King John of England

Portrait of King John of England
17th-century portrait of King John of England by an unknown artist of the British School. Public domain; courtesy of Wikimedia

King John was known as:

John Lackland; in French, Jean sans Terre. John also held the title of Count of Mortain.

King John was noted for:

His reputation as a bad king. John was forced to accept the Magna Carta and lost most of England's possessions in France.

Occupation and Role in Society:


Places of Residence and Influence:


Important Dates:

Born: Dec. 24, 1166
Becomes king on death of his brother: April 6, 1199
Crowned: May 27, 1199
Seals the Magna Carta: June 15, 1215
Died: Oct.

18 (or 19), 1216

About King John:

King John was the son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the younger brother of Richard I.

John's life was characterized by tumultuous relationships. Though favored by his father, he allied with his brother Richard to rebel against him. He also allied with Philip II in order to fight against Richard, and later warred against the French king, as well. He was disliked and mistrusted by many of the English barons, and he was even excommunicated by the pope for a time.

John was considered a bad king during his lifetime and for long after, especially by those who found it easy to compare him unfavorably with his popular brother. Although he did make advances in military organization, taxation, and in the administration of justice, his misdeeds overshadow his achievements, and attempts to rehabilitate his reputation have largely failed.

For more about John's life and reign, visit the concise biography by your Guide.

King John Resources:

Concise Biography of King John
Portrait of King John
King John in Print
King John on the Web

King John on Film

The link below will take you to an online store, where you can find more information about the film. This is provided as a convenience to you; neither Melissa Snell nor About is responsible for any purchases you make through this link.

The Lion in Winter
Henry II (Peter O'Toole) must choose which of his three surviving sons will succeed him, and a vicious verbal battle ensues between himself and his strong-willed queen. John is portrayed by Nigel Terry; Katharine Hepburn won an Oscar® for her portrayal of Eleanor.

Medieval & Renaissance Monarchs of England
Medieval Britain
Medieval France

Chronological Index

Geographical Index

Index by Profession, Achievement, or Role in Society

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