Nearly everyone has heard the name Guy Fawkes, though if you haven't, you've almost certainly seen his face. His face, through Guy Fawkes masks, has become a symbol of activists, hackers, and people who feel repressed the world over. His face has adorned members of Occupy Wall Street, Anonymous and... thousands of keyboard cowboys. But who was Guy Fawkes?
Well, in a nutshell, he was a prominent member of a group of plotters that organized the Gun Powder Plot, a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland. The group planned to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England's Parliament on November 5, 1605. Pretty serious stuff.
His is literally the face of a revolution, but many people don't know anything about him. Sure people might have heard of the Gun Powder Plot or know to "Remember, remember the fifth of November," but who was the real Guy Fawkes? The original Guy Fawkes before the masks and mayhem? Who was the man before the plot? Why was he involved? A Guy Fawkes biography and some fun facts is what you need.
He Didn't Always Go by the Name "Guy"
Most people have heard the name Guy Fawkes, whether or not they know who he was. But from roughly 1603 on, during and after a trip to Spain to fight for the Spanish (and all through the Gun Powder Plot), he actually went by the name Guido Fawkes, the Italian version of his name. He preferred the way it sounded and the cultural impact that it carried.
The Conspirators Hatched the Plot in a Pub
The whole plot began a year before it was executed. Back in 1604 the five original conspirators (Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby, Tom Wintour, Jack Wright, and Thomas Percy) met at a small pub called The Duck and the Drake in the prestigious Strand area of London. It would later grow to a group of 13 men.
He Avoided Being Hanged by Jumping from the Gallows
Every year thousands burn replicas of Guy Fawkes on Guys Fawkes Day... but he was actually never burned or tossed in any sort of fire. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, as was consistent with the times.But Guy Fawkes is a legend for a reason and he wasn't going to die on someone else's terms. He escaped their clutches right before being lynched and leapt from the gallows, breaking his neck. He died instantly, which is likely a better fate than being hanged.
He Was Revered in His Time as an Excellent Soldier
Many times people don't receive credit or acclaim until they've passed away, but Fawkes actually had "considerable fame among the soldiers" during his time with the Spanish army in the late 1590s and early 1600s.
He was described during this time as a man "of excellent good natural parts, very resolute and universally learned." He was "sought by all the most distinguished in the Archduke's camp for nobility and virtue."