London, Mar 13 : It's viewed as one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy, but nearly 50 percent of the British population has no idea what the Magna Carta is.
Issued in 1215, Maga Carta means 'Great Charter' or literally 'Great Paper'. It was the charter that influenced the development of the common law and many constitutional documents, such as the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
One of the major principles it established was that the monarchy was not above the law.
However, a new poll by YouGov commissioned by the British Library has found that to 45 percent of the population, the Magna Carta is a mystery.
And only 32 percent of the 2,000 people polled were aware that it set written limits on the authority of the monarch.
"British people struggle to put their finger on one of our own defining documents, Magna Carta. Magna Carta remains an epochal moment in British history, with a resonance that still lasts today," the Telegraph quoted Jack Straw MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.
Added Claire Breay, head of Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, said: "Magna Carta is one of the most celebrated manuscripts in English history and the most famous document in the British Library.
"Many misconceptions about its original purpose and content have been generated since it was granted in 1215. Our new website challenges these misconceptions by exploring Magna Carta's meaning, content and legacy."