(1167-1216) the king of England from 1199 to 1216. He was the youngest son of Henry II and became king after the death of his brother Richard I, having previously tried to take power from him. He was not a popular or successful king. He lost most of the English land in France, quarrelled with the Church, and was forced by his barons in 1215 to sign the Magna Carta, which limited his royal powers. He is the subject of King John, an early play by Shakespeare.