Northern England - A History Thread

Discussion in 'Writers' Corner' started by SoulPunisher, Nov 3, 2020.

  1. If the North of England was an independent nation, it would be home to 14.9 million people - that would make it the eleventh largest country in Europe behind the Netherlands. If the North of England was an independent nation, it would have a GVA of £316 billion - that would make it the ninth largest economy in Europe, ahead of Austria and just behind Sweden. It is home to the United Kingdom's largest financial centre outside of London, Leeds; as well as its third and fourth largest cities, Manchester and Liverpool.

    The statistics aren't all great. It has an unemployment rate of 7.0%. It, unfortunately, has the highest poverty rate of any region of the United Kingdom - comparable to that of a post-Soviet Eastern European nation. The average salary is £35,655 a year - the lowest of any region in the UK.

    But it's a place I'm proud to call home, and I hope that whoever is reading this finds this thread interesting. I just wanted something to write to occupy my mind for a bit and always enjoyed writing out my history threads, so if anyone else gets use out of it that'll be cool to see.
  2. Prehistory (12,000 BC - 70 AD)
    Northern England was inhabited by Neanderthals around 60,000 years ago, but once the ice age arrived, Northern England was engulfed in the Arctic Circle and became an uninhabitable arctic desert. But 12,000 years ago, the Arctic Circle began to recede and there is evidence of modern humans moving into the area as soon as 11,000 years ago.

    These people were Celtic tribes who arrived from Iberia (modern day Spain and Portugal) who became known as Brythonic peoples ('Britons'). Northern England was dominated by a tribe known as the Brigantes, who lived along the banks of the River Mersey in the West and stretched all the way to modern day Newcastle. The Brigantes were bordered by the Carvetii to the North East (modern day Cumbria) and by the Parisii tribe to the North West (modern day Yorkshire).
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  3. Under The Roman Empire (70 AD - 383 AD)



    These tribes were subjugated by the Roman Empire in the year 70 AD and were reorganised into the 'Britannia Inferior' ('lower Britain'), a province ruled by the Romans.

    The Romans built a fortress called 'Eboracum' , a Latinised form of the Brythonic word 'Eburākon' ('yew tree place'), in 71 AD. This fortress attracted thousands of settlers from every corner of the Roman Empire who built homes around the fortress - it eventually became a small town and then blossomed into a cosmopolitan city. From 208 AD onwards, Septimius Severus, the Emperor of the Roman Empire, based the Imperial Court at Eboracum and began construction of a giant wall before he died there in 211 AD. Just under one-hundred years later, Emperor Constantine the Great was proclaimed the Emperor of Rome at Eboracum. Eboracum was the main base for legionaries attempting to conquer Scotland, although the Romans never succeeded in accomplishing this feat, but also doubled as the capital city of Britannia Inferior.

    Another large fortress called 'Deva Victrix' was built in 74 AD. 'Deva' was the Latinised version of the Brythonic word 'Dēvā', which was their name for the River Dee/the Earthly form of the Celtic goddess of war Aerfen, and 'Victrix' was the Latin word for 'victorious'. Deva Victrix was built upon a sandstone ridge that overlooked the River Dee, and like Eboracum, a small town developed around the fortress; it ended up being a popular retirement destination for Roman legionaries who were at the end of their service, while the fortress was the Roman's main military base in Britannia Inferior. Similar to many places in Southern England, the people of Deva Victrix spoke a language that was a mix of both Latin and Brythonic; they also had a shrine dedicated to Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. It is also believed that Deva Victrix was the capital of Britannia as a whole, until Londonium emerged as the cultural and economic centre of the island.

