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HOUSTON (AP) - A rarely seen copy of the Magna Carta has left England for the first time and landed in Texas.

It is safely ensconced in the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, where it will be part of an exhibit that opens this week. It will be on display for six months before being whisked back for a celebration of its 800th anniversary.

This particular copy was issued in 1217, two years after the first version was distributed. It has only once before left its home in the Hereford Chapel near the Welsh border.

The charter is considered one of the most important documents in the history of democracy and a model for the U.S. Constitution.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.