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Gunpowder

Picture 
of Chinese fireworks

 

Gunpowder was one of the more important inventions of the Chinese.  They used it to develop many things, ranging from fireworks to cannons to grenades.  It especially helped them on the battlefield; at a time when most of the nomadic invaders that they faced probably used swords and bow-and-arrows, they had short-range explosives.

Date of Invention:
Around 700 AD

Inventor:
Chinese Alchemists

Importance to Chinese civilization:
Was used for fireworks; was used to create weapons such as grenades and early cannons.

Importance to other civilizations:
Was used to create early rifles and muskets, which later led to modern machine guns.  Also was used in some explosives such as small bombs and some grenades.  May have been used as the explosive mechanism in some land mines.  Was also used in mining to separate large segments of rock from a huge boulder before the development of TNT and other, higher-power explosives.

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