Today a pound of smokeless gunpowder generally costs $25 in the United States, which would be enough for around 175 rounds in a hunting rifle. But we’re looking back to an era when gunpowder was so new and so unlike anything that had come before it that it could be mistaken for a deadly miracle. We shall trace this seeming deadly miracle of saltpeter (aka potassium nitrate), sulfur, and charcoal from its place of origin through the ways it first reshaped whole nations and belief systems. As we’ll soon see, much of the emergence of gunpowder is shrouded in mystery as thick as the clouds of smoke under which it has covered battlefields.
This is an encore of one of our previous lists, as presented by our YouTube host Simon Whistler. Read the full list!