On this day in 1606 (411 years ago, to save your fingers), Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were executed for plotting to blow up the House of Lords.

Condemned to be hung, drawn and quartered, Fawkes managed to throw himself from the platform and break his own neck, avoiding the remainder of his sentence.

The Gunpowder Plot is commemorated these day, by Bonfire Night, when effigies of Guy Fawkes are burned and fireworks set off…at least, in countries where ordinary citizens can let off fireworks.

Interestingly, the ITV Network in the UK produced a show, The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding The Legend in 2005, which featured a fully recreated Houses of Parliament (as they were in 1606), and set up a trial explosion using the equivalent in modern explosives that Guy Fawkes was found guarding.

The resulting explosion demonstrated that the plot, if it had been successful, would have completely destroyed the Houses of Parliament and everyone in the building.

Which isn’t too shabby for the 17th century, when you consider the ineptitude of some of today’s terrorists.

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