November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day, or Bonfire Night, a day when those in Britain commemorate the original celebration of 1605, when mercenary Guy Fawkes was captured and the Gunpowder Plot was foiled. On the very night that the plot was thwarted, bonfires were set alight throughout the streets of London to celebrate the safety of King James I. Since then, the event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire. Throughout history, the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was not the only failed conspiracy attempt against those in power. Learn about the Gunpowder Plot as well some others plots that have taken place around the world, and those that have foiled them.
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House of Commons Information Office: The Gunpowder Plot (find it on ipl2)
The Gunpowder Plot led to a commemorative event that has taken place in England since 1605. This site provides information from the United Kingdom Parliament about the Gunpowder Plot, the name given to the conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. Guy (or Guido) Fawkes was considered to be the major conspirator.
The Gunpowder Plot: Parliament & Treason 1605 (find it on ipl2)
The celebration of the Guy Fawkes or Bonfire Night is an event that can be traced back some 400 years. This site was created in 2005 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot in England. It “traces the background of the Plot using original material from the period held in the archives of the Houses of Parliament and in other archives.”
The Alger Hiss Story: Search for the Truth (find it on ipl2)
Alger Hiss was accused of being a communist spy, setting off the McCarthy period of the 1950s. He continued to claim his innocence after his release. “Marking the 50th anniversary of Alger Hiss’s imprisonment, this site provides a study of this controversial American case.”
Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators (find it on ipl2)
The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Famous Trials collection has a webpage that gives a concise overview of the events before, on, and after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, including the trial against the conspirators.
NEW! What You Didn’t Know About John Wilkes Booth & Jesse James
This webpage describes unproven conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth and outlaw Jesse James as a result of their involvement with the secret society Knights of the Golden Circle.
The Roswell Incident and Project Mogul (find it on ipl2)
The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry promotes “scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” In this web page they discuss the alleged UFO Roswell incident of 1947.
Conspiracy of the death of Julius Caesar – An Annotated Guide to Online Resources – Julius Caesar (find it on ipl2)
“This site includes links to primary sources such as Suetonius and Plutarch, in Latin and English, as well as Gaius Julius Caesar’s own accounts of his campaigns. There are timelines of Caesar’s career and essays on the Roman Empire.” The site is searchable and contains the well-known account of the assassination of Julius Caesar as written by Plutarch.
The Death of Caesar according to Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (find it on ipl2: Arts and Humanities – History – History by Region – European History – Antiquity)
“Livius is a website on ancient history written and maintained since 1996 by the Dutch historian Jona Lendering.” This resource is a primary excerpt by Suetonius, a well-known Roman biographer and historian, from his work Lives of the Twelve Caesars, which is an account of the conspirators working towards the death of Julius Caesar. While his account is rather poetic, it is also considered to be the most popular as well as the most accurate.
NEW! Pazzi Conspiracy against Lorenzo and Giuliano de Medici: Death of a Medici: The Pazzi Conspiracy of 1478
This weblog gives a detailed and image-filled account of the Pazzi family’s conspiracy against the Medici family in Italy in 1478. The entry mentions modern references including a podcast and video game video to the conspiracy as well as current books about the conspiracy based upon archival evidence from this incredible event in Florentine history.
Lost Splendor by Felix Yussupov (find it on ipl2 – Arts & Humanities – History – History by Era – 20th Century History)
The Alexander Palace Time Machine hosts the memoirs of Prince Yussupov, one of the chief conspirators in the plot to kill Rasputin (for his account of conspiracy, see Chapters XXII-XXIV). His claim that Rasputin was “the reincarnation of Satan himself” and was “raised from the dead by the powers of evil” after being poisoned and shot sounds improbable, and it is possible that Yussupov introduced the elements of supernatural evil to help justify the murder. Check out the rest of the Alexander Palace Time Machine for more great resources on Imperial Russia.
NEW! Rasputin Assassinated by British Secret Service: BBC Timewatch Documentary
According to this BBC press release, historian Andrew Cook has uncovered evidence that the British secret agent Oswald Rayner (mentioned in Chapter XXIV of Yussupov’s account) fired the bullet that killed Rasputin.
NEW! Russian Palace Revolution: Peter III Dethroned, Catherine II Ascends
In the summer of 1762, the future Catherine the Great and the Imperial Guards conspired to arrest Catherine’s husband, Emperor Peter III of Russia, and proclaim Catherine the reigning Empress (perhaps emulating Peter’s aunt Elizabeth, who also seized the throne with help from the guards). This article is part of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library’s “On This Day” series highlighting events in Russian history.
NEW! The Napoleon Series: The Infernal Machine
This article from the Napoleon Series describes the event known as The Infernal Machine or Plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise, which was an assassination attempt on Napoleon and his family that took place on Christmas Eve 1800 as the group traveled to the Paris Opera to attend the opening of Haydn’s “Creation.” The bomb was not detonated in time and missed Napoleon’s carriage. However, as many as fifty-two bystanders were killed and injured in the blast. Napoleon, his wife Josephine, and their party which contained Napoleon’s stepdaughter and sister continued on to the Opera and were greeted by applause.
NEW! The Life of Napoleon: Chapitre 28: The Plot to Assassinate Napoleon:
Shortly after the failed assassination attempt known as the Infernal Machine, William Pitt and Comte d’Artois wasted no time helping to organize the next plot against Napoleon Bonaparte, the 1804 Royalist Plot to kidnap Napoleon, better known as the Cadoudal Plot. Chapter 28 from this resource on the Life of Napoleon details how the plot was foiled and led to the arrests of a large number of conspirators, including the Duke d’Enghien and Generals Jean Moreau and Jean Pichegru. Its leader and chief planner, Georges Cadoudal, was captured and executed after refusing to ask for a pardon, Pichegru is believed to have killed himself in prison, and Moreau was exiled.
NEW! The d’Enghien Affair: Crime or Blunder?
This article from the Napoleon Series describes the ongoing debate as to the involvement of the Duke d’Enghien, the son of the Duke of Bourbon, in the infamous Cadoudal Plot. Although information given to Napoleon on the Duke’s involvement was later dismissed, the Duke was shot to death by firing squad just a few moments after the Military Commission sentenced him to death for high treason. Prior to his death, many had viewed d’Enghien as one of the more active young men of the counter-revolution, after he declared himself the eternal enemy of the Republic of France.
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