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The Nuttall Encyclopedia
King of England from 1199 to 1216, was clever and vivacious, but the most vicious, profane, false, short-sighted, tyrannical, and unscrupulous of English monarchs; the son of Henry II., he married Hawisa of Gloucester, and succeeded his brother Richard I., being Richard's nominee, and the tacitly elect of the people; his nephew, Arthur, claimed the French dominions, and was supported by the French king, Philip; in 1200 he divorced Hawisa, and married Isabel of Angoulême, a child-heiress; this provoked the French barons; in the war that ensued Arthur was captured, and subsequently murdered either by John himself or by his orders; Philip invaded Normandy, and with the fall of the Château-Gaillard in 1204, most of the French possessions were lost to the English crown; then followed John's quarrel with Pope Innocent III. over the election of an archbishop of Canterbury; the Pope consecrated Stephen Langton; John refused to receive him; in 1208 the kingdom was placed under an interdict, and next year the king was excommunicated; John on his side confiscated Church property, exiled the bishops, exacted homage of William of Scotland, and put down risings in Ireland and Wales; but a bull, deposing him and absolving his vassals from allegiance, forced him to submit, and he resigned his crown to the Pope's envoy in 1213; this exaction on Innocent's part initiated the opposition to Rome which culminated in the English Reformation; the rest of the reign was a struggle between the king, relying on his suzerain the Pope, and the people, barons, and clergy, for the first time on one side; war broke out; the king was forced to sign Magna Charta at Runnymede in 1215, but the Pope annulled the Charter; the barons appealed for help to the Dauphin, and were prosecuting the war when John died at Newark (1167-1216).
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'John'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​nut/​j/john.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.