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Timeline: Magna Carta

John and his barons couldn’t have known how their charter would reverberate throughout civilisations around the world...

A lthough John is the King so readily associated with Magna Carta, it was the reign of his son and successor Henry III that saved the historic document from obscurity. With civil war still raging in 1216, the nine-year-old Henry and his guardian, William Marshal, reissued Magna Carta in the hope of winning over disgruntled barons to help push the French Prince Louis out of England. Henry implemented further reissues in 1217 and 1225, which cemented the principles of Magna Carta in English law and society.

Since then, Magna Carta has inspired politicians and civil-rights leaders around the world, including omas Je erson and Nelson Mandela, and its influence can be seen in other iconic documents such as the US Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It could be argued Magna Carta is one of England’s most successful exports. At the least, what is clear is that over 800 years, the values Magna Carta has come to represent remain just as relevant and important as they ever were.

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The May 2015 issue of History Revealed