The Illustrated Guide to Terrorism Chapter 2: A History of Terrorism Page 4: 1605: Guy Fawkes
A street scene
It’s a little after midnight on November 5. Actors are busy rehearsing a new play called “King Lear.” In a few hours, England’s king, James I will be formally opening the new session of Parliament.
[SUGGESTED EDIT: Comma after James I]
In a cellar beneath the House of Lords, guards are about to discover a man surrounded by 36 barrels of gunpowder — enough explosives to blow all of Westminster sky-high…
Apparently, he’d dug a tunnel, then secretly stashed the gunpowder over many months.
His name? GUY FAWKES.
Guards discovering Guy Fawkes in the cellar with the barrels of gunpowder.
His plot? To KILL everyone attending the ceremony: King James I, his family, the bishops, judges, lords, ministers… nearly ALL of England’s government!
England’s PROTESTANT government, that is.
In the ensuing power vacuum, Fawkes & his fellow conspirators (with help from France and Spain) intended to put a CATHOLIC back on the throne.
Celebration of Bonfire Night, modern fireworks silhouetting Big Ben.
Many consider this to be the most horrific terrorist plot in all of English history. As many as 30,000 people could have been killed, had it succeeded. Fortunately, Guy was caught red-handed, his plot was foiled, and London has celebrated Guy Fawkes Day ever since!
Only… that’s not at all how it went down. And it certainly WASN’T and act of terrorism.