10 Things that may have happened if Guy Fawkes succeeded

On bonfire night we thought we would delve into the realm of what if. What if Guy Fawkes had not been caught trying to blow up Parliament on Tuesday 5th November 1605, and the Catholic conspirators had killed King James I? Here are 10 things that may have happened.

  1. Parliament would have been destroyed, as we know courtesy of Richard Hammond. A good analogy for the level of shock and devastation is 9/11 – religious fundamentalism is still causing problems four centuries later.
  2. With King James I, his heir Prince Henry, and most of the Privy Council and other Lord makers dead there would have been a huge power vacuum, and England would have been up for grabs. The conspirator’s plan had been to install Princess Elizabeth as a puppet catholic queen.
  3. However, Elizabeth was known to be very strong willed. This could have lead the Catholics to turn to a four year old prince (Charles I, who eventually lost his head). His reign could have been very different from the one that ended in the English Civil War.
  4. Parliament could have filled the vacuum. This is unlikely, nobody was really considering getting rid of the monarchy yet and it would take another thirty seven years until England toyed with that idea.
  5. There would have been no surge in Puritanism. The failed plot was followed by a rush of anti-Catholicism in England accompanied by a lot of executions and witch hunts. Views became more extreme and Puritans, like Oliver Cromwell, would come to have a greater hand in England’s running.
  6. The US may have spoken French or Spanish. Without the Puritan religious fundamentalism driving people from England to the New World for a purer life it is quite possible that the French or Spanish may have been more successful in colonising North America.
  7. The Great Fire of London may have occurred a earlier. In 1666 much of London burnt down due to the Great Fire, not helped by thatch roofs and closely packed housing. These conditions already existed in 1605, and a big explosion in the city centre could well have lit the first spark for greater destruction.
  8. There would be no Britain. It would have been quite probable that England and Scotland went their separate ways, only two years after joining together. It was not until 1707 that the Acts of Union took place so they were still two countries that just happened to share a monarch.
  9. Invasion. A lot of people had a lot of reasons to invade, whether it was the French, Spanish or even the Scots (although they were sort of in charge anyway). A complete power vacuum provided the perfect opportunity.
  10. If Guy Fawkes had succeeded maybe we would celebrate bonfire night by blowing up a miniature model of Parliament rather than burning an effigy of poor old Guy.
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One thought on “10 Things that may have happened if Guy Fawkes succeeded

  1. Pingback: 10 Things that may have happened if Guy Fawkes had succeeded | jamesmirzadavies.com

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