What if the gunpowder plot had succeeded?
What would most likely have happened next had the gunpowder plot succeeded in blowing up King James and his government in 1605?
It would have been a bloody catastrophe. The conspiracy was a handful of people with a very bad plan – to blow up parliament, kidnap the nine-year-old Princess Elizabeth, bring her up as a Catholic, stage a rising of Catholics in the Midlands and then somehow get England and Scotland back into the Catholic fold. They were delusional. Their plan stood little chance of working and in all likelihood, even if they had blown up parliament, the resulting backlash would have resulted in a mass pogrom of Catholics. Angrycymraeg
Catholicism would have been stamped out permanently in Britain. Then a serious effort to remove Catholicism from Ireland might have been made too. That might in turn have caused a European war, and who knows how that would have ended – although the misery caused by sectarian massacre and counter-massacre is easily imagined. It’s a good thing Guy Fawkes was caught when he was, although the torture was obviously unwarranted. Greatlizard
The successor to the throne, the elder son of James VI and I, Henry Frederick, would probably not have been in parliament (as he was aged nine) and would have acceded to the throne with his mother as regent. Anticatholic sentiment would have led to mass vengeance against all Catholics; and Spain might have seized the opportunity to try another invasion.
Henry died at 18, so the reign of Charles I (James’s younger son) and the subsequent civil war may well have still happened. xtrapnel
Even if someone else had reigned instead of Charles, they would have faced the same challenges in their finances and from parliament. They might well have been a better monarch than him, but a constitutional crisis, possibly resulting in conflict, would probably still have been inevitable. I suspect that Charles’s personality and bad judgment made it worse, though. Snowyjohn
We would all be wearing great hats and quality leather jackets. Mark Sargent, Aylburton, Glos
There would have been one hell of a mess to clean up. keithrickaby