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Author: Michael Best
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Historical Notes on the reign of King John


A timeline of major events in the life of King John

41This timeline, assembed from works in the Bibliography, assembles important dates from the reign of King John. Some dates are more approximate than others, and historical sources sometimes differ on details.

1122Eleanor of Aquitaine is born.
1137Eleanor marries the heir to the French throne, later Louis VII of France.
1152 (Whitsuntide)Eleanor of Aquitaine marries Henry II, count of Anjou.
1154 (17 December)Henry II becomes King of England, succeeding King Stephen of Blois
1155John’s elder brother Henry (later "the Young King" is born.
1157 (8 September)Richard Plantagenet (later Richard I, Coeur-de-lion) is born.
1158 (23 September)Geoffrey Plantagenet is born.
1161 (12 June)Constance of Brittany is born.
1165 (21 August)Philip II Augustus is born.
1166 (24 December)John Plantagenet, later King John, is born.
1167King John is born on December 24, 1167 at Beaumont Palace, Oxford. He was the youngest of a large family: three brothers, Henry, Geoffrey, and Richard; three sisters, Matilda, Duchess of Saxony (1156–1189), Leonora of England (1161–1214) and Joan Plantagenet (1165–1199).
1170 (29 December)Thomas à Beckett is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.
1172Eleanor is captured while conspiring with her older sons in rebellion against their father, and imprisoned at Winchester for the remainder of her husband's life.
1179 (1 November)Philip Augustus is crowned.
1181Constance and Geoffrey are married.
1183 (June)Henry the Young King dies of dysentery and Richard becomes heir to the throne of England.
1185 (24 April)John leaves for Ireland to administer it for his father, Henry II.
1185 (September)John returns from Ireland.
1186 (19 August)Geoffrey dies of fever after a tournament accident.
1187 (29 March)Arthur of Brittany, son of Geoffrey and Constance, is born.
1187Jerusalem is captured by Saladin, sultan of Egypt.
1187 (5 September)Louis VIII is born.
1188Blanche of Castile is born -- daughter of John’s elder sister Eleanor and Alphonso VIII of Spain.
1189 (6 July)King Henry II dies on 6 July 1189 at the Chateau of Chinon and Richard is crowned King.
1189 (8 July)Richard attends his father's funeral and orders Eleanor's release from confinement.
1189 (August)John is married to Avisa, daughter and heiress of William FitzRobert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester (later the marriage was annulled).
1189 (3 September)Richard is crowned.
1189Richard gives John the titles of Count of Mortain and Lord of Ireland and orders him to stay away from England for the next three years.
1189Richard names Arthur of Brittany heir to the English throne.
1189 (December)Richard leaves England.
1190 (4 July)Richard embarks on the Third Crusade.
1192 (2 September)Richard concludes a treaty with Saladin.
1192 (December)On his return from crusade, Richard is shipwrecked off the coast of the Adriatic, imprisoned by Leopold V, Duke of Austria, and held to ransom.
1194 (4 February)The ransom is paid and Richard is released.
1199 (6 April)King Richard dies of an infected arrow wound and John succeeds to the throne of England.
1199 (21 May)John arrives in England.
1199 (27 May)King John is crowned in Westminster Abbey.
1199 (22 September)Peace is negotiated between John, Arthur, and Constance at Le Mans.
1200 (24 August)King John marries Isabelle of Angoulême. They have five children: Henry ( who became King Henry III ), Richard, Earl of Cornwall, Joan, Isabella, and Eleanor.
1200 (22 May)John and Philip conclude the peace treaty of Le Goulet.
1200 (22 May)Blanche of Castile and Louis VIII are married.
1201 (August)Constance dies, apparently fully reconciled to John.
1202 (summer)Philip Augustus knights Arthur and bestows upon him all of John's territories except for Normandy.
1202 (1 August)John rescues Eleanor from Arthur at the castle of Mirebeau and has Arthur imprisoned.
1202The Fourth Crusade begins.
1203 (3 April?)Arthur dies. May have been murdered by John.
1204 (1 April)Eleanor of Aquitaine dies at the age of 82.
1204 (March)Philip seizes Château Gaillard (a castle built by Richard).
1204 (24 June)Philip is admitted into the city of Rouen.
1205 (13 July)Hubert Walter, archbishop of Canterbury dies. John becomes involved in a dispute with Pope Innocent III over the appointment of the new archbishop of Canterbury.
1207 (1 October)John's son Henry III is born.
1208 (24 March)Pope Innocent III proclaims an Interdict on England.
1209 (November)John is excommunicated due to his opposition to Stephen Langton who was chosen as Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Innocent III.
1211John quashes a Welsh rebellion.
1212John imposes taxes on the Barons in his attempts to regain the lost lands of Aquitaine, Poitou and Anjou.
1213John and the pope are reconciled.
1214 (27 July)Defeated at the Battle of Bouvines, King John is forced to accept an unfavorable peace with France.
1214King Alexander II of Scotland is born.
1214 (2 July)The interdict imposed by the pope on England is officially lifted.
1214 (15 May)John places England and Ireland under papal overlordship.
1214 (October)John's barons defy him.
1215rebellious English barons solicit Louis for help in their cause, favoring him as a replacement for John
1215 - 1217First Barons War: The rebel barons support the son of the king of France, Prince Louis.
1215 (4 March)John takes vows as a crusader.
1215 (5 May)The rebel barons formally renounce their fealty to John.
1215 (10 June)John commits himself to the first draft of the Magna Carta.
1215 (15 June)John places his seal on the Magna Carta in the meadow of Runnymede.
1215 (Autumn)Civil war begins in England.
1215 (Autumn)The Magna Carta is annulled by the pope.
1215 (December)John sets out on an ambitious and successful expedition throughout the eastern half of England.
1216 (21 May)Louis invades England and marches to London where he receives support and is proclaimed and accepted as King of England (although not actually crowned). John escapes to Winchester.
1216 (14 June)Louis captures Winchester.
1216 (25 July)Louis lays siege to Dover Castle but fails to capture it.
1216 (September)John begins a counterattack.
1216 (October)John loses part of his baggage train, including the crown jewels in the river Wellstream at the head of the Lincolnshire Wash.
1216 (18 October)John contracts dysentery at Lynn, in Norfolk, then dies at Newark and is was buried in Worcester Cathedral.
1216 (28 October)The barons turn against Louis and give their support to the nine year old son of John who then became King Henry III of England.
1216 (28 October)Henry III is crowned.
1217 (12 September)Peace is restored to England.
1223 (14 July)Philip Augustus of France dies; Louis VIII receives the crown at the age of thirty-six.
1226 (8 November)Louis VIII dies, succeeded by his twelve-year-old son Louis IX; Blanche is regent until he reaches an age to rule.
1249Alexander II of Scotland dies.
1252Blanche of Castile dies.