A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority (or sovereignty), and that the recipient admits a limited (or inferior) status within the relationship, and it is within that sense that charters were historically granted, and it is that sense which is retained in modern usage of the term.
The word entered the English language from the Old French charte, via Latin charta, and ultimately from Greek χάρτης (khartes, meaning "layer of papyrus"). It has come to be synonymous with a document that sets out a grant of rights or privileges.
The term is used for a special case (or as an exception) of an institutional charter. A charter school, for example, is one that has different rules, regulations, and statutes from a state school.
Charter can be used as a synonym for "hire" or "lease", as in the "charter" of a bus or boat or plane.
A charter member (US English) of an organization is an original member; that is, one who became a member when the organization received its charter.A chartered member (British English) is a member who holds an individual chartered designation authorized under that organization's royal charter.
Anglo-Saxon charters are documents from the early medieval period in Britain which typically make a grant of land or record a privilege. They are usually written on parchment, in Latin but often with sections in the vernacular, describing the bounds of estates, which often correspond closely to modern parish boundaries. The earliest surviving charters were drawn up in the 670s; the oldest surviving charters granted land to the Church, but from the 8th century surviving charters were increasingly used to grant land to lay people.
The British Empire used three main types of colonies as it sought to expand its territory to distant parts of the earth. These three types were royal colonies, proprietary colonies, and corporate colonies. A charter colony by definition is a "colony chartered to an individual, trading company, etc., by the British crown."Although charter colonies were not the most prevalent of the three types of colonies in the British Empire, they were by no means insignificant.
A congressional charter is a law passed by the United States Congress that states the mission, authority, and activities of a group. Congress issued federal charters from 1791 until 1992 under Title 36 of the United States Code.
A municipal corporation is the legal term for a local governing body, including (but not necessarily limited to) cities, counties, towns, townships, charter townships, villages, and boroughs. Municipal incorporation occurs when such municipalities become self-governing entities under the laws of the state or province in which they are located. Often, this event is marked by the award or declaration of a municipal charter.
Charters for chivalric orders and other orders, such as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
In project management, a project charter or project definition (sometimes called the terms of reference) is a statement of the scope, objectives and participants in a project. It provides a preliminary delineation of roles and responsibilities, outlines the project objectives, identifies the main stakeholders, and defines the authority of the project manager. It serves as a reference of authority for the future of the project.
In medieval Europe, royal charters were used to create cities (i.e., localities with recognised legal rights and privileges). The date that such a charter was granted is considered to be when a city was "founded", regardless of when the locality originally began to be settled.
At one time a royal charter was the only way in which an incorporated body could be formed, but other means (such as the registration process for limited companies) are generally now used instead.
A charter of "Inspeximus" (Latin, literally "We have inspected") is frequently a royal charter, by which an earlier charter or series of charters relating to a particular foundation (such as a monastery or a guild) was recited and incorporated into a new charter, usually in order to confirm and renew its validity under present authority. Where the original documents are lost, an inspeximus charter may sometimes preserve their texts and lists of witnesses.
A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law for certain purposes. Early incorporated entities were established by charter. Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration.
Magna Carta Libertatum, commonly called Magna Carta, is a charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons' War.
The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of colonies of Great Britain on the Atlantic coast of America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries which declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, Florida, and the Caribbean.
A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative as letters patent. Historically, they have been used to promulgate public laws, the most famous example being the British Magna Carta of 1215, but since the 14th century have only been used in place of private acts to grant a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organisations such as boroughs, universities and learned societies.
A fief was the central element of feudalism. It consisted of heritable property or rights granted by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the personal ceremonies of homage and fealty. The fees were often lands or revenue-producing real property held in feudal land tenure: these are typically known as fiefs or fiefdoms. However, not only land but anything of value could be held in fee, including governmental office, rights of exploitation such as hunting or fishing, monopolies in trade, and tax farms.
A city charter or town charter is a legal document (charter) establishing a municipality such as a city or town. The concept developed in Europe during the Middle Ages.
The governments of the Thirteen Colonies of British America developed in the 17th and 18th centuries under the influence of the British constitution. After the Thirteen Colonies had become the United States, the experience under colonial rule would inform and shape the new state constitutions and, ultimately, the United States Constitution.
