Gun powder is the first explosive to be invented in China. Initially, it was used for medical purposes but was later used on weapons such as fire arrows, fire lance, cannon, and later guns and rockets. Initial gun powder technology involved heating 10% sulfur and 75% saltpeter. Improvements were made as new experiments were conducted, although most were not intended for use in war.

Gun powder had reached Europe by the thirteenth century. It was first mentioned in Roger Bacon’s Opus Majus. By its arrival in Europe, it was known for use in weapons. When in a bag, the gun powder could separate with the big grains rising and the fine grains settling at the bottom (Carey, et al. 2006). The Europeans discovered that if it was made into a paste and dried, it became corned gun powder which was more powerful and efficient.

Cannons were transported through different modes of transport. Huge cannons required up to ten thousand men and seventy oxen to transport them, and a crew of two hundred men to operate. Huge boats and ship were also used to transport them across oceans as the Europeans went to conquer the world (Guilman, 2020). They were mounted on swiveling stands and trunnions. The firing process involved cleaning the cannon with a sponge to eliminate all sparks and dirt. Powder was then added and paper or hay added before the ball was put in. It was aimed at 450 for maximum range. Aiming was done mainly by the gun captain putting in mind the wind and the movement of enemy vessel.

Gun powder invention led to a new age of weapons. Almost all weapons used in medieval warfare operate using gun powder. Guns, cannons, and grenades use gun powder. Gun powder has been in use since the time of inventions up to date. Most weapons in modern military too use gun powder too.




Carey, B. T., Allfree, J., & Cairns, J. (2006). Warfare in the ancient world. Pen and Sword.

Guilmartin, J. F. (2020). Military technology. Encyclopedia Britannica.

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