Magna Carta Day is celebrated on June 15 every year. This day is about the commemoration of the approval of the Great Charter which limits the power of the English monarch and simultaneously outlines the rights of the common people in England. This document has been used as the template for civil liberties not just in the United Kingdom but all over the world, highlighting parliamentarianism, constitutionalism, and liberty. On this holiday, everyone is encouraged to visit libraries and attend festivals. Grab the opportunity to learn more about the Magna Carta and the rich history behind people’s rights in Great Britain.
History of Magna Carta Day
The issuance of the Magna Carta was a movement made in response to years of heavy taxation demands and unsuccessful foreign policies by England’s King John. By 1215, he agreed to sign a charter of liberties that would put him and all future English sovereigns under a rule of law. This rule of law is known as the Great Charter or ‘Magna Carta.’ Not only does it limit the power of the English monarch, but it also provides and documents the rights of the free men. However, the first trial wasn’t as successful as everyone hoped for. It was later on altered and reissued in 1216, 1217, and 1225. This was led by Henry III, John’s predecessor, hoping to gain more men to his allegiance.
The 1216 version was relatively shorter compared to the original – certain clauses have been removed such as the monarch’s power to raise money or send forces to the war. The church also lost its power to free elections. A year later, it was again altered for clarity and accuracy. By 1225, the Magna Carta became a symbol of the battle against oppression.
Later on, the Magna Carta became a foundational document to support the protection of every free man’s rights. This was manifested in the Petition of Right in 1628, and the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, reiterating that no free man shall be punished or imprisoned without lawful judgment. This greatly influenced Anglo-American jurisprudence in the 17th century, shaping the fundamental laws of the Constitution of the United States of America in 1789, the Bill of Rights in 1791, and the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.
Magna Carta Day timeline
King John signs the Great Charter or ‘Magna Carta’ at Runnymede.
Henry III leads the revision of the Magna Carta to seek allegiance from his countrymen.
The Magna Carta becomes a common law to represent the battle against oppression.
To celebrate its 800th anniversary, the four original copies of the 1215 Magna Carta are re-released.
Magna Carta Day FAQs
How long is the original Magna Carta?
The 1215 version of the Magna Carta is 30 pages long.
How many clauses are there in Magna Carta?
There are 63 clauses, but only four are still valid today.
Who is the author of the Magna Carta
According to records, the original author of the Magna Carta is unknown.
How to Observe Magna Carta Day
Take a look at the original copies
There’s no better way to learn more about the Magna Carta than to go to its origin. You may spend this day visiting the British Library, Lincoln Cathedral, or the Salisbury Cathedral for the original copies of the Magna Carta.
Attend the Magna Carta Living History Festival
Visit Odiham and experience the Magna Carta Living History Festival. This is an annual event where shows are held with people in costumes, reenacting the events leading up to King John’s issuance of the Great Charter.
Make your parchment declaration
This can be a fun activity you can do with your kids. Turn this day into an art project by creating your parchment declaration using crumpled white paper stained in black coffee, finished by writing your declaration using a fountain pen. Post this on social media using the hashtag #MagnaCartaDay.
5 Interesting Facts About The Magna Carta
Magna Carta Day has no official recognition
Despite almost becoming a public holiday, Magna Carta Day was rejected in 1947.
Magna Carta’s original name
The document signed by King John was originally known as the “Articles of the Baron.”
Magna Carta is pro-women
It fully supported women’s rights, including the enabling of widows to get their full inheritance from their deceased husbands.
Most expensive auction sale for a text
In 2007, the 1297 version of the Magna Carta was sold in an auction for $21.3 million.
The original Magna Carta was in Latin
The 1215 version of the Magna Carta was in Latin language and was later on translated to English for the common man to understand.
Why Magna Carta Day is Important
It’s a reminder of our rights
Magna Carta Day is a good reminder of everyone’s rights, not just in England but all over the world. It shapes the minds of people to be more assertive and know what they’re entitled to.
It has a rich history
The re-release of the four original copies of the Magna Carta shows how long and rich its history is. It is also a great way to pass this piece of history to the next generation to show how far we’ve come in terms of rights and liberty.
It celebrates the freemen
Ultimately, the Magna Carta Day is dedicated to every free man. It’s a great commemoration of the importance of every civilian in a nation.
Magna Carta Day dates