    A third fortress was also constructed in 79 AD, although this one was much smaller than Eboracum and Deva Victrix. This one was called 'Mamucium' - it is unclear what this was a Latinisation of, however the Brythonic and modern Welsh word 'mam' means 'mother', which was likely the name of the River Medlock that the fortress overlooked on a sandstone ridge. Local civilians had a place of worship dedicated to Mithras, a God who likely had roots in Iranian zoroastrianism, and whose new religion was a rival to early Christianity - and, well... I think it's clear who won that power struggle; and, on that note, the town around this fortress had early Christian artifacts found within it, meaning that this town was one of the first places in Britannia to come into contact with Christianity.
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  4. The Anglo-Saxons (383 AD - 800 AD)
    The Roman Empire abandoned Britannia Inferior in 383 AD, allowing several local warlords to inherit the shattered remains of the province; the Kingdom of Rheged formed in the territory that is now the county of Cumbria (however, its capital was in Galloway, Scotland) in the modern day; and the Kingdom of Elmet formed in what is now modern day Yorkshire. These newly formed countries suffered rapid technological decline, as the Romans had taken all of their technology back to Europe with them. They were eventually conquered by the Anglo Kingdom of Northumbria.

    Invading Angle tribes, arriving from what is now modern day Denmark, formed the Kingdom of Bernicia in the modern day counties of Durham, England and Lothian, Scotland; and the Kingdom of Deira formed just south of Yorkshire. Bernicia and Deira were united by King Æthelfrith in 604 AD, forming the Kingdom of Northumbria - Æthelfrith was compared to Saul, the first King of Israel, due to his victories against the native Brythonic tribes and his brutality with which he drove them from their homeland and into the mountain region of Wales, and filled their abandoned houses with Angles; Northumbria eventually encompassed the vast majority of what is now considered to be Northern England, and Æthelfrith didn't stop there - he once crossed into Wales and slaughtered a group of monks who were praying with a group of natives because... it was fun? Despite this, the Angles only remained culturally Anglo - they ended up assimilating with the native population of Britain, and Northern England is still very culturally Celtic, and people in the North didn't even speak the same language as the Anglo-Saxons until the 1000s.

    The Kingdom of Northumbria bordered the Kingdom of Mercia, another Anglo-Saxon kingdom, to the south; however, Mercia encompassed the Midlands and only one place regarded to be in the North of England, so I'm gonna ignore them.

    Place names began to change. Deva Victrix was owned by the Welsh Kingdom of Powys for a time, and became known as 'Deverdoeu', however once the Kingdom of Northumbria conquered the city they renamed it 'Legacæstir', which eventually became 'Chester'; and Mamucium became 'Mamceaster' - eventually morphing into 'Manchester'. Eboracum under the Kingdom of Northumbria became 'Eoforwic' but... wait, hang on a second? Are those vikings raiding the East coast??? What do you mean they JUST LANDED AN ARMY IN EOFORWIC???????

    (p.s these posts will get longer and won't cover centuries at once, I'm trying to keep them bitesized and, atm, we're in a part of history where British people were mostly living in wooden huts and were organised into clans/tribes, so nobody knows how to read, they're removed from the world around them: essentially 'no thoughts head empty ooga booga I dunno how to read or write or log historical events that ended up majorly affecting the future')
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  5. The Vikings (800 AD - 1066 AD)


    Since the year 800 AD, the North East had suffered from coastal raiding committed by Vikings coming from Denmark. In the year 865 AD, something peculiar happened - the Vikings arrived with an army and landed their army in the Kingdom of East Anglia (the East Angles), an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in South East England, with the intention of conquering the entire island of Great Britain. They were called the Great Heathen Army, and were led by Ragnar Lodbrok, Halfdan Ragnarsson, and Ivar The Boneless.

    By 867 AD, they had conquered the Kingdom of Northumbria and seized its capital - Eoforwic. They renamed the city 'Jorvik' (the Norse version of Eburakon)and renamed Northumbria the same. Christian monasteries were abolished and the local Anglo-Saxons and remaining Brythonic peoples even began practicing Norse funeral ceremonies instead of Christian ones. All around the North East and North West of England, towns like Cleethorpes and Scunthorpe, Whitby and Grimsby, Kirklees and Ormskirk were founded by viking settlers - we know this because the 'thorpe', 'by', and 'kirk' in their names comes from the Norse language.

