How Did Gunpowder Technology Affect Politics in the Ottoman Empire?

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

Gunpowder technology affected politics in the ottoman empire by making it much easier to conquer cities and towns and make war. The Ottoman empire grew quickly and easily thanks to the new weapon. They also used their new weapons to make a lot of money through trade.

Gunpowder is a chemical explosive consisting of sulfur, carbon (in the form of charcoal), and potassium nitrate (saltpeter or niter). When mixed with water and ignited, it generates a great deal of gas which drives a projectile such as a bullet or artillery shell. The charcoal helps to stabilise the mixture and prevent it from exploding spontaneously. Black powder is relatively insensitive to shock and friction but is sensitive to heat.

It is widely believed that the first gunpowder weapons were created in China around 1000 CE, probably as a result of alchemical experimentation. Taoist texts from that era show a strong preoccupation with transmutation, and saltpeter is a common ingredient in these alchemical experiments.

The first guns were essentially long, narrow bamboo tubes loaded with a gunpowder charge. The ancestor of the modern gun was the fire lance, which fired a plume of directed flame, but not a projectile.

The modern weapon, however, is a more complex chemical compound that produces far greater amounts of energy from a smaller volume. The propellant is usually nitrocellulose, prepared by plasticizing the material with suitable solvents and then cutting it into small squares or “grains”. The burning rate of a gunpowder is controlled by varying the composition, size, and shape of these grains and sometimes by surface treatment.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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