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10 Facts: Guy Fawkes


Today is the 5th of November and it’s globally known as Guy Fawkes day. Many people shoot of their fireworks (scaring half of the neighbourhood’s dogs in process) and they don’t even know who Guy Fawkes was and what he did. They just use it as an excuse to shoot fireworks.

Here are 10 things you might not have known about Guy Fawkes:

  • He was born in April 1570 in York in England.
  • He is also known as Guido Fawkes. He adopted this name when he fought for the Spanish in the Low Countries.
  • He converted to Catholicism when he was about 16. At the time religious teaching was dictated by the Church of England. The Church made it very difficult for Catholics to practice their faith.
  • He was an experienced soldier. Although he didn’t fight for his country, he fought for the Spanish against the Dutch in the Netherlands. He probably changed his name to Guido Fawkes to sound more Spanish.
  • On the 5th of November 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of English Catholics was involved in a foiled attempt to blow up the British Parliament with everyone inside it.
  • The aim of the infamous Gunpowder plot was to remove the Protestant monarch King James I (formerly King James IV of Scotland) and to replace him with a Catholic monarch.
  • Despite being involved in what is basically a terrorist plot he was named the 30th Greatest Briton in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2002.
  • It took up to 4 days for him to confess to the Gunpowder Plot and to give the names of those involved in the plot, under torture. His signature on the written confession after torture is still held by the British National Archives. The handwriting suggests that it was written by a very weak man.
  • An uninhabited island to the north of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands (off the coast of South America) is named Isla Guy Fawkes or “Guy Fawkes Island”. Maybe he wanted to escape here after the plot?
  • He was executed on the 31st of January 1606 (along with 3 other co-conspirators) in London. Although weakened by torture, Fawkes managed to jump from the gallows, breaking his neck in the fall and thus avoiding the agony of the latter part of his execution. His body parts were sent to the 4 corners of the Kingdom to serve as a warning for other would-be traitors.

There you have it, some facts about Guy Fawkes. It has been customary in many parts of the world for people to shoot off fireworks in remembrance of this individual on the 5th of November every year. Remember to be considerate if you intend to shoot off fireworks tonight. Don’t be cruel to the neighborhood’s pets.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Facts category of Running Wolf’s Rant. The last post in this category covered John Lennon Quotes and the last post in the 10 Facts section of the category covered Papua New Guinea.

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