    The Kingdom of Mercia finally fell to Viking invasion the same way Northumbria had in 874 AD - the southern Kingdom of Wessex was the only Anglo-Saxon kingdom left standing, and the rulers of Wessex styled themselves as 'King of the Anglo-Saxons' from 886 AD onwards. King Æthelstan, the King of Wessex, managed to defeat the rulers of the Kingdom of Jorvik in 954 AD and united the Kingdom of Northumbria, the Kingdom of Mercia, the Kingdom of East Anglia, the Kingdom of Cornwall, and the Kingdom of Wessex into one country - the Kingdom of Angleland.

    The Kingdom of Angleland was inherited by King Cnut, the King of Norway and the King of Denmark, in 1016 AD. After Cnut's death, Edward the Confessor inherited the Kingdom of Angleland in 1042 AD. Edward promised the throne of Angleland to Harold Godwinsson (an Anglo-Saxon lord), Harold Hardrada (the King of Norway), and William Normandie (the Duke of Normandy, a Viking settlement in France). Edward died in 1066 AD.

    Harold Godinwsson, already in Angleland and with Edward at the time of his death, immediately claimed the throne. Harold Hardrada and Duke William were infuriated, and both launched invasions of Angleland. Hardrada and the Norwegian Army landed near the city of Jorvik - towns all across Yorkshire surrendered to him, and Jorvik surrendered to Norway a few days into the invasion. Hardrada and the leaders of Jorvik agreed to meet at Stamford Bridge to discuss the transition of power - Hardrada was instead met by Harold Godwinsson's army. According to less-than-accurate accounts of the ensuing battle, a single Norwegian Viking berserker single-handedly fought the Army of Angeland on the bridge, allowing Hardrada to organise his weak force into a shield-wall formation; Hardrada's army was beaten easily, and Hardrada himself was killed in the battle while fighting with no armour and with his bare hands - a state the vikings called 'berserkergang', and the source of the English word 'berserk'.

    Duke William landed in South England and set up camp at the town of Hastings at the same time as the battle. Godwinsson's battle had drained his soldiers, and he marched them south to defeat William. Godwinsson was killed at the Battle of Hastings and Duke William was the new King of Angleland - changing the course of history forever.
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  6. The Harrying of the North (1069 AD - 1080 AD)

    The North was not happy about their new French ruler. Most people in Northern England were now Anglo-Scandinavian; a cultural mish-mash of Anglo, Danish, and Brythonic who spoke a dialect of English that was a completely foreign language to Southern English people, and local aristocracy were the descendants of Danish Vikings. Northern civilians and Northern lords refused to submit to the new King of Angleland, and used the Witenagemot (a proto-parliament that Anglo-Saxons used, similar to the Norse people's 'thing') to declare that Edgar Ætheling, a descendant of the Kings of Wessex, was the one true King.

    King William was infuriated and revoked Northumbria from its current ruler, instead installing Robert de Comines, a Norman nobleman, as the Duke of Northumbria. Robert arrived in Northumbria... and the locals promptly killed him. The rest of the North rose up in rebellion. Denmark declared its support for the rebellion and mobilised its army to support it.

    Winter rolled around, as it always does, and the Danish had run out of supplies. King William paid them to leave, and they did. The rebellion was still huge, and King William was sure to be defeated.

    The Kingdom of England still exists today. Its name is a Latinised form of 'Angleland'; its cities have French-sounding names; its language is a melting pot of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, French, Latin, and Welsh. So... how did King William win?

    He committed genocide.

    King William and his army slaughtered and burned Northern settlements and burned entire crop fields; there are reports that people in the North ended up resorting to cannibalism to feed themselves, and hordes of Northern refugees fled to Wales and Scotland, and Southern England. According to the Domesday Book, a survey of England and Wales conducted in 1086 AD by King William, 60% of the North was still in ruins twenty years later. William slaughtered 75% of the population - 150,000 people out of the 2 million who lived in England at the time.

