as letters patent
, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities
. Charters should be distinguished from warrants
and letters of appointment, as they have perpetual effect. Typically, a royal charter is produced as a high-quality work of calligraphy
Charters have been used in Europe since mediæval times to create cities (i.e., localities with recognised legal rights and privileges).
1194 King Richard I of England gives Portsmouth its first Royal Charter.
1554 A royal Charter is granted to Derby School in Derby, England.
1629 The Massachusetts Bay Colony is granted a Royal charter.
1663 Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.
1694 A Royal Charter is granted to the Bank of England.
1732 James Oglethorpe is granted a royal charter for the colony of Georgia.
1899 The St. Andrew's Ambulance Association is granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.
1912 The Scout Association is incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal Charter.
1917 The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is established through Royal Charter to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military forces.