The Gunpowder Plot Was Foiled!
In England, the fifth of November, is Bonfire Night, first celebrated in 1607, to commemorate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot.
The Plot was the brain child of Guy Fawkes, an English Protestant who detested the persecution of Catholics. In fact, his feelings about Catholic persecution were so strong that in 1603, he traveled to Spain to discuss the problem with King Phillip II.
When Fawkes returned to England, he began meeting with other conspirators to blow up Parliament and the King. Fawkes, who had learned his blasting skills while serving in the military, was put in charge of placing gunpowder beneath the State Chambers of Parliament.
On November 4, the plot was discovered and Fawkes was arrested, incarcerated in the Tower of London, and tortured. He refused to confess, until he learned that the other plotters had been arrested.
On January 31, 1606, Fawkes and his fellow-conspirators were executed, just opposite the Parliament they had hoped to destroy.
Today, the event is celebrated with a Guy Fawkes effigy, fireworks, parades, and children collecting money—“a penny for the Guy”.