In the United Kingdom and in New Zealand, the failure of the gunpowder plot is celebrated annually on Guy Fawkes Night. Fawkes was born in Stonegate in York, where he was baptized in the church of St. Michael-le-Belfry, and attended St. Peter's School. He was the only son of Edward Fawkes of York and his wife Eve Blake. He served for many years as a soldier gaining considerable expertise with explosives. In 1593 he enlisted in the army of Archduke Albert of Austria in the Netherlands, fighting against the Protestant United Provinces in the Eighty Years' War. In 1596 he was present at the siege and capture of Calais but by 1602 he had risen no higher than the rank of ensign.
In his person he was tall and athletic, his countenance was manly, and the determined expression of his features was not a little heightened by a profusion of brown hair, and an auburn-coloured beard. He was descended from a respectable family in Yorkshire, and having soon squandered the property he inherited at the decease of his father, his restless spirit associated itself with the discontented and factions of his age.
Recently, a perspective has been put forward that Guy Fawkes was not
trying to blow up Parliament at all. He was a member of a group of English
Catholics, decided to kill the King because he had reneged on his promises to stop the persecution
of Catholics. The attempt took place at Parliament because that was a known
place where the king would be at a known time, and with big cellars to
hide the bomb. But ever since, the event has been retold to the people
as "the attempt to blow up parliament", thus shifting the intended
target from an unpopular monarch to a popular institution.