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Celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, latin for Great Charter.
Last Updated: Oct 7, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Photo of a Fragment of the Original

[Magna Carta fragment]. (2014). Retrieved from:


A Little History

June 15, 2015- At Runnymede King John signed the Magna Carta (latin for Great Charter) - There are 4 surviving copies of the first Charter of 1215, then 1 of 1216 re-issue, and 4 of 1217 and 4 of 1225

June 24, 1215 - Distribution of Magna Carta begins. The first seven copies of Magna Carta are delivered for distribution.

August 24,1215 - Pope annuls Magna Carta. Pope Innocent III issues a papal bull declaring Magna Carta null and void. 

The papal bull annulling Magna Carta

The Papal Bull Annulling Magna Carta

This document, issued by Pope Innocent III on 24 August 1215, quashed the 1215 Magna Carta.

October 18, 1216 - Death of King John. King John dies suddenly at Newark having failed to recover from an attack of dysentery. He is buried, according to his wishes, in Worcester Cathedral and his nine-year-old son becomes King Henry III (r.1216-72). 

November 12, 1216 - First revision of Magna Carta. Less than a month after King John's death, William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke (d.1219), issues a revised version of Magna Carta in his capacity as Regent.

November 6, 1217 - Second revision of Magna Carta. The Regent, William Marshal, issues a second revision of Magna Carta.

February 11, 1225 - Henry III issues revised Magna Carta. Henry III, who has come of age, issues a substantially revised version of Magna Carta under his own great seal. The 1225 version of Magna Carta, freely issued by Henry III in return for a tax granted to him by the whole kingdom, became the definitive version of the text. 

The Forest Charter of 1225

The Forest Charter of 1225

The Charter of the Forest, issued with the revised Magna Carta by Henry III in 1217, re-established rights of access to the forest for free men.

October 12, 1297 - Edward I confirms Magna Carta. Edward I (r.1272-1307) confirms Henry III's 1225 version of Magna Carta: this text is subsequently placed on the first statute roll.

June 1628 - Petition of Right. Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) initiates the Petition of Right, a statement of civil liberties sent by Parliament to Charles I and conceded by the king in return for a grant of taxation.

May 27, 1679 - Habeas Corpus Act. Parliament passes the Habeas Corpus Act, strengthening the ancient writ of habeas corpus which protects people from being detained without legal authority.

December 16, 1689 - British Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is passed by Parliament. It sets out the civil and political rights of the people at the time of the accession of William and Mary.

July 4, 1776 - American Declaration of Independence. The Second Continental Congress formally declares the separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain through the Declaration of Independence.

September 17, 1787 - Constitution of the United States. The Constitution of the United States is signed and then ratified the following year. It establishes the system of federal government that begins to operate from 1789.

December 15, 1791 - American Bill of Rights. The American Bill of Rights is added to the U.S. Constitution as the first ten amendments.

December 10, 1948 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

June 15, 2015 - 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta 

Thanks to the British Library from whose timeline this was adapted.

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