History of Magic (HOM-201) | Lesson 8 | HiH (2024)

Welcome all to Lesson Eight in this year of History of Magic. This lesson will be the last of this year packed with crucial information, as the next one will summarize all other lessons from this year and will precede your finals. Today, as you all know by reading your syllabus that was handed out in the first lesson, we will talk about the formation of the British Ministry of Magic.

The Wizards’ Council

When talking about the history and the formation of the Ministry of Magic, we must go back quite far, perhaps farther than you expected. Before the medieval period and the beginning of witch hunts, (as you have learnt in previous lessons), wizards lived in close harmony with Muggles everywhere in the world. Although the wizarding world didn’t go out of their way to announce their existence, by and large Muggles had the knowledge of them and, for the most part, tolerated them. For Muggles, it was easy not to interfere in the wizarding world, due to their incapability and ignorance. On the other hand, wizards often found it more difficult to not interfere with the Muggle world due to their unique skills and ability to solve Muggles’ problems in ways they themselves were unable to. While this was not typically an issue, on occasion, it could cause problems, particularly when there were no standardized laws set down to regulate what magical citizens of Great Britain should and should not do.

History of Magic (HOM-201) | Lesson 8 | HiH (1)It wasn’t until 990 that an official governing body was put into place to set down laws for all magical persons in the United Kingdom to abide by. This group, as you’ll have already guessed, is the Wizards’ Council. This council combined the efficiency of a governing body of many intelligent leaders with the authority and power of a king or emperor. It was, as we would look at it now, the predecessor of the current Ministry of Magic. (Though, the Wizards’ Council also served functions much like the current Wizengamot for a time). From then on out, the council was very active in the nation’s magical community, overseeing or recognizing the creation of magical institutions, monitoring magical activity of beings and beasts of all kinds, and attempting to standardize rules and accepted behaviors for witches and wizards in all parts.

Of course, the council did not stay completely constant. Over the years between its founding and its transformation in 1707 (more on that in a moment), it underwent many changes. At the start, the body was quite small, with only ten wizards serving in its ranks. However, at its largest, it swelled to numbers of 100 individuals and, despite the name, witches were common stakeholders as well. In fact, not all of these council members were even all human! For centuries, the council had a difficult time deciding who in the wizarding world should be qualified to share in governing the wizarding world. There were many false starts, including the

There were many false starts, including the attempted definition put forward in 1450 by Burdock Muldoon, the Chief Warlock of the Wizards’ Council at the time. He declared that

Any two-legged creature, hereafter named ‘a being’, may send no
more than eight representatives to the upcoming Wizards’ Council
meeting, at exactly five strikes of the clock on the Wednesday,
May Eighth. All other creatures, hereafter named ‘beasts,’ may not
participate in said council meeting and all following meetings.”

Thus all bipedal creatures were present that day, though many had to be “rounded up” by way of a Wizards’ Council member sending out a formal emissary to escort them. All told the crowd included a large number of problematic attendants -- at least for the purpose of law-making -- like Fwoopers, Erklings, pixies, and trolls. One should note that in addition to including these potentially difficult creatures, the definition Muldoon creatuted also excluded merpeople and centaurs. Understandably, the meeting that day went terribly wrong, can be read in various records that commemorated the day.

“Little could be heard over the squawking of the Diricawls, the moaning
of the Augureys, and the relentless, piercing song of the Fwoopers. As
wizards and witches attempted to consult the papers before them,
sundry pixies and fairies whirled around their heads, giggling and
jabbering. A dozen or so trolls began to smash apart the chamber with
their clubs, while hags prowled about the place in search of children to
eat. The Council Chief stood up to open the meeting, slipped on a pile
of Porlock dung and ran cursing from the hall.”

As imagined, this did not do much for public opinion of the competence of the Wizards’ Council, and many began to suggest that another governmental power might be necessary, which brings us neatly to our next topic.


For a few centuries, the Wizards’ Council was the only governing body in Great Britain and did it all: making laws, enforcing laws, and judging things. But, it didn’t take long before the body outgrew this; it was simply too much to keep track of. Therefore, in 1526, the Wizengamot was created. At the time, it was made up of fifty members, and while that number has varied slightly over the years, it has remained fairly consistent to this day. This body oversaw trials on various subjects related to magical life such as quarrels between wizards over magical property, the payment of damages in magical accidents, and more. The group was not nearly as controversial, as its day-to-day functions were more about determining the justness of particular actions, rather than issuing empire-wide edicts (which often were met with criticism or were unpopular).

History of Magic (HOM-201) | Lesson 8 | HiH (2)

Confusingly, the head of this governmental group was also called a “chief,” though it was distinguished by the addition of the word “Warlock.” However, just like with the Wizards’ Council, women often did serve on the Wizengamot, despite male title names, though there wasn’t ever a female in the position of Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot until after its transition in 1707, which we will discuss shortly.

