John I was born on December 24, 1167 as the youngest son of Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. For most of John’s early life, his brothers, Henry, Richard and Geoffrey, and even his mother were all embroiled in some type of rebellion with Henry II. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why according to several historic records, John was the favored child of Henry and as such enjoyed several perks. He was the first son married and to an Italian heiress named Isabella no less. As Henry II’s favorite son, John’s brothers were afraid that John was also to be given more than his fair share of lands. Henry’s holdings and lands were vast and his titles included that of King of the English, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, and Count of Maine. Henry II also had been encouraged by the Pope to become Lord of Ireland and take command of that land. He even sent John to Ireland in 1185 to rule. John’s rule was so disastrous that it only lasted six months before he was sent back home. He ended up earning the embarrassing nickname “John Lacklands” as a result of the debacle.
Just before the death of Henry II, his oldest son, Richard I or Richard the Lionhearted, began yet another rebellion in 1189 to take control of the throne and more importantly, the significant lands that Henry still held. Henry II soon died, and Richard I inherited the throne. Richard I is remembered as a fierce warrior because of his role in the crusades, but honestly it was Richard’s disinterest in England that helped John I cause so much destruction. When Richard was away on the third crusades, John tried to overthrow the advisors that Richard had set in place to rule during his absences. John did not succeed in his attempts, but Richard died ...
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... above it. John had no plans to honor the agreement, and three months after it was signed, John went back on his work and his signature. As a result, his barons went to war. John did not survive the war though, and he died in 1216 most likely contracted dysentery. John I may not have been quite the evil villain that society knows from the tales of Robin Hood, but he certainly was a terrible King.
In conclusion, there are brilliant capable leaders and there are unscrupulous and unprincipled leaders. There are monarchs who understand how to gain the love of their people, and there are monarchs who abuse the trust and confidence that their people have in them. The monarchs of England are no exception to this idea. This is why Elizabeth I has gone down in history as one of the greatest rulers that the country has ever had while John I has gone down as one of the worst.
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