Who is Guy Fawkes?


Quick Answer

Guy Fawkes was an English citizen who became a soldier in the Spanish army. He is best known for his role in the Gunpowder Conspiracy, an attempt to destroy the British Parliament.

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Full Answer

Fawkes was born in Yorkshire. His father was a proctor of the ecclesiastical courts and his mother came from a family of wealthy merchants. He came of age in 1591 and initially leased property he had inherited from his deceased father and also worked as a footman.

He left England at some point in 1593 or 1594 for Flanders, where he enlisted in the Spanish army. In 1603 he traveled to Spain and attempted to drum up support for an invasion of England upon the death of Queen Elizabeth.

During this time he was contacted by Thomas Wintour, who would eventually recruit him into the Gunpowder Conspiracy along with two other men. Fawkes was to be the gunpowder expert, responsible for firing the powder after it was packed into a cellar underneath Parliament. British authorities had become aware of the plot, however, and searched the Parliament buildings, eventually finding Fawkes with a large pile of kindling. Upon a second search of the cellar, the gunpowder was discovered and Fawkes was arrested. He eventually confessed to the plot under torture and was eventually hanged for his role.

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