Was the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ a 17th-Century False Flag?

By Paul T. Angel

The March/April 2014 issue of THE BARNES REVIEW (TBR) is a very special one, with an eclectic array of material from historians from across the globe. Our lead story by TBR assistant editor John Tiffany focuses on the infamous Gunpowder Plot, an alleged 1605 scheme by a group of Catholics to blow up the Parliament with the king—James I of “King James Bible” fame—and his lords inside with a massive cache of gunpowder hidden in a “cellar” beneath the Parliament complex. The alleged ringleader of the plot was the infamous Guy Fawkes, a Catholic war veteran. People know Fawkes today, of course, because protesters and “Anonymous” fans around the globe wear a mask of him—white with a black goatee—as they gather in front of financial institutions from New York to London. He is thus seen today as an icon of “resistance.”


But what evidence is there that Fawkes—or any of the other “conspirators”—were actually behind the plot to blow up King James? How could they have amassed tons of gunpowder over a course of months in a space frequently used by pedestrians? Were several of the “conspirators” actually government agents? How did the British government use the foiling of the plot to foment anti-Catholic sentiments at home and perpetual war against its Catholic neighbors? Why did people of the time doubt the government claims about the Gunpowder Plot and what evidence exists today to show the Protestant claims were true? Read and find out!

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Paul T. Angel is the managing editor of THE BARNES REVIEW historical magazine and the art and production director for AMERICAN FREE PRESS. He received his BA in Design from American University in 1983 with a focus on graphic design, art history and marketing. Paul invites you to request a free sample copy of TBR—the most honest history magazine in America—by calling 1-877-773-9077 toll free or writing TBR, P.O. Box 15877, Washington, D.C. 20003.