Song Dynasty Gunpowder

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Throughout history, few substances have had such an impact as gunpowder has. Yet, its discovery in 850 A.D. was a complete accident. Ancient Chinese alchemists during the Han Dynasty spent years working to discover an elixir that could transform the user into an immortal being. Emperor Li Chum, who reigned from 806 to 820 A.D. was one of the many emperors who was intrigued by the idea of living forever and became a consumer of the trial elixirs in hopes of doing just that. Of the ingredients that alchemists experimented with, many were deadly. Mercury was a common ingredient that they used yet upon ingesting it, one would succumb to fever, bloody vomiting, burning pains, muscle tremors, and distorted senses, all of which were not what one…show more content…
Many celebratory firework shows were coupled with dancers in the streets who wore different costumes and moved through the clouds of colored smoke. The fact that gunpowder had such explosive power proved to enhance the Chinese economy both in the Tang Dynasty and even more so into the Song Dynasty because it allowed for an increase in their copper supply. The Song Dynasty marked the turning point in which the Chinese realized that gunpowder would make a good weapon against their enemies. The Song Dynasty’s military created numerous gunpowder devices that they aimed towards their primary enemy, the Mongols. Some of the weapons they invented included the flamethrower, hand held cannons, and hand grenades. They also invented the “flying fire,” or the fei huo, which was an arrow with a burning tube of gunpowder attached to the shaft. The Chinese propelled these miniature rockets into enemy ranks during combat where they stirred terror amongst both the men and the horses. This kind of attack method in the Mongol’s perspective must have seemed like a mix of terror and magic when they first were met with it. That psychological effect of experiencing shock and wonder amidst battle likely helped the Chinese hold the Mongols off for as long as they
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