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Gunpowder is an explosive material that burns rapidly to form a high pressure gas Expansion of this gas inside the barrel of a gun can accelerate a projectile to great speed Gunpowder is therefore used a propellant in a variety of thinks like ammunition It is also used in explosives for blasting operations fireworks and fuses in slightly different forms Gunpowder has had a unique history since its discovery in the early 1100s Gunpowder comes in many forms from a dirty burning black powder to a smokeless variety of powders Gunpowder has been used for a number of things over the last 900 years for a variety of things ranging from recreational uses to military warfare The first people to acquire knowledge of the explosive properties of gunpowder were the early Chinese They used a mixture of saltpeter and sulfur to make and explosive powder They used this explosive powder to blow up piles of rocks and to make primitive weapons such as stone cannons The Japanese learned about gunpowder from the Chinese and they refined its use The ninja of Japan used gunpowder to make large smoke clouds as shields or cover to hide themselves They also used gunpowder to startle and confuse their enemy During the 1200s the use of gunpowder spread into Europe Gunpowder contributed to a lot of changes in the social system of Europe during the 1200-1400s The social system in Europe during this time was called feudalism Feudalism relied on stone castles to defend the estates or lords and nobles Until the discovery of gunpowder these castles were virtually impossible to penetrate The castles however could not stand against assaults by heavy cannon balls fired by a
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