We will be exploring the gunpowder weapons and how the use of these weapons changed the balance of power in warfare, transforming global history by leading to a period of dominance by Western European powers. I will be comparing European, Russian, Islamic, Chinese, and Japanese uses of gunpowder weapons and explore how these powers fit guns into their political, military, and cultural systems.
One of the recurring things in history is the nature of nations and empires.
Civilizations are born, reach their potential under extraordinary leaders, and over time lose their vitality and strength. The remarkable feature in this cycle is that new civilizations emerge out of there fallen leaders, ...view middle of the document...
But in the
latter half of the seventeenth century, the Islamic
“gunpowder empires” began to decline. A primary factor in
their decline was Christian Europe’s economic and technological advances during the
seventeenth century. Other significant factors include the degeneration in the character
of ruling dynasties, the increasing inefficiency and ineffectiveness of governing
Which resulted in the rise of the Gunpowder Empires
One of the most notable worldwide developments of the
seventeenth century was the emergence of several large scale empires. Using newly
developed firearms, especially cannon, a small number of states extended their control
over the Americas, large parts of Asia, and central Eurasia. In addition to firearms,
these empires had the advantage of expanding transportation and trade networks.
The Chinese appear to have been the earliest people to make use of gunpowder for warfare.
In the thirteenth century, the Chinese developed gunpowder. By the end of
the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century, the Chinese were making use of
small handguns. The technology quickly made its way to Europe, and the Europeans improved
on it to create large cannon. The effectiveness of cannon in warfare led others to take
them up eagerly.
The Turkish Ottoman Empire was one of
the earliest and longest-lasting of the gunpowder empires promoted by the spread of cannon
and other firearms. The Turks had been pushed into the Near East from the eighth century
onward by Mughal expansion in their original territory, around what is now Turkestan. At
the beginning of the fourteenth century, the Turkish leader Osman
declared himself sultan, founding the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans spread their control
over the area formerly held by the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine
Empire. In 1453, Sultan Mehmed conquered Constantinople,
bringing the Byzantine Empire to an end.
In their early years, Ottoman power was based on its...