1606 — Guy Fawkes executed for his part in the Gunpowder Plot

Guido “Guy” Fawkes was to some extent the fall guy for his plot – the trigger man for the bombing and the one who got caught, becoming a hero to England and the English (especially Alan Moore and those who read his works). He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to hang – along with seven of his co-conspirators. Fawkes was scheduled to be last to be executed: hung and quartered.

The sentence was carried out at the Old Palace Yard at Westminster, where Fawkes, desiring to avoid the horrific pain of being quartered, leapt from the scaffold and broke his neck, killing himself instantly and with considerably less pain. He remains a martyr, albeit not so much to the cause he himself espoused (he wanted to blow up Parliament for oppressing Catholics, a far cry from the motives of those who wear his mask today).

Referenced in:
Guy Fawkes — The Krewmen

1928 — Leon Trotsky exiled from the Soviet Union

Trotsky was Lenin’s second-in-command during the Russian Revolution, and later the first leader of the Red Army and a high-ranking Politburo member. But after the death of Lenin in 1924, he lost power and position to Stalin. In 1928, Trotsky was exiled to Alma Ata in Kazakhstan. A year later, he was expelled from the Soviet Union, and sent to Turkey, accompanied by his wife Natalia Sedova and his son Lev Sedov.

His exile marked the end of any serious internal opposition to Stalin in the Soviet Union, with most of his followers either fleeing the country or surrendering. Trotsky continued to advocate his opposition to Stalin from outside the country. A constant thorn in Stalin’s side, he was assassinated in Mexico by a Soviet agent in 1940.

Referenced in:
The Purge — Catch 22