During the early thirteenth century, he served for nearly two decades as King of England. Though he spent much of his reign trying to reclaim land captured by France, he also instituted legal reforms that shaped England's common law judicial system. Near the end of his reign, in 1215, he signed the Magna Carta.
He was the favorite child of his father, who conferred upon him the title of Lord of Ireland.
After he died of dysentery in 1216, he was succeeded by his son Henry III of England.
He and his four older brothers were the children of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II. His two marriages -- to Isabella, Countess of Gloucester and Isabella, Countess of Angouleme -- produced a total of five children.
The deaths of his older brothers left John in a position to become King of England, a title he assumed after the 1199 death of Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart).