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For use with Talking Point worksheets

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Postby TalkingPoint » Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:53 am

When did terrorism start?
It could be argued that one of the first ever acts of terrorism took place almost exactly four hundred years ago, in 1605, on the banks of the river Thames in London.

Parliament was due to start officially on 5th November that year, opened by the reigning monarch in a grand ceremony called the "State Opening of Parliament". James the First was the king at the time and it was he who was to play the main role in the ceremony.

However, unbeknown to him, some "terrorists" were planning to blow up the entire Parliament building, killing not only the government of the day but also King James himself. Their aim was to take control of the country and facilitate a more tolerant attitude towards Catholics, who were being persecuted.

The conspirators had laid their plans carefully and had placed several barrels of gunpowder in a cellar under the House of Lords. On the eve of the State Opening of Parliament they left one of their number guarding the barrels through the night...

The first terrorist?
The plotter who kept guard that night was called Guy Fawkes (1570-1606). Despite his vigilance he was discovered during the night and arrested at once. Six of his co-conspirators were later arrested too, and were tried in January the following year and executed. Guy Fawkes was found guilty of treason and hanged.

Bonfire Night
Every year, in England, the Gunpowder Plot, as it came to be known, is remembered on the 5th November. Bonfires are made in many towns and villages. People make effigies of Guy Fawkes and then burn these "guys" at the stake (tied to a wooden pole in the centre of the fire). Fireworks are also set off to mark the occasion, to celebrate the fact that Guy Fawkes et al did not succeed in blowing up the Houses of Parliament and murdering the Members of Parliament and the king all those years ago.

Quick Quiz
Read the clues below and write the solutions on a piece of paper. Then take the first letter of each answer and rearrange them to find the hidden word connected with this Talking Point.

1. Guy Fawkes et al did not succeed in blowing up the Houses of Parliament and murdering the __________ of Parliament and the king.

2. On the eve of the State __________ of Parliament the conspirators left one of their number guarding the barrels through the night

3. Some "terrorists" were planning to __________ up the entire Parliament building.

4. Every year, on 5th November, __________ are made in many towns and villages in memory of the Gunpowder plot. Effigies of Guy Fawkes are burnt on them.
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