One of only a few copies of the original Magna Carta, handwritten in Latin in 1217, has arrived in Manitoba and will be on public display for three months, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.
"I am very pleased and honoured to have this critical document in the history of democracy," Selinger said. "This is only the second time in its lengthy existence this copy has left England and we very proud it will have a temporary home here for Manitobans and all those who visit our province to see."
Selinger will show the document to Queen Elizabeth at Government House tomorrow and then it will be made available for public viewing on July 12. The public will be able to see it in Room 200 of the Legislative Building from noon to 4 p.m., seven days a week. It will remain in Winnipeg for approximately three months, returning to England in the first week of October.
The Magna Carta will be on display along with the stone the Queen is bringing from the fields of Runnymede near Windsor Castle, the site of the signing of the original document. During her visit to Winnipeg, the Queen will unveil the stone at the site of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and it will eventually become a cornerstone of the museum.
The Magna Carta is considered by many to be the first significant influence on the modern concept of human rights. The original document was drafted in 1215 and there are 17 copied originals surviving from the 13th century. Manitoba is receiving one of four original issues from 1217.
"This is a very significant record of human history and I strongly encourage everyone to come and see it for themselves," the premier said.