King John’s reign has traditionally been characterised as one of the most disastrous in English history, earning him the nickname “Bad King John”: it began with military defeats – he lost Normandy to Philip Augustus of France in his first five years on the throne – and ended with England torn by civil war and himself on the verge of being forced out of power. In 1213, he made England a papal fief to resolve a conflict with the Catholic Church, and his rebellious barons forced him to seal Magna Carta in 1215, the act for which he is best remembered. This is the distant ancestor of all except for one of the U.S. Presidents, including Obama.
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