Today, our friends in the UK celebrate Guy Fawkes day, a holiday that most Americans find confusing because, near as they can figure, English history starts in 1585 and largely ends in 1814.

Luckily, scarletdemon wrote a lovely treatise on the history of the occasion a couple of years ago, and it’s still there for you to enjoy now.

In 1605, English Catholics were angry that they did not have equal rights, so their leader (Pope Trevor the Third) signed what Catholics call a “Fatwa” and sent it to Guy Fawkes to be carried out. Fawkes assembled a band of like-minded terrorists and they decided to assassinate King James I, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy, in one fell swoop, by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening. They saw themselves as soldiers of fortune, helping people in need. But who were these desperate men? Guy Fawkes had chosen some of the best minds in pyrotechnic history: Himself, George Handel, Arthos, Porthos, Shakespeare, Dogtanian and fuse specialist Artemis Richlieu. Their famous cry of “Penny For The Guy And One For All!” has become a regular catch-phrase for children begging outside corner-shops (with their Guy Fawkes effigies), even today.

Go read the whole post. It’s delightful stuff.