PLANTAGENETS AND TUDORS OF BRITAIN
In 1215, noblemen forced King John to sign the Magna Carta (198), the document that inspired modem English democracy; the first modern’ Parliament convened 80 years later. While English kings expanded the nation’s boundaries, the Black Death ravaged its population, killing more than one-third of all Britons between 1348 and 1361. Many more fell in the Hundred Years’ War, a costly squabble over the French throne. The Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) a lengthy crisis of royal succession between the houses of Lancaster and York culminated when Richard of York put his nephew, boy-king Edward V, in the Tower of London for safe-keeping. When Edward disappeared, Uncle Dick was conveniently crowned Richard III.