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Contemporary engraving of eight of the thirteen plotters

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Sir Robert Catesby. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on 5 November, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James's nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state. Catesby may have embarked on the scheme after hopes of securing greater religious tolerance under King James had faded, leaving many English Catholics disappointed. His fellow plotters were John Wright, Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Grant, Sir Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham. Fawkes, who had 10 years of military experience fighting in the Spanish Netherlands in suppression of the Dutch Revolt, was given charge of the explosives. (more...)