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Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606), (also known as Guido Fawkes while fighting for the Spanish) was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He was born and educated in York, England; his father died when Fawkes was eight years old, after which his mother married a recusant Catholic
Fawkes converted to Catholicism and left for mainland Europe, where he fought for Catholic Spain in the Eighty Years' War against Protestant Dutch reformers in the Low Countries. He travelled to Spain to seek support for a Catholic rebellion in England without success. He later met Thomas Wintour, with whom he returned to England, and Wintour introduced him to Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The plotters leased an undercroft beneath the House of Lords, and Fawkes was placed in charge of the gunpowder which they stockpiled there. The authorities were prompted by an anonymous letter to search Westminster Palace during the early hours of 5 November, and they found Fawkes guarding the explosives. He was questioned and tortured over the next few days, and he finally confessed.
Immediately before his execution on 31 January, Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of being hanged, drawn and quartered. He became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which has been commemorated in Britain as Guy Fawkes Night since 5 November 1605, when his effigy is traditionally burned on a bonfire, commonly accompanied by fireworks.