BOOM! The Story Behind Gunpowder

     Fireworks, the magical glow you see in the sky on special occasions. The bright, vibrant colors and the loud crackles and booms are created as a result of gunpowder.

     Wei Boyang, during the Han Dynasty, was the first to write about the characteristics of gunpowder in 142 AD. In the search for the potion of immortality, alchemist Boyang by accidently stumbled upon a grey powder. He wrote about how a mixture of three powders would “fly and dance.” It is not sure that he was describing gunpowder, but it’s the only explosive out there today known by scientists that uses three powders.

     A few hundred years later, during the Tang Dynasty, in about 700 AD, people began to find the uses of the “black powder.” Emperors used gunpowder to put on great firework shows. In 900 AD, Chinese inventors saw that this discovery could be used for powerful weapons. First, the army used gunpowder in the form of rockets. They also put stone balls inside of bamboo tubes to create one of the earliest cannons.

     The Chinese emperors tried to keep this weapon a secret from the rest of the world, but by the 1100s AD, people had found out. The Islamic Empire was one of the first outsiders to understand the potential of this weapon. After that, it was not long before the rest of Europe had learned how to use this highly explosive powder.

     Today, gunpowder is still used in many ways around the world.


There is one comment

  1. Maggie G

    I think it is very cool how early the gunpowder was invented! It is very fascinating how many uses it is used back in the day in China.

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