This Week in History: 11/5/19-11/9/18

On Nov. 5 1605, Robert Catesby led a group of English Catholics in a failed assassination attempt of King James I. Catesby and his co-conspirators planned to blow up the House of Lords, where the King would be present at an event, by stashing large amounts of explosives beneath the building. (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

This week in history, we will see the anniversaries of several important events that shaped the world we live in. Here is a quick rundown:

On Nov. 5 1605, Robert Catesby led a group of English Catholics in a failed assassination attempt of King James I. Catesby and his co-conspirators planned to blow up the House of Lords, where the King would be present at an event, by stashing large amounts of explosives beneath the building. This plot was undertaken after Catholics were subjected to harsh laws and discrimination in Protestant England.

The most infamous member of the group, Guy Fawkes, was tasked with lighting the fuse, but he was discovered in a midnight raid by authorities and subsequently captured. Catesby and his men fled London before they engaged in a fight with the Sheriff of Worcester, where Catesby was killed.

Eight of the surviving men were tried for treason and hanged, drawn and quartered for their crimes. This event is known as the Gunpowder Plot and is celebrated each year in England with large bonfires around the country. It is also mentioned in a widely known English folk verse saying, “Remember, remember! The Fifth of November.”

On the same day in 1974, Ella T. Grasso was elected as the 83rd governor of Connecticut. She previously served in the United States House of Representatives and as Connecticut’s secretary of state, and was the first woman governor whose husband had not previously held the position. The first woman to be elected was Nellie Taylor Ross, the governor of Wyoming from 1925 to 1927.

On Nov. 7, 1929, The Museum of Modern Art opened to the public in New York City. It was one of the first museums dedicated exclusively to modern art and helped make the genre popular in America. Its famous 1935 Vincent van Gogh exhibit, which showcased several pieces on loan from the Netherlands, helped make van Gogh a contemporary icon and ensured the success of the museum for future generations. It now stands near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim.

On Nov. 9, 1938, SS units of the German Army were ordered to destroy and confiscate Jewish property in Munich and round up and arrest as many Jewish people as possible for deportation to concentration camps. This event occurred during the buildup to World War II as Hitler ruthlessly enacted laws that discriminated against Jewish populations. The impetus for such action was the murder of a secretary at the German Embassy a few days before in Paris, France. In reaction to this killing. Joseph Goebbels, one of the highest-ranking members of the Nazi Party, ordered the SS into Munich. This violent event came to be known as “Kristallnacht,” or “The Night of Broken Glass,” in reference to the hundreds of glass storefronts destroyed by Nazi soldiers.


Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at seamus.mckeever@uconn.edu.