magna Carta. (2015, June 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:52, June 15, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Magna_Carta&oldid=666977708

The English translation of the Magna Carta is available here