火药 (huǒ yào)

When and Who?

The invention of gunpowder is usually attributed to Chinese alchemy, and is popularly listed as one of the "Four Great Inventions" of China. It was invented during the Tang Dynasty (9th century), and the earliest record of a written formula appeared in the Song Dynasty (11th century). The prevailing academic consensus is that gunpowder was formulated in the 9th century by Chinese alchemists searching for an elixir of immortality. By the time the Song Dynasty treatise, Wujing Zongyao (武经总要), was written by Zeng Gongliang, Ding Du, and Yang Weide in 1044 AD, a Chinese collection of military information

Reason for its' invention

It was invented first to be used for the alchemy as stated before, but it then moved on to be used for fireworks and entertainment usage. And then went on to be used for military purposes which has now become what it is famous for, weaponry. By the time of Jiao Yu and his Huolongjing (a book written by Jiao Yu that describes military applications of gunpowder in great detail) in the mid 14th century, the explosive potential of gunpowder was perfected, as the level of nitrate in gunpowder formulas had risen from a range of 12% to 91%, with at least 6 different formulas in use that are considered to have maximum explosive potential for gunpowder.

How does it work?

It meant for explosion and weaponry. Put it close to flames or a hot spot and it will explode. Although in the beginning of the usage of gunpowder was not very effective, added chemicals made the explosion a lot more dangerous.

Summary Paragraph

Knowledge of gunpowder spread throughout the Old World as a result of the Mongol conquests of the 13th century. It was employed in warfare to some effect from at least the 14th century, although the development of effective artillery took place during the 15th century, and firearms came to dominate early modern warfare in Europe by the 17th century. Although the Europeans were the ones to make fame with the gunpowder, I believe that many people know that gunpowder was first used by the Chinese and were the first ones to create inventions that made use of the powder.

I believe that Chinese inventions that were created during those eras is an extraordinary discovery for history. The Chinese were moving fast in invention making that they changed the course of history. I think that the lesson in this is to expand the origin on inventions that affect our everyday lives. To learn where it came from, who invented it, and why was it invented. Knowing about the origins of some of the greatest inventions may sometimes surprise us.