1605 – Guy Fawkes arrested

At around midnight between the 4th and 5th of November, one Guido Fawkes was discovered hiding beneath the Houses of Parliament in London, keeping company with a very large quantity of gunpowder (more than enough to reduce the buildings above to rubble). Fawkes was caught due to an anonymous tip to the police, and upon his arrest, the conspiracy for which he was the triggerman quickly disintergrated. Most of the other conspirators fled, but they were either shot down or captured by the authorities.

The Gunpowder Plot, as it became known, was an attempt by a group of pro-Catholic sympathisers to destroy a government that they felt was too Protestant, and install in its place a more Catholic regime in England. They were highly committed to this cuase (Fawkes, for example, would almost certainly have died in the explosions he set off), but ultimately, they failed.

But even today, English speaking peoples everywhere remember Guy Fawkes as the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

Referenced in:

Guy Fawkes — The Krewmen

1831 — Nat Turner sentenced to death

In August 1831, guided by visions sent from God (or so he claimed), black slave Nat Turner led a rebellion of slaves in Virginia. Turner and his fellow rebels killed between 55 and 65 white men, women and children (accounts vary as the exact number). But the rebellion was put down quickly, and most of the rebels were slain or captured (and then, for the most part, executed).

Nat Turner eluded capture for many weeks after the end of the slave rebellion he had led. It was not until October 30 – more than two months later – that he was captured. He was tried in Jerusalem, Virginia, and defended by white lawyer Thomas Gray. The trial did not take long – on a single day, he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Turner was hung on November 11, 1831. Controversy regarding his goals and methods continues to this day.

Referenced in:

David Rose — Clutch
Nat Turner — Reef the Lost Cauze

November 5, 1979 — Russell Hoban finishes writing “Riddley Walker”

Russell Hoban was always somewhat peripatetic in his writing interests. While he tended to return to the same themes, he was far less loyal to genres. “Riddley Walker” is one of his best known novels, and as the only major work of science fiction he wrote, is representatively unrepresentative of his oeuvre.

It concern a young man in a world (ours, about two millennia after a nuclear war) who stumbles on a plan to build a super-weapon. The novel took Hoban more than five and half years to write, and won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel in 1982, as well as an Australian Science Fiction Achievement Award in 1983. (It was also nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1982, but lost to Gene Wolfe’s “The Claw of the Conciliator”.)

1996 – Tupac Shakur changes his professional name to Makaveli

In 1995, Tupac was sent to prison for molestation. While serving his time in Clinton Correctional Facility, he read, among others, Niccolò Machiavelli, which inspired his pseudonym “Makaveli” – under which he released his next album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. He also read Sun Tzu and other works of politics and philosophy.

The album was very different from Tupac’s earlier works, perhaps unsurprisingly given that it was largely inspired by his time in prison. The title was inspired by how long it took him to record the album – 3 days to write and record, 4 more to produce.

By the time it came out, Tupac had been dead for almost two months, fatally shot on September 7.

Referenced in:

Hold ya Head — Makaveli
Introbomb First (My Second Reply) — Makaveli