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King John

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King John belonged to the Plantagenet Dynasty. Born in 1167, he ascended to the throne in 1199 and died in 1216. He was preceded as monarch by Richard I and was succeeded by Henry III.

John was probably born in Oxford. He was the youngest son of Henry II. In 1189, he joined Philip of France in a coalition against his father. During Richard I's absence in the Holy Land, he attempted to secure the crown and when Richard was in captivity, he allied himself with Richard's enemy, Philip of France. In 1203, he put to death Arthur, the son of his brother Geoffrey.

In 1205, a struggle began between the papacy and the English king over the election of the archbishop of Canterbury. John refused to accept the papal nominee and Innocent III placed England under an interdict and in 1212 excommunicated the king. John then yielded, but the barons grew restive. On June 15, 1215, John signed the Magna Carta but did not uphold it afterwards. Conflicts continued and John died suddenly at Newark in 1216.

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