When we talk about gunpowder and its origins, we look at timeswhere it was first put to use, and we also look at whether it was successful ornot. Back in the 15th century in Europe, the Ottomans began usinggunpowder in weapons such as incendiary bombs to take down the wall protectingConstantinople. Their siege was a success only because they were able to put gunpowderto use in weapons in that century, but where did they get the idea to use thematerial in weapons or even acquire it. We must analyze how the use of thismixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate, also known as gunpowder,was a turning point that led to the success of this siege. We must alsounderstand how they were able to weaponized gunpowder and how it affected ustoday. In this essay, we will discuss and expand on how they were able to do soand, as they say, think historically in a global age. Gunpowder was first created in the 9th century inChina, but not intentionally.
The Chinese alchemists, in an attempt to createan elixir of life, created what they called a “fire potion”. The firstapplications were in the 10th century in fire arrows and the formulawas created in the 11th, where in later centuries was used for bombsand the first gun. During the time of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks were ableto acquire the gunpowder thanks to the Silk Road and also acquired assistancefrom a master cannon builder, Orban, to build them their first gun powderweapon, which eventually gave them an upper hand on Constantinople.How did gunpowder give the Ottoman Empire an upper hand intheir siege of Constantinople? The siege began in April 1453 after the Ottomanthrone, Mehmed II, assembled a great fleet so they may access the city usingthe water networks. The siege lasted fifteen days and there was a heavybombardment of the defensive wall of Constantinople until the Ottomans weresure there was no more defense on top of the wall and that they were sure theymay enter the city. The army breached the city using ladders and other devicesand weapons and, on the final assault, they took the city after finally killingConstantine and claimed it as their capital.
Today, gunpowder is used in different ways. Explosives andfirearms gave way to different wins and losses in battles fought in the pastfew centuries, such as World Wars 1 & 2, and they were used in differentconflicts such as Operation Desert Storm and the War on Terror. Gunpowder gavehumans an advantage on Earth, especially on those who are still primitive andwild such as unknown tribes of the world and animals of all kinds. Theseweapons have uses such as gathering food and materials from animals, protectingpeople from threats, and fighting against hostilities to other countries.
If itwere not for the creation of these weapons, we would still be fighting withsticks and stones today and there would be more continuous conflict betweendifferent peoples as wars could not be resolved, such as the World Wars, if theyeven began thanks to the killing of Ferdinand Archduke. Without any of theseadvancements from the past and more, we wouldn’t be here today, which is why itis important to reflect on the past and to think historically in a global age.