Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A charter is a document bestowing certain rights on a town, city, university or institution. The term derives from a root word meaning "paper".
- The word "charter" originally meant simply a paper or written document, and it was often applied to deeds for the transfer of real estate. In contracts of such importance papers or parchment documents were drawn up and carefully preserved as irrefragable evidences of the transaction. And so, in quite significant phrase the towns zealously guarded their charters as the "title-deeds of their liberties."
- After a while the word charter was applied in England to a particular document which specified certain important concessions forcibly wrung by the people from a most unwilling sovereign. This document was called Magna Charta, or the "Great Charter," signed at Runnymede, June 15, 1215, by John, king of England.
A charter is a legally binding document incorporating an organization or institution and specifying its purpose, remit or bylaws. Organisations such as the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK is chartered to maintain and advance the science and practice of civil engineering in the UK, and by this charter has the right to regulate the business of civil engineering in the UK; this gives rise to a status of a chartered engineer - one who satisfies the requirements of the charter holding organisation.
In education, charter schools are becoming quite common.
The term charter member refers to a person or group who was among those participating in the creation of any chartered organisation.
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