November 5th 1605: Gunpowder Plot foiled
On this day in 1605 Guy Fawkes was arrested for trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament. He was found in an undercroft full of gunpowder under the Palace of Westminster after an anonymous tip was sent to the authorities. He was then tortured and it was discovered he was part of a group led by Robert Catesby who wanted to kill King James I and restore a Catholic monarchy by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. The failure of the plot is commemorated in England every November 5th since, when Fawkes’s effigy is burned on a bonfire and fireworks are set off.
January 31st 1606: Guy Fawkes executed for the Gunpowder Plot
On this day in 1606, Guy Fawkes (or Guido Fawkes) was executed for plotting against the British Parliament and King James I. Fawkes and his gang planned to assassinate the King and restore a Catholic monarch by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament, attended by the monarch. The group leased a cellar beneath the House of Lords and Fawkes stockpiled gunpowder there. The authorities were alerted by an anonymous letter, and arrested Fawkes on 5th November 1605, who was questioned and tortured and finally revealed their plans. Fawkes was hanged on 31st January. His failure has been commemorated in England ever since when every 5th November, people gather to burn his effigy and observe a fireworks display. He is also remembered through the Guy Fawkes masks worn by political protestors, most recently the Occupy movement and the group ‘Anonymous’.