After the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, the English Catholics felt hopeful that the persecution they had faced for over 45 years

would end as James I accedes the throne. James did not turn out to be any more tolerant, adding to the agitation of the Catholic population. In 1605, 13 men decided that violent action was the only solution, and planned an attack on the House of Lords.

By blowing up the Parliament, they would get rid of the King, the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics. To carry out the attack, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder - and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords. But soon enough, the King found out about the conspiracy, and decided to stop the attack.

On 5th November, the authorities stormed into the cellar and found Guy Fawkes with 36 barrels of gunpowder. He was caught, tortured, and

executed.

Till today, 5th November is celebrated because the British monarchy avoided an attack which would have caused colossal damage. In 1605,

bonfires were lighted in order to show support towards the monarchy; a tradition that is still observed.

On the other hand, Guy Fawkes has become a symbol of resistance against persecution. Made popular by the film V for Vendetta, and the

hacktivists who call themselves Anonymous - his image has been adopted as an instrument of anti-government sentiments.