Gunpowder was discovered around A.D. 850, since its discovery, gunpowder has marked one of the best inventions ever developed. Gunpowder changed the way warfare was waged, brought an end to Europe’s middle age period and made the age of exploration possible. In fact, even technology in modern warfare that involves the use of other armory including rifles, grenades and cannons was founded in the invention of the gunpowder. Gunpowder was first invented in China around the 9th century. Initially the explosive was used for medical purposes, to start fires and ceremonies.
However, later on the Chinese realized the potential of gunpowder as a weapon. Historical accounts highlights that gunpowder was used in ancient China in flaming rockets and arrows to fire projectiles. These projectiles were a representation of initial guns. In later periods china utilized gunpowder in bombs and also to make landmines, cannons and grenades. In fact, it is believed that gunpowder was used in ancient China in the war against the Mongols. Somehow, gunpowder remained in China until in the 13th century when the explosive was traded in Europe and Middle East borders via the silk trade route where it significantly impacted military practices and triumphs. By 1350s gunpowder was a common phenomenon In Europe’s hundred year of war warfare between the French and English militaries. Extensive use of gunpowder by the French armies contributed to its victory during the 100 year of war. It is the gunpowder that made the European walls that were traditional strongly fortified and impregnable defenseless and weak.
In subsequent years, the Ottoman Turks successfully deployed gunpowder cannon in the 1453 siege and abandonment of Constantinople. In the 15th century, the use of gunpowder in battles took an upturn when it was inserted into a handgun. This marked a transition in warfare, since the weapon now was portable, and greatly depended on an individual. This led to the creation of soldier’s infantries and conventional armies. Late in the 16th and 17th centuries extensive and larger military forces deployed gunpowder. States deployed permanent units of soldiers armed with gunpowder weapons.
In the 17th century infantry utilized powerful and heavier matchlock muskets with gunpowder in warfare. Armies around this time like the Swedish army in the Thirty Years’ War significantly used gunpowder in field artillery. The Netherlands states also used large armies’ weapon with gunpowder to secure their fortifications.
This was the case in the Netherlands during the Dutch revolt. Gunpowder was also deployed to radically transform naval warfare. Shipbuilders in this period adapted naval vessels fitted to gunpowder firearm technology. Shipborne artilleries were a great phenomenon in the 16th century with heavily armed galleons, floating ships that were fitted with artillery. European states build extensive naval forces fitted with gunpowder firearm technology and also the walls and fortresses in such states were built in a manner that could counter attacks from gunpowder fire shots.
The combination of gunpowder technology in naval ships combined with walled fortifications partly enabled European to control and sustain maritime empires along the coastal towns across India, Africa, and Asia. To date, gunpowder technology is still the basis of modern weaponry including guns. Certainly not the greatest explosive in modern warfare, once the gunpowder was invented it lead to the creation of firearms that compounded greater mobility in the battlefield. Nonetheless, the gunpowder has been the basis of the smokeless bullets that were invented in later years.
Indeed the invention of gunpowder has gone a long way in shaping not only the military but also the states and international policies, remaining a substantial and controversial device for the change in the society.