The Board of Trade is a British government department concerned with commerce and industry, currently within the Department for International Trade. Its full title is The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations, but is commonly known as the Board of Trade, and formerly known as the Lords of Trade and Plantations or Lords of Trade, and it has been a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. The Board has gone through several evolutions, beginning with extensive involvement in colonial matters in the 17th Century, to powerful regulatory functions in the Victorian Era, to virtually being dormant in the last third of 20th century. In 2017, it was revitalized as an advisory board headed by the International Trade Secretary who has nominally held the title of President of the Board of Trade, and who at present is the only privy counsellor of the Board, the other members of the present Board filling roles as advisers.
Citizenship in ancient Rome was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance.
Crown colony, dependent territory or royal colony were dependent territories under the administration of United Kingdom overseas territories that were controlled by the British Government. As such they are examples of dependencies that fall under colonial rule. All Crown colonies were renamed "British Dependent Territories" in 1981. Since 2002, Crown colonies have been known officially as British Overseas Territories.
A proprietary colony was a type of English colony mostly in North America and the Caribbean in the 17th century. In the British Empire, all land belonged to the ruler, and it was his/her prerogative to divide. Therefore, all colonial properties were partitioned by royal charter into one of four types: proprietary, royal, joint stock, or covenant. King Charles II used the proprietary solution to reward allies and focus his own attention on Britain itself. He offered his friends colonial charters which facilitated private investment and colonial self-government. The charters made the proprietor the effective ruler, albeit one ultimately responsible to English Law and the King. Charles II gave New Netherland to his younger brother The Duke of York, who named it New York. He gave an area to William Penn who named it Pennsylvania.
The territorial evolution of the British Empire is considered to have begun with the foundation of the English colonial empire in the late 16th century. Since then, many territories around the world have been under the control of the United Kingdom or its predecessor states.
Latin Rights were a set of legal rights that were originally granted to the Latins under Roman law. "Latinitas" was commonly used by Roman jurists to denote this status. With the Roman unification of Italy, many settlements and coloniae outside of Latium had Latin rights.
A lord proprietor is a person granted a royal charter for the establishment and government of an English colony in the 17th century. The plural of the term is "lords proprietors" or "lords proprietary".
A charter is a document that gave colonies the legal rights to exist. A charter is a document, bestowing certain rights on a town, city, university or an institution.
Charter colony is one of three classes of colonial government established in the 17th century English colonies in North America, the other classes being proprietary colony and royal colony. These colonies were operated under a corporate charter given by the crown. The colonies of Virginia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts Bay were at one time or another charter colonies. The crown might revoke a charter and convert the colony into a crown colony. In a charter colony, Britain granted a charter to the colonial government establishing the rules under which the colony was to be governed. The charters of Rhode Island and Connecticut granted the colonists significantly more political liberty than other colonies. Rhode Island and Connecticut continued to use their colonial charters as their State constitutions after the American Revolution.
Anglo-Saxon charters are documents from the early medieval period in England, which typically made a grant of land, or recorded a privilege. The earliest surviving charters were drawn up in the 670s: the oldest surviving charters granted land to the Church, but from the eighth century, surviving charters were increasingly used to grant land to lay people.
A cartulary or chartulary, also called pancarta or codex diplomaticus, is a medieval manuscript volume or roll (rotulus) containing transcriptions of original documents relating to the foundation, privileges, and legal rights of ecclesiastical establishments, municipal corporations, industrial associations, institutions of learning, or families. The term is sometimes also applied to collections of original documents bound in one volume or attached to one another so as to form a roll, as well as to custodians of such collections.
In medieval England, Wales and the Channel Islands a licence to crenellate granted the holder permission to fortify his property. Such licences were granted by the king, and by the rulers of the counties palatine within their jurisdictions, i.e. by the Bishops of Durham, the Earls of Chester, and after 1351 by the Dukes of Lancaster.
The ancient boroughs were a historic unit of lower-tier local government in England and Wales. The ancient boroughs covered only important towns and were established by charters granted at different times by the monarchy. Their history is largely concerned with the origin of such towns and how they gained the right of self-government. Ancient boroughs were reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, which introduced directly elected corporations and allowed the incorporation of new industrial towns. Municipal boroughs ceased to be used for the purposes of local government in 1974, with borough status retained as an honorific title granted by the Crown.
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