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Background to the Gunpowder Plot

During the Reformation in the 16th century, Protestants across Europe demanded reform of the doctrine and government of the Roman Catholic Church. They questioned its traditional teachings and rejected the Pope's authority.

With the help of some of Europe's rulers the Catholic Church tried to suppress the new heresy. Protestants found their own support among other kings and princes. In the last thirty years of the 16th century Europe was consumed by bitter and bloody religious wars.

Divided Europe

Learn about the religious and political divisions in Europe leading up to the plot

James I - Peace with Spain

Discover how the Protestant King James I made peace with Catholic Spain but failed to live up to Catholic hopes for religious toleration

Political violence and persecution

Find out about religious persecution and Elizabeth I's clash with the Catholic powers of Europe