    The North was subjugated by force and William removed the Danish and Anglo-Saxon aristocracy, replacing them with Normans and people from continental Europe like the Kingdom of Lotharingia. The Northumbrians killed their new lord again and were harried a second time. Most of the existing architecture from before then was destroyed, and Northern cities and towns were rebuilt in the style of towns and cities you see in Northern France.

    With all that said - the Anglo-Scandinavian culture and language survived. Normans were not interested in settling England with their own population, and were only interested in ripping up the existing aristocracy and becoming landowners. The North was now forever culturally distinct from Southern England, with its own language and culture that had Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Viking influences.

    This is the beginning of the North-South Divide.
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  7. The Reconstruction Era (1080 AD - 1207 AD)

    The North underwent a period of reconstruction after The Harrying. Catholic monastic orders flooded Northern England and constructed abbeys across the country, providing much-needed stimulation to the Northern economy in the wake of the disaster. There was also a significant influx of immigrants from Flanders (part of modern day Belgium), who settled in Cumbria, the city of Manchester, and in small enclaves across Yorkshire.

    Immediately after The Harrying, a Norman-style gothic cathedral began construction in Jorvik - this new cathedral was going to rival South England's cathedral of Canterbury, which was the largest place of worship in England and was the site of many pilgrimages. Jorvik's Cathedral was not completed until 1472 AD; Jorvik also became a major trading port and had strong trading links to the Low Countries (modern day Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg). The city also became known as 'York'.

    Chester was devastated by The Harrying. King William The Conqueror built a castle in the city, and following this it gradually became Northern England's major centre of economic activity once more, especially thanks to its position on the River Dee.

    The North didn't immediately catch a break, though. The King of England, King Henry I (the son of King William) died in 1135 AD and his nephew attempted to seize the throne - he was supported by Normandy, but England declared war on them and wanted to install Empress Matilda, Henry's daughter, on the throne. English barons revolted against usurper-nephew, and Wales rose up against England to declare its independence; Scotland decided now was the perfect time to invade England. Large parts of the North came under Scottish control, however The Anarchy ended in 1157 AD and England reunified, winning the North back off Scotland.

    Scotland didn't stop there, though. In 1322 AD, King Robert of Scotland raided everywhere in Northern England during the Scottish War of Independence after England attempted to invade it. This raid culminated in the Battle of Old Byland, a clash between the Scottish Army and the English Army in Yorkshire, and was a devastating loss for the English. The Scottish won the war.

    In 1207 AD, a new town was founded in the North, on the River Mersey - Liuerpul. The name came from the Old English word 'lifer', meaning 'muddy water', and 'pol', meaning 'pool'. This was a small place, never intended to blossom into a giant sprawling city... but that's a topic for another chapter.
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  8. The War of the Roses (1455 AD - 1487 AD)

    BIG TIME JUMP but the period between the 1200s - 1400s is really quiet. All you need to know is that the Magna Carta was signed in 1215, creating Parliament and restricting the Monarchy's power (important for the next chapter); the Black Death ravaged the entirety of England from 1348 to 1349 and killed 20% of the population; the serfs (basically the enslavement of everyone who lived in a kingdom) rose up in rebellion against the Monarchy and lost, however the mass death caused by the Black Death caused serfdom to end anyway by creating a labour shortage and making wages go up; England and France went to war for an entire century over who gets to be the King of France, ending in France reclaiming most of France from England (1337 - 1453).

    That brings us to the War of the Roses.

    House Lancaster took their name from Lancaster, a Northern English city; House York took their name from York - the same one I've been talking about throughout this thread lol.

    I've already written about this war before, so here you go.

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  9. The Reformation: Part I (1487 - 1534)

    The Renaissance started in Italy in 1300 and spread to England in the late 1400s. By 1517, the Renaissance caused some European followers of the Catholic Church to question its teachings. Catholicism said that forgiveness could only be achieved through repentance, while the people behind these new ideas believed that merely believing in God was enough to achieve forgiveness; Catholicism was focused around mass, while the people behind these new ideas said that merely reading the Bible was enough - either by yourself, or as presented in a sermon. These people called themselves Protestants.

