Do you know what day Gunpowder Day in 2017 is? As a rule contemporary guys and ladies have never heard about this special occasion existence. And it is a real pity, because the invention of this substance was really important for the whole planet.
And now we are going to explain you why.
Of course, we understand that it is almost impossible to give the proper answer to the question “What is the date of Gunpowder Day 2017?” without paying a close attention to the historical background of this event.
Unfortunately, we haven’t managed to discover, who the establisher of this holiday was as well as any information why this special occasion is celebrated exactly on November 5th annually. However, we are ready to introduce you some amazing fact about the past of this composition.
The first gunpowder was invented by the ancient Chinese. Nowadays there are some scientific suggestions that they together with the Hindus discovered gunpowder 1.5 thousand years BC. The main powder component is saltpeter, which was enough in China of that period. Contemporary scientists discovered the territories rich in alkalis, and as a result this composition was found there in it native form, resembling in a way flakes of fallen snow.
Saltpeter was often used instead of salt. When saltpeter mixed with charcoal was burning, the Chinese could often notice outbreaks. This phenomenon made the Chinese physician Tao Hong-ching, who was living at the edge of 5th and 6th centuries, to describe all the possible properties of ammonium nitrate. After that he started using it as a remedy. Ancient alchemists often used ammonium nitrate in their experiments.
Among the first people, who were involved, was the Chinese alchemist Sun Ssu-miao. It happened in the 7th century. The man was just preparing saltpeter and sulfur mixture and tried to heat it in a crucible. As a result he received an unexpectedly strong flame flash. Of course, it was only the beginning.
A large explosive effect was achieved only with the help of other alchemists. Those people added main components, represented by sulfur, potassium nitrate and coal.
For a certain period of time, which continued for about several centuries in fact, the invented gunpowder was used for incendiary shells, the so-called fireballs. The throwing machine threw a fired shell, which, tearing, scattered burning particles. The Chinese also invented firecrackers and fireworks. The powdered bamboo stick was set on fire and launched into the sky. Later, when the gunpowder quality was improved much, the military people of that country used as an explosive in landmines and hand grenades.
What does Gunpowder Day mean? Frankly speaking, you personally should think whether this special occasion is important for you or it really doesn’t matter. In our turn we have to mention, that there are not too many inventions that have been able to cause a real revolution in the military sphere. Black or smoky gunpowder is one of those things.
The European inventor of gunpowder is a person of a peaceful profession, a monk Berthold Schwartz. He lived in the 14th century and practiced alchemy. Like many other discoveries, gunpowder is a by-product of the search for a philosopher’s stone. There is a legend according to which for his experiments Schwartz was accused of witchcraft and sentenced to imprisonment.
In prison, he did not leave his studies, experimented with various mixtures and accidentally stumbled upon a compound that exploded. This happened in the thirties of the 14th century – this period is usually considered the time of the discovery of gunpowder in Europe.
Interestingly, the figure of Berthold Schwartz eventually acquired a mysterious and even sinister fame, as he became the character of many literary works. And this is not accidental, because only with the invention of gunpowder it became possible the rapid development of firearms, which revolutionized military affairs and had immense consequences for the whole history of mankind.
With the help of gunpowder, the ancient Chinese made low-powered bombs and prototypes of modern grenades, while the Europeans quickly created guns and artillery of great striking power.
All in all trying to find the answer to the question “When is International Gunpowder Day 2017?” we should obligatory give the definition to this matter itself.
Gunpowder is a solid explosive mixture of crushed pieces of coal, sulfur and saltpeter. Initially the mixture is heated (at 250 degrees), sulfur lights up, then it ignites the nitrate. At a temperature of about 300 degrees, saltpeter begins to release oxygen, which causes the oxidation and combustion of mixed substances. Coal is a fuel that delivers a large number of high-temperature gases. Gases begin to expand with tremendous force in different directions, creating great pressure and creating an explosive effect.
We also can’t but mention that despite the fact that the invention of gunpowder historical science ascribes to the Chinese, no one knows how destructive their weapons were. At that time, there was still no technology to produce high-quality purified saltpeter and coal, which are components of real gunpowder used in firearms.
Their manufacture became possible only with the achievements of European chemical science, that is, not earlier than the 17th century. Nevertheless, it is believed that Chinese powder spread throughout the Middle East and further to Europe. The spread of the destructive mixture was promoted by the Mongol and Arab conquests.
For centuries, the Chinese kept a secret formula for the production of powder and mass production of the mixture in other parts of the world did not exist.
When is Gunpowder Day in 2017, calendar is always ready to remind you. It simultaneously means that you can celebrate this holiday if you really like to do this. However, unfortunately, there are no definite customs and rules for the proper November 5 spending.
Usually people don’t know how to do it in an interesting and, what is really important, safe way. So, no amateur experiments with gunpowder, of course, as they are very dangerous indeed.
Use this day as an additional opportunity to discover new facts. – Go to the library, visit any lecture, devoted to this matter, watch a documentary or just read a corresponding book.
National Gunpowder Day Facts
Of course, the simple answer to the question “When is National Gunpowder Day in 2017?” won’t be enough for curious people of the 21st century. The reply on November 5 sounds rather boring, doesn’t it? That is why we would like to introduce you a whole set of interesting pieces f information.
Since the invention of the powder by the Franciscan monk, the formula of the explosive mixture has been constantly improved. In their quest to create more and more lethal weapons, people invented new types of gunpowder. Major breakthroughs in this industry occurred at the end of the 19th – the beginning of the 20th century.
It was then that smokeless powder was created and the most important type of gunpowder was solid rocket fuel. The developers pursued the main goals: to increase the explosive power of gunpowder, to create more compact mixtures, to make it more suitable for storage, to get rid of the smoke, which makes the survey difficult.
Today different types of smokeless gunpowder, solid rocket fuel, aluminum powder are used in pyrotechnics, and other types of gunpowder are known.
As well as centuries ago, gunpowder is mainly used for the production of weapons, but there are other, more peaceful areas of its use. They are sports and hunting weapons, astronautics and the production of pyrotechnics.