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Magna Carta (1215) is a document that restricted the power of the king of England. Written and forced into law by rebellious barons, it established that no one was above the law, not even the king. Before this, medieval English royalty held absolute power.

By 1213, barons and Church leaders had come to view King John as being greedy and power-hungry. In 1215, a large group of barons mutinied, capturing London with their armies. The King was forced to accept Magna Carta to gain peace. But King John soon refused to abide by Magna Carta so a civil war raged. In 1225, King Henry III agreed to a rewritten Magna Carta in exchange for a massive tax and an end to the unrest.

Even though Magna Carta only affected the elite at the time, its clauses put unprecedented restrictions on the king, and its check on monarchy was an important stepping stone toward modern democracy and constitutions.

Pages on the Magna Carta at Enchanted Learning
History of Magna Carta

History of Magna Carta

Read this history of Magna Carta—the famous English document which limited the power of the King, declaring that he was not above the law.
Magna Carta timeline

Short History of Magna Carta

This is a shorter version of how the Magna Carta came to be.
Magna Carta simple printout

Magna Carta Timeline Worksheet/Quiz

A printable timeline on Magna Carta. Read the timeline, then answer the questions. Or go to the quiz answers, or to a PDF of the worksheet and answers (subscribers only).
Magna Carta simple printout

Magna Carta Simple Printout

Read a very simple printout on Magna Carta, with a picture of the last version of the document, from 1225. Or go to a pdf of the page (subscribers only).
Magna Carta printout

Magna Carta Printout

Read a printout on Magna Carta, and see a picture of one of the few original copies, from 1215. Or go to a pdf of the page (subscribers only).
Magna Carta timeline

Magna Carta Cloze Activity

Use the word bank to fill in the blanks in this Magna Carta Cloze Activity. Or go to the cloze answer page.

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Author: Audrey Col-Spector. Copyright ©2015-2018