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Esha Knows Stuff

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How Guy Fawkes’ Failed Gunpowder Plot Led to Annual Fireworks Displays



Guy Fawkes, also known as Guido Fawkes, was born in 1570 in York, England. He was part of a group of Catholics who planned to overthrow the Protestant King, James I, and replace him with a Catholic heir.


Catholics and Protestants have been fighting against each other for centuries. The Catholics believe that the Pope is the head of the church, while Protestants believe that each person can interpret the Bible themselves. This difference of opinion has led to violence and persecution against Catholics by Protestants, and vice versa.


This happened before during a early objective to unseat Elizabeth in 1603 by capturing her and holding her ransom. They would then install a Catholic heir on the throne, which would return England to Catholicism. Regardless, their plot was foiled and Elizabeth was not captured.


In 1605, they attempted to do it again against King James I, by blowing up Parliament with gunpowder. Robert Catesby was the main man behind the plot to overthrow the King. He came up with the idea and recruited Fawkes and other Catholic dissidents including Robert Catesby, Jack Wright, Tom Wintour and Thomas Percy to help him carry out the strategy. They all met Guy Fawkes at the Drake Inn in London where a meeting was held.




However, Guy Fawkes' troope was captured and arrested. They were all sentenced to death, but only Fawkes was meant to be executed. Yes, Fawkes was betrayed by his own men. One of the men he was conspiring with, Thomas Wintour, was actually a spy for the king and he alerted authorities to the plot. Fawkes and the other conspirators were arrested and sentenced to death, but only Fawkes was meant to be executed. So instead, Fawkes famously jumped from the ladder and broke his neck, dying instantly.


Even though the plans fell through, the British holiday of Guy Fawkes Day is now celebrated with fireworks on the 5th of November. This tradition began in the 18th century when people lit bonfires to celebrate in locations like London, Liverpool, and Manchester.


These cities have large fireworks displays that attract tourists and locals alike.



So why is Guy Fawkes Day celebrated anyway?


Some say it's because he tried to commit treason against the king, while others say it's because he failed in his attempt and therefore didn't harm anyone. However you look at it, Guy Fawkes is a critical part of British history and his story is always remembered.


The movie V For Vendetta is based on the story of Guy Fawkes. In the film, a man known as V (played by Hugo Weaving) uses terrorist tactics to fight against a totalitarian government in England. He wears a Guy Fawkes mask to conceal his identity and inspire others to stand up against the government. Ever since the mask has become a popular symbol of protest and is often worn at rallies and protests around the world.



The movie ends with a large-scale revolution in which the people overthrow the government and restore freedom to the country. It's an inspiring story of courage and determination, and it's no surprise that the film has become so popular over time.


Going back to the Guy Fawkes mask, it's become a popular symbol of objection and is often worn at rallies and marches around the world. It was first made famous by the comic book series and of course the movie V For Vendetta as mentioned. But also, the mask has been adopted by the hacker group Anonymous and is often still being worn in 2022 at their protests against government corruption and tyranny.



Now that I'm living in England, I'll be checking out the celebrations this weekend in good ol' South Yorkshire. And if you see me out there with a mask on, mind ya business.

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