Gunpowder was developed in the Western world as a result of Roger Bacon's work in1242. The first usage of gunpowder in weapons was when the Chinese fired it from bamboo shoots in an attempt to frighten Mongol conquerors. They produced it by adding sulfur and charcoal to saltpeter.
What is correct:
The Chinese developed saltpeter for use in fireworks and knew of no tactical military use for gunpowder, nor did they invent its formula. Research by Reinuad and Fave have clearly shown that gunpowder was formulated initially by Muslim chemists. Further, these historians claim that the Muslims developed the first fire-arms. Notably, Muslim armies used grenades and other weapons in their defence of Algericus against the Franks during the 14thcentury. Jean Mathes indicates that the Muslim rulers had stock-piles of grenades, rifles, crudecannons, incendiary devices, sulfur bombs and pistols decades before such devices were used in Europe. The first mention of a cannon was in an Arabic text around 1300 CE. Roger Bacon learned of the formula for gunpowder from Latin translations of Arabic books. He brought forth nothing original in this regard.
What they are Teaching us:
The compass was invented by the Chinese who may have been the first to use it for navigational purposes sometime between1000 and 1100CE. The earliest reference to its use in navigation was by the Englishman, Alexander Neckam (1157-1217CE).
What is correct:
Muslim geographers and navigators learned of the magnetic needle, possibly from the Chinese, and were the first to use magnetic needles in navigation. They invented the compass and passed the knowledge of its use in navigation to the West. European navigators relied on Muslim pilots and their instruments when exploring unknown territories. Gustav Le Bon claims that the magnetic needle and compass were entirely invented by the Muslims and that the Chinese had little to do with it. Neckam, as well as the Chinese, probably learned of it from Muslim traders. It is noteworthy that the Chinese improved their navigational expertise after they began interacting with the Muslims during the 8th century.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited