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Magna Carta

The Magna Carta was signed in 15 June 1215 between the barons of Medieval England and King John.

What does Magna Carta Mean?

"Magna Carta" is Latin and means "Great Charter".

What is the Magna Carta?

The Magna Carta is an important piece of English history where the rights of individuals are protected against the power of the King or Queen.

Where was the Magna Carta signed?

It was signed at Runnymede, on the banks of the River Thames, near Windsor Castle.

image: Magna Carta Memorial
Magna Carta Memorial at Runnymede near Windsor

image: Magna CartaWhy was the Magna Carta one the most important documents in Medieval England?

The document was a series of written promises between the king and his subjects that he, the king, would govern England and deal with its people according to the customs of feudal law. It was a last ditch attempt to stop a civil war.

Why is the Magna Carta still an important document today?

The Magna Carta is a significant document in the evolution of civil rights and is considered to be the first document of human freedom. It placed England on the road to a democratic state and introduced the lawyers in England to the concept of Human Rights as we know it now.

Clause 39 still resonates today as one of the most powerful sentences in history.

"No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."

Why was it felt that such promises needed to be made?

King John made himself very unpopular during his reign by his constant demands for money. The leading barons tried to impose limits on his powers by drawing up Magna Carta, after they captured London during a revolt against John’s tax policies and his conduct in general.

Did signing the Magna Carta bring peace to England and her people?

No, King John found the terms in the Magna Carta unacceptable. He only signed the document to keep peace with the rebel barons - to buy time - and did not keep to what he agreed to. Civil war broke out in England.


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