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"The purpose of this blog is to generate discussions about historical issues. Students, enthusiasts, and friends are all welcome to join by reading and participating with comments. I hope to generate interest in history and offer help to the perplexed." Caleb Johnson

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Gun Powder Plot 1605

"Remember, remember the 5th of November,
the gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot."

On the 5th of November, 1605, Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed underneath the Palace of Westminster. He was caught holding a fuse in his hand....

James I

17th century England was a tumultuous place. The Protestant Reformation had convinced only most of Englishmen to become Protestants; a little under half were Catholic. Catholics had suffered persecution under half the Tudor dynasty and were looking to restore the throne to the Church. Mary, Queen of Scots, was their first choice, but she was executed by Queen Elizabeth Tudor. The Catholics then placed their hopes for a restored Catholic monarchy in her son, James VI of Scotland. When James became James I of England, he suprised people by remaining a staunch Protestant. The Catholics were fed up and had found a new favorite, but first James had to go.

The conspirators, Guy is third from the left.
A group of assassins plotted to kill not only James and his family, but the whole Protestant Parliament. They decided to wait until all Parliament was in session and blow up the building with gunpowder. The word went out to all Catholics to stay away from Parliament on the 5th of November. However, as the date neared, one conscientious Catholic sent a letter to a friend who was a member of Parliament. He warned his friend not to go that day, "lest some harm befall you." This friend proceeded to warn the guards of Westminster. They scowered the cellars and basements looking for the terrorists. They found Guy Fawkes almost ready to light the fuse.

Needless to say, the conspirators were rounded up and executed. King James was terrified to learn that the explosion would've blown up not only Parliament, but most of the buildings around it. Catholics in general did not suffer under James, but he was a little more wary after the 5th of November. Fawkes' dramatic plan and the famous way in which he botched it has earned him his place in history as one of the world's great idiots.


  1. I Love it XD...and I'm very glad he did not blow up parliament and those great historic buildings!

  2. Indeed! The death of the house of Stuart would have been disastrous as well.