Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Magna Carta tops British day poll

What is the best time to celebrate Britishness? According to a poll by the BBC, it is June 15th. This is the day that the Magna Carta imposed on King John in 1215 by rebel barons limited the power of the King and gave ordinary people rights under common law.

Are the British starting to move away from World War Two as their defining moment? BBC History magazine editor Dave Musgrove said the choice of the Magna Carta anniversary may indicate the UK is moving on from a "dependence on World War II as the critical point in our island story."

Of course, the Magna Carta is English, not British. "The problem with a Magna Carta day is that this was originally very much an English, not a British significant event," said Linda Colley, Professor of history at Princeton University.

One commenter on the story noted, "My National Day would be the anniversary of the date in AD410, when the famous letter of the Emperor Honorius told the cities of Britain to look to their own defences, and as a result started a period where we have never again been occupied." Well, England has not been occupied but some Scots, Welsh, and Irish may feel differently...

The full story is Magna Carta tops British day poll.

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