    Many of these teachings had already spread in England from 1381 onwards, thanks to a heresy known as Lollardy. The movement was spearheaded by John Wycliffe, a Catholic theologian based in England, who translated the Bible into English. Followers of Lollardy were persecuted and the English Monarchy dismissed them as a threat to English society. By 1401, King Henry IV had passed a law that allowed followers of Lollardy be burned alive. Lollards lacked access to the printing press and failed to gain momentum with English friars. They fizzled out, only keeping footholds in London, but they had shown that there was appetite for reform among the English population.

    Henry Tudor, otherwise known as King Henry VIII, ascended to the English throne in 1509. Henry was a devout Catholic, attending Mass five times a day and he was close to Thomas Wolsey, a Catholic cardinal and the Chancellor of England. He was even awarded the title 'Defender of the Faith' by Pope Leo X in 1521, after writing a book that refuted Martin Luther's teachings.

    However... a young, Protestant, French noblewoman called Anne Boleyn arrived at Henry's court a year later to serve as his wife's Maid of Honour. By 1527 King Henry argued that he should be able to annul his marriage to his wife, Queen Catherine, because it was a sin to have married her in the first place (she was his dead brother's wife), and that was why she could not produce a male heir. The Pope refused to annul the marriage, as Queen Catherine's nephew was the Holy Roman Emperor, and... well, the Pope was a prisoner of the Holy Roman Empire.

    King Henry was furious. He called Parliament in November 1529. Many Members of Parliament, like Thomas Cromwell, were sympathetic to Protestant ideals and wanted to push for reform; but many MPs were clerical lawyers - these clerical lawyers argued that the Pope's word was final and nobody can push back against it. In response, King Henry charged every priest in England with the crime of praemunire - a violation of the Statute of Praemunire, a law passed in 1392 that says the Kingdom of England's authority is supreme to that of the Papacy's.

    The clergy quickly agreed to make a payment of £100,000, spread out from 1531 to 1536, in return for a royal pardon; they also agreed to recognise that the King of England was the 'Supreme Head of the Church and Clergy of England', and agreed that they no longer answered to the Pope. In 1532, Parliament also passed a motion that listed nine grievances the Catholic Church had made against the Kingdom of England, and also passed a law that removed the Church's ability to make laws and gave that power to the Monarchy. They also passed the Ecclesiastical Statue of Appeals and the Acts of Supremacy in 1534, which established the Kingdom of England as an independent nation state that was not beholden to Rome in any way at all.

    Henry was still a Catholic at heart, however, and left the philosophical side of the reformation to Thomas Cromwell - he was merely rubberstamping things while enjoying his new marriage to Boleyn. Cromwell governed the Church of England in a Lutheran Protestant manner; the seven sacraments were reduced to three, praying to saints and icon worship was removed as a doctrine, feast days were banned, pilgrimages were discouraged and people were instead encouraged to make charitable donations rather than toss coins at icons, and the English translation of the Bible was made legal to own and read.

    Cromwell also advised King Henry that he should launch a crackdown on monastic orders/monks - religious orders that drew in people from all over Europe and were, by nature, resistant to admit that the King of England had supremacy over the Church of England and still had loyalty to the Pope. Henry was open to the idea, as he had launched England's financial situation into dire straits and needed money - missing money that the confiscation of land could more than make up for; he would also be able to sell the English gentry on the new Church of England, as they would now own land that they wouldn't own under Catholicism. Anne Boleyn led calls among Protestant reformers that the monastic orders should be converted into libraries and places for the poor to live, but Henry didn't care.

    King Henry ordered a crackdown on monastic orders across England in 1534, on the basis that monks and nuns were all sexual deviants, and that they were hoarding false religious relics.

    This launched Northern England into open revolt.
  10. The Reformation - Part II (1534 - 1603)

    The Lincolnshire Rising broke out in Lincolnshire, a Northern English county, in October 1536. 40,000 rebels assembled at the city of Lincoln. They dragged Doctor John Raynes, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Shrewsbury, who was visiting the nearby town of Bolingbroke, from his bed and beat him to death; they then occupied Lincoln Cathedral. They demanded that the crackdown on monasteries end immediately and that Roman Catholics should have the freedom to worship.

