How did Gunpowder Change the World?

Gunpowder was invented in China, by Taoist monks, who were trying to create a potion for everlasting life. These 9th-century monks accidentally created gunpowder, which burned down their house. The Chinese realized that they now had an effective weapon to fight the Mongol raids, at first the powder wasn’t explosive but it was incredibly flammable, therefore the first weapons were essentially flamethrowers. But then as the technology became more advanced, the weapons did as well and the Chinese invented the first cannon, in the 13th-century, grenades, at the end of the 12th-century, and fire lances, which were a 10th-century take on guns.

Gunpowder was in every way superior to the weapons that were used by the Mongols, but it wasn’t enough to stop Genghis Khan from conquering China. The Mongols spread through Eurasia and after conquering a way to Europe they established a new trading route, which connected Europe, Asia, and the Middle-East. Gunpowder was adopted by the Islamic world and later by Europe. This lead to the incredibly fast technological advance of gunpowder powered weapons. Gunpowder changed the dynamic of how people fight, the introduction of guns and muskets increased battlefield mortality drastically and the wars were no longer hand to hand combat, but mostly random acts of violence. Battles were now much bloodier as it took fewer people and less experience to inflict more damage.

It was also much easier to destroy cities with the advance of gunpowder before it could take days to burn down a city whilst it only took a few hours with the creation of the bomb. The discovery of gunpowder eventually leads to the first world war, in which people realized that wars were dreadful and brutal. If gunpowder never was invented, this means that wars would still be seen as a noble endeavor and that we still would have small but frequent wars. Another thing that would have been different is that the European colonization would have a different turnout, ex. the Europeans wouldn’t have had superior weapon technology to the tribesmen in Africa, which means that Africa would never have been conquered.

If colonization didn’t happen, Europe wouldn’t be as leading as it is today and both China and the Middle East would be the dominant power. Without gunpowder, military technology would still be improving but instead of guns, we would have powerful crossbows. To shield us from this improved artillery, we would have created better and stronger metal. Even though we didn’t have guns, there would still be an industrial revolution, just not in the same way as it was now. This means that every single war after the invention of gunpowder could have been significantly different if it never was invented but maybe there wouldn’t be such a major change at all. Because we shall remember that before the discovery, the wars were considerably less devastating, but there was also a lot more of it.

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