Saturday, 5 November 2016

Date With History: 1605

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was a failed assassination attempt on King James I,
by a group of thirteen disaffected Catholic conspirators, led by Robert Catesby.
The plan to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament
on November 5th was intended as a prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands, where Princess Elizabeth would then have been installed as the new, Catholic
head of state.
The plot was unearthed when Lord Monteagle was warned in an anonymous letter
not to attend Parliament. The authorities then searched the cellars beneath the
House and discovered Guido 'Guy' Fawkes, guarding thirty-six barrels of
gunpowder.
Under the alias of John Johnson, Fawkes was tortured for two days in the
Tower of London. His fellow plotters were eventually captured, and executed.
Following the trials, the 'Observance of 5th November Act' was passed, and commemorating the Plot became an annual and mandatory event. The law was
only repealed in 1859, but Bonfire Night is still marked in Britain with firework displays.

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