The Magna Carta & the significance of today
800 years ago, 27 July, 1214, on a Sunday like this, England lost a war -the war of the Bouvines
It was the decisive battle in the Anglo-French wars which started in 1202
In the Middle Ages, Empires expand their lands ( and importance) by waging wars
It was between King John of England & King Phillipe II of France
King John was trying to recover lost lands of the English Monarchy in France ( Falklands anyone? )
(His subjects, the Barons, weren't happy with him because of the excessive taxes he imposed on them to prosecute his wars)
King John was supported by : Emperor Otto IV of Germany, the Duke of Brabant ( Flanders, Holland), & Renaud of Boulogne ( Belgium)
King John & his Allies lost
Why is this loss important?
He was forced to sign the Magna Carta
The Magna Carta was the first document imposed upon a King of England by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their rights
It led to the rule of constitutional law & formed the basis for democracy in England and beyond.
If the English and their allies had won at Bouvines, King John would have had the plunder and the prestige. The baronial opposition would have melted away. This was that rare thing: a battle that was genuinely decisive."
If King Philippe-Auguste had lost, the west of France would have been English, the north would have been Flemish, and the east would have been German. France may have ceased to exist eventually!
Pix 2 shows France before and after the war. The yellow area & part of the green area were annexed due to their victory
This day is remembered in France. Unsurprisingly, it is not in England!
But the English can point to the Magna Carta as a positive outcome of this war
Read more about the fallouts of this war here