Tuesday, 28 March 2006

On this day...

...in 1380 gunpowder was used for the first time in Europe in a battle between the Italian city states of Venice and Genoa.

They didn't use it in muskets, cannons, bombs, or even cool rockets that went whooosh-KABOOM. Instead they charged into battle carrying handfuls of gunpowder that they would fling into each others faces.

No one died in this particular battle, but there are many reports of soldiers getting grit in their eyes, which really stung, several reporting bad tastes in their mouths, a lot of sneezing, and one report of a tummyache by a Venetian soldier who accidentally swallowed some.

That evening Genoan officer Guido Badaboomo realised that gunpowder had explosive properties when set on fire and suggested using those properties in their next attack on the Venetian lines. Genoan leader Duke Antonio Wassamatta thought it was a great idea.

As rosy fingered dawn rose over the battlefield Genoan soldiers charged the Venetian lines with a lit torch on one hand, and a handful of gunpowder in the other.

Genoa lost that battle for some reason.

And now you know better.

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