November 23

This Day in History

General Interest

Nov 23, 1499:

Flemish pretender executed in London

Perkin Warbeck, who invaded England in 1497 claiming to be the lost son of King Edward IV, is hanged for allegedly trying to escape from the Tower of London.

Believed to be a native of Tournai in Belgium, Warbeck went to Ireland in 1491 and claimed he was Richard, duke of York, the second son of Edward IV. Richard and his elder brother were presumed murdered in the Tower of London by their uncle, King Richard III, in 1483. Warbeck found support from the enemies of King Henry VII, the first Tudor king of England, and in 1497 landed at Cornwall and raised an army of 6,000 men. Faced with King Henry's larger army, he fled but was captured and imprisoned. In November 1499, he was executed.

Warbeck's story was written by the Tudors--history's victors--and it might never be known whether he was actually Richard of York or just a Flemish impostor.

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