    King Henry was able to deal with this revolt with mere threats of military force and the execution of its leaders.

    He was not able to put down the wider movement that erupted around the rebellion.

    The Pilgrimage of Grace, a rebellion of over 50,000 people, was launched in York immediately after the Lincolnshire Rising ended. The Pilgrimage argued that the year's poor harvest and high food prices meant that many of England's poor were relying on monasteries for food, and if they were closed many people would starve over the incoming winter; they were revolted by the fact that King Henry had cast Queen Catherine aside for Anne Boleyn... and by now had beheaded Anne Boleyn for flimsy charges of adultery; they also feared that churches, the centre of community life in Northern England, would also suffer a crackdown similar as to what had happened to the monasteries.

    The King sent the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Shrewsbury to negotiate with the rebellion's leaders. They promised that a parliament would be held in York in 1537, where the future of monasteries would be discussed, and there would be ceasefire against monasteries until the parliament had finished debating and voting on the issue. By February 1537, the King had not called the promised parliament yet. He instead had a military regiment disperse the rebellion when conditions were favourable, rounded up the rebellion's leadership, and executed them all.

    Henry was now fully convinced that the monasteries had to be eradicated - not just so he could seize their assets, but because they were inciting rebellions and keeping Catholic sympathies alive in England. He sped up the raiding and closure of them, and by 1540 there were no monasteries left in the Kingdom of England at all.

    Henry died in 1547 and was succeeded by his only son, King Edward VI. Edward, who had been raised as Protestant, was revered by English Protestants as their equivalent of Yoshiyahu. Edward's Regency Council ordered a crackdown on England's churches - as the Pilgrimage of Grace had feared they eventually would - and processions, sacramentals like holy water, and paintings of saints - as well as stained glass and statues - that adorned church walls were made illegal; using candles, ashes and palms during Candlemas, Ash Wednesday, and Palm Sunday was banned. Parliament also passed the Act of Uniformity in 1549, which demanded that all liturgy in England be produced in English rather than Latin. Clerical marriage was also legalised.

    King Edward fell ill with tuberculosis in February 1553 and was dead by July. His sister, Queen Mary, succeeded him.

    Queen Mary was a Catholic. She repealed the Act of Uniformity, but said that she would pursue a policy of religious tolerance; there would be no crackdowns on Protestantism. She was, however, angered when Parliament refused to admit that the Pope reigned supreme. And... remember when she said there would be no crackdowns on Protestantism? All those monasteries that were sold to the English gentry were... cracked down on. Priests were separated from their wives. English Protestants fled to Germany and Switzerland, where they continued to safely produce propaganda against Queen Mary. She re-criminalised heresy/Protestantism in 1555, and over almost 300 Protestants were burned alive during her reign... the same punishment that the Lollardy suffered in the 1300s. She suddenly died in 1558, allowing her Protestant sister, Elizabeth, to succeed to the throne.

    Queen Elizabeth I pretty much reversed everything that Queen Mary had done and she started executing Catholic priests and forced Catholics underground. This allowed Protestantism to grow significantly as a movement during her reign, making it less of a minority religion as it had been previously. In 1569, the North rose up in the 'Rising of the North', a Catholic rebellion whose aims were to depose Queen Elizabeth and replace her with Queen Mary, the Queen of Scotland. They were just 4,000 strong. By January 1570, the rebellion had been crushed, and the rebellion merely led to Queen Elizabeth executing Queen Mary.

    After Elizabeth's death in 1603, Queen Mary's son, King James VII of Scotland, succeeded the English throne. He united the two nation states of England and Scotland, and brought House Stuart to power. The North was about to blossom, and it's all thanks to him.
  11. Guy Fawkes

    Guy Fawkes was born in York in 1570. His father, Edward, was a Protestant who worked at the ecclesiastical court in York and his mother was a devout Catholic who refused to attend Protestant services. His father died when Fawkes was eight years old, and Fawkes inherited his estate. Several years later, his mother married a fellow Catholic.

