April 22, 2008
Umeck Period 3
The Renaissance refers to the period of European history dating from 1300 to 1700. It occurred after the dark ages and led to the age of Enlightenment (Pioch, 1). It ignited a revival of learning based on classical philosophies and teachings, led to many cultural changes, artistic movements, musical breakthroughs, and scientific discoveries (Pioch). Warfare also changed dramatically with many technological advances and complicated war strategies (Calvo, 1). Among these were such fire weapons as the cannon and handgun. These weapons changed warfare and the world forever.
The Chinese first invented gunpowder in the ninth century (Calvo, 1). While in search for the “Elixir of Immortality” they came across the substance (Guns and Gunpowder, 1). At first, it was not used for martial purposes but rather for celebratory purposes.(Bellis, 1). Eventually, the idea of using it in warfare spread. The Chinese created a device similar to a rocket that fired a projectile at oncoming force but was used primarily as a psychological deterrent. The weapon was terribly inaccurate and often times hit the user’s army. Eventually news of the foreign powder spread to other peoples, such as the Arabs (Nosotro, 1). Through trade and commerce along the Silk Road, the Arabs purchased the powder and created the first true cannon. Arabs used the new weapon in their attempted conquest of Europe (Gunpowder Weapons of the Late 15th Century).
The French, seeing the Arabs new weaponry, created the Pot de Fer, which shot giant metal arrows at opposing forces and buildings; making castles and safe houses no longer safe (Nosotro, 1). It was first documented in 1326 (Gunpowder Weapons of the Late fifteenth Century). Although it was effective, early cannons and bombardment weapons had a slow rate of fire and were inaccurate (Gunpowder weapons of the late 15th century, 12). To compensate for the poor firing rate, users...