Is Guy Fawkes a traitor or a hero? Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Bonfire Night, is a day where thousands of British citizens gather together to light fireworks. But the day, which always falls on the famous "fifth of November," has a dark past.
Saturday's Bonfire Night marks the anniversary of the thwarted Gunpowder Plot. Fawkes and his Roman Catholic conspirators, led by Robert Catesby, tried to kill Protestant King James I on Nov. 5, 1605. While those facts are generally considered common knowledge, listed below are some things you might not have known, courtesy of History.com, the Telegraph and the Independent:
1. Fawkes' death didn’t go as planned. As a convicted traitor, he was supposed to be hung, drawn and quartered. Instead, Fawkes committed suicide by leaping to his death. He died of a broken neck. If he had waited for the British government to kill him, his testicles would have been slashed off and Fawkes would have been gutted in public.
2. King James admired Fawkes. Even though the conspirator was a part of his assassination attempt, King James was impressed Fawkes withstood two days of torture. With respect, the leader said Fawkes had “a Roman resolution.”
3. The Houses of Parliament are searched every year for gunpowder. It’s not because authorities are afraid of a terrorist attack, though. It’s done out of tradition instead of a security measure.
4. Officials wouldn’t be able to search the exact cellar Fawkes hid in even if they wanted to. A fire in the 1800s in the medieval Houses of Parliament destroyed it.
5. There’s a piece of land with Fawkes' name on it. The traitor’s name was given to Isla Guy Fawkes, or Guy Fawkes Island, which is located in the Galapagos Islands. But travelers probably wouldn’t want to go there, as it’s uninhabited.
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella.