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Magna Carta is a phrase in Latin that means Great Charter. In this case, it is one of the most important documents in the political history of Great Britain and the United Kingdom as well as many governments in the modern world!

History of Magna Carta Day

Drawn up in Britain and signed by King John on 15th June 1215, the Magna Carta worked very hard to outline the rights of the common people and, in doing so, to limit the powers of the monarchy. Since then, more than 800 years later, it has been used as the basis for civil liberties around the world, advancing the causes of liberty, constitutionalism and parliamentarianism.

Some of the important issues involved in this agreement were related to the concept of not creating new taxes without the approval of a common counsel; the right to justice with a trial by jury; and also providing for a free church. The document also held some ideas that either went unenforced or simply became irrelevant but, on the whole, it was an attempt to show that even the highest leaders and authorities are not above the law.

In 1947, it was proposed that Magna Carta Day become a public holiday in the British Empire as well as in the United States. Brought about during the early years of the Cold War, this celebration was meant to champion the causes of freedom and liberty in the Western world.

Magna Carta Day is set aside to show appreciation for and celebrate the standard for freedoms and civil liberties that were brought about by this important charter.

How to Celebrate Magna Carta Day

Show some appreciation for the modern freedoms and liberties from the extremely powerful rule of monarchs by celebrating Magna Carta Day! Get creative with activities for the day, including some of these:

Learn More About the Magna Carta

History class in school was a long time ago for some people! And for others, there may have been very little focus on the Magna Carta. This celebration of Magna Carta Day, it might be interesting to get more educated about this important document in political history.

Here are some interesting facts that might help to not only learn more yourself, but share with others to raise awareness for the day:

  • There is no single original copy of the Magna Carta. Multiple copies exist of this document of approximately 3600 words. 

  • In 2007, one copy of the Magna Carta from 1297 sold at auction for $21.3 million. This was the most ever paid for a single page of writing.

  • Historians know who signed the Magna Carta, but no one is exactly sure who was responsible for actually writing it. Though King John signed the document, he was coerced into it by the barons and it was more likely to have been written by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time.

  • People from England are unlikely to call it “the Magna Carta”, but they drop the article and simply say “Magna Carta”. Americans, on the other hand, almost always add an article.

Create a Personal Magna Carta

Why not celebrate Magna Carta Day by making your own parchment declaration? It might be fun to re-create an antiquated looking document that has a sense of importance. Kids will especially love this kind of activity!

Take a sheet of white paper and crumple it into a ball, then open it out and wipe with strong black coffee, using some cotton wool. Dry this with a hairdryer and this parchment will look old and stained.

After aging the paper, it’s time to write out a declaration using a fountain pen, or perhaps a quill pen made from a feather. Make a seal by dripping candle wax on the corner and making an impression with a coin. A new Magna Carta has been formed!

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