Organizational Shifts

But first we must return to the Wizards’ Council for just a moment. After the disastrous meeting in 1450, nothing was heard from Chief Muldoon, and (understandably) there was a fair bit of public scrutiny. The position was vacant for a period and the Council underwent a number of structural changes, resulting in the next new chief, or in this case, chieftainess, to be elected quite a bit later in 1643. Thus, Chieftainess Elfrida Clagg took over. One of her immediate actions upon taking the position was to change the definition of beings to those “Able to speak the human tongue, and could make themselves understood by council members.” Although that created a better assortment of participants, this meant that merpeople were disincluded on a technicality. Still smarting from the previous disinclusion, centaurs also refused to attend out of solidarity.

Clagg, however, never changed the definition, perhaps as she felt it created a perfectly acceptable situation, perhaps in order to put up a strong front against the centaurs, or perhaps simply because she had moved on to other things. After all, there had been no official leadership in the council for quite a time. During her tenure, she changed legislation surrounding many endangered or protected species, oversaw the official recognition of a few smaller magical schools, helped organize many Quidditch World Cups, and generally attempted to keep her corner of the wizarding world both secret and safe during the rather precarious years before the signing of the International Statute of Secrecy.

History of Magic (HOM-201) | Lesson 8 | HiH (3)Her successor, Isidore Littletree, was the final Chief of the Wizard’s Council and oversaw the both the signing and ratification of the International Statute of Secrecy on behalf of Great Britain along with the current Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Ulick Gamp. It was finally decided in 1707 for both organizations (the Wizengamot and Wizards’ Council) to converge and become one singular governing body and create a number of different branches to better serve the growing magical populations as well as keep it all organized. The two bodies combined under one name, the British Ministry of Magic which was moved to a central location in Whitehall, London. The members of the Wizards’ Council set about fleshing out quite a few of the branches of the Ministry of Magic that we are familiar with today, while the Wizengamot remained largely intact and simply moved into the newly-created Department of Magical Law Enforcement, with a few of their number breaking off to head small offices in that same department.

From there, it was simply a matter of who would lead this new body. Knowing that this move would influence public opinion on the new Ministry, Littletree bowed out of the race and allowed his compatriot, Ulick Gamp, to take the helm as the very first Minister of Magic. Littletree himself headed up the department that eventually became the Department of International Magical Cooperation, and thus, history was made.

In later years, you will be able to learn more about our own Ministry as well as the structure of a number of different Ministries around the world, but we have no further time today. If you do have questions regarding what we’ve spoken about, or the Ministry in general, feel free to owl me and I will respond as quickly as I can. Don’t forget to revise for your finals next class and if you have questions about any of the content this year, just send myself or my PAs an owl, the entire Department of History of Magic will gladly help!

Original lesson written by Professor Julius Dowler
Image credits here, here, and here

History of Magic (HOM-201) | Lesson 8 | HiH (2024)


Who is the history of magic teacher? ›

Professor Binns taught History of Magic at Hogwarts until the moment he died, slumped at his desk.

What do you learn in history of magic? ›

The lesson plan usually consists of lectures on the 'History of Wizards and the Magical World' (in which goblin rebellions appear most memorably). This class is similar to the study of History in the Muggle World, as particular emphasis is placed upon remembering dates, names and events.

What happened to Marietta Edgecombe? ›

When Cho's friend Marietta Edgecombe betrays the group to Umbridge (Cho herself while under the influence of the truth potion Veritaserum in the film), Marietta is cursed with pimples on her face as a result of Hermione's casting a spell on the D.A. membership list which all members of the D.A signed.

Who is the Hufflepuff house ghost? ›

The Hufflepuff House ghost was the Fat Friar, who was executed because senior churchmen had grown suspicious of his ability to cure the pox merely by poking peasants with a stick, and his ill-advised habit of pulling rabbits out of the communion cup.

Where is history of magic taught? ›

Affiliation. The History of Magic Classroom (designated Classroom 4F) was where History of Magic classes were taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

How to find history of magic classroom? ›

If you fast-travel to the Bell Tower Courtyard in The Bell Tower Wing and make a left up the stairs through the door, you'll eventually reach the History of Magic room. Inside this room is a level 1 locked door. After you open the door, you'll find another hallway.

Who was the Care of Magical Creatures teacher before Hagrid? ›

Silvanus Kettleburn – or Professor Kettleburn to his students – was the Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, before he retired and was replaced by Rubeus Hagrid in Harry's third year.

Who was the first magic person? ›

2700 B.C. - The reputed first known performance of a conjuring effect (balls) was done by the magician Dedi in ancient Egypt. Dedi had done other effects, such as decapitating a bird, then reattaching the head to resurrect it.

Who was the first person to practice magic? ›

The History of Magic has a long and varied history. Magic has captivated and enthralled people for over 2,500 years. The first recorded magic act was by the magician Dedi who performed his tricks in Ancient Egypt in 2,700 B.C. He is credited with the first cups and balls magic trick.

What is the History of Magic? ›

The history of magic extends from the earliest literate cultures, who relied on charms, divination and spells to interpret and influence the forces of nature. Even societies without written language left crafted artifacts, cave art and monuments that have been interpreted as having magical purpose.

Who was the 1st Minister of magic? ›

When the Ministry of Magic was established in 1707, the man appointed as the first Minister for Magic was Ulick Gamp, formerly Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg O'Connell

Last Updated:

Views: 5903

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg O'Connell

Birthday: 1992-01-10

Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

Phone: +2614651609714

Job: Education Developer

Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.