    Together with his brother, Fawkes was sent to a boarding school, St. Peter's School (the fourth oldest school in the world), in his home city - the school was notorious for being a base of Catholic activity. Here, he also made friends with a boy called John Wright.

    In 1591, when Fawkes was 21 years old, he sold his father's estate and used the funds to travel to the Netherlands. He wanted to fight in the Eighty Years' War on the side of the Kingdom of Spain. Since 1482, Spain had control over the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg (the Low Countries); by 1568, the Low Countries had grown sick of Spanish occupation, and had also converted to Protestantism - Spain was incredibly Catholic, having pushed their national consciousness to the extremes of Catholicism after half of Iberia was invaded by Muslim empires, and they were forced to reclaim their land using religion as a casus belli. This war drew in every major European power, as it was seen as a battle of Catholicism vs. Protestantism: the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Portugal fought against the newly proclaimed Dutch Republic, while the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of France, and the Kingdom of Scotland united against Spain and Portugal.

    Fawkes climbed the ranks of the Spanish Army over his five years there, eventually proving his dedication to Spain during the Siege of Calais, when he fought valiantly against England and France. He was recommended to be elevated to the rank of Captain. The Spanish Crown sought to distract England with a Catholic rebellion, and all but commissioned Guy Fawkes to seek out support for it.

    Upon travelling back to England in 1603, Fawkes began to refer to himself as 'Guido Fawkes'. He met with Robert Catesby (the mastermind behind the Gunpowder Plot), Robert and Thomas Winter, James Wright and Thomas Percy in 1604, and they hatched a plan to assassinate King James I and replace him with his daughter, Princess Elizabeth.

    The six men rented out a room next to Parliament from John Whynniard, the Keeper of the King's wardrobe, and were able to hide shipments of gunpowder inside of it. In May 1605, Fawkes travelled back to Spain to inform Spanish officials of the plan, and the English Government - namely, a man called Robert Cecil - caught a sniff of Guy Fawkes from their spies.

    By August 1605, Fawkes had returned to England. Fawkes planned to be the one to light the gunpowder fuse, after which he would run away and escape back to Europe. Some of his fellow conspirators, however, were concerned about killing fellow Catholics - Lord Monteagle, a Lord Hereditary in the House of Lords, received an anonymous warning about the Gunpowder Plot the morning it was supposed to go ahead. Monteagle showed the letter to King James, who ordered his soldiers to conduct a search of the cellar on November 5th - they found Guy Fawkes attempting to escape the room.

    Fawkes was thrown into an interrogation room. When asked what his intentions were he claimed that he wanted to 'blow you Scottish beggars back to the mountains you came from', but eventually admitted that his motive was not ethnically motivated, but religiously-motivated. King James actually personally admired him for having a 'Roman's resolution'. However, Fawkes refused to give up the names of his fellow plot members, so James personally ordered that Fawkes have the rack used on him.

    The rack in question was a torture device in the Tower of London that would have its victim tied down on a wooden slab with their hands and knees chained to two rollers. The rollers would move at the torturer's will, effectively stretching the victim's body and tearing the ligaments in their elbows and knees, rendering their muscles forever useless, and would also dislocate all of their joints. Bones could also snap under the pressure, and many torturers would also choose to rip off their victim's nails with a pair of pincers.

    It took two days for Fawkes to break and reveal his true identity and to reveal the names of his fellow conspirators. They were all arrested and put on trial on January 27th, 1606. He pleaded not guilty to all of his charges. He was sentenced to death on charges of high treason anyway. On January 31st, they were dragged through the streets of London naked while tied to a horse carriage ('drawn'); Fawkes managed to jump before the scaffold was opened beneath him and snapped his neck ('hanged'); and their bodies were cut into pieces ('quartered').
  12. The English Civil War - Part I: Prelude To War

  13. The English Civil War: Prelude To War - Part II


  14. The English Civil War: Prelude To War - Part III