Q: I’m a real gun’s lover and was wonderingwhich European country introduced guns and gunpowder to Japan in approximately 1543? Thank you. Also, do you know when the Japanese actually brought gunpowder to the Asian continent? Thanks again! Thank you!
A: It is generally agreed that gunpowder was first introduced to Japan by the Portuguese when they accidentally stocked it during a visit there. Some say the Europeans actually imported it as trade goods, but gunpowder did not become popular until the fourteenth century. By then, it was already in high demand, and gunpowder manufacturing had become a booming business. At the beginning, gunpowder was simply made from charcoal and animal fat. As time went on, man-made substances were added, such as sulfur and copper.
During the sixteenth century, gunpowder was used for defense against foreign invaders, and for the first time, it was used to wage war against neighbors. At this time, gunpowder became a staple of urban warfare. This development is thought to have started when the Japanese began trading with the Chinese. At some point, they also began to manufacture gunpowder for their own use, although it is more likely they imported it.
Gunpowder was used to devastating effect against the Mongol armies of China in the 14th century. It is thought that the Chinese invented gunpowder first, and then the Mongolians spread it to the Japanese. The two developed a deadly combination: the bullet and the fuse. From there, gunpowder manufacturing moved into high gear in Europe. It was only once they began manufacturing firearms in mass quantities that gunpowder was made a common household item.
Gunpowder became a very important part of European society, because it was a cheap and easily obtainable source of arms. Because gunpowder could be manufactured at home with very little cost, gunsmiths became skilled workers and learned how to make a wide variety of high quality firearms. The manufacturing of guns spread throughout Europe, but the weapon that gunsmiths are best known for is the pistol. Although most Europeans used their handguns for hunting, fighting, or police work, it was the invention of the pistol that made the handgun famous throughout Europe.
Because guns were so widely used throughout Europe in the seventeenth century, gunsmiths and manufacturers needed to come up with new ways to store the powder and get it to their customers. They devised the clip, a storage device that held a piece of the powder or bullet together until it was ready to be fired. Early clips were constructed using iron bars attached to a handle on the side of a firearm. As the technology developed, clips were replaced by boxes that had either a bullet or a powder reservoir attached to the top or the bottom and could be opened with a lever or a key.