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Gunpowder is an explosive substance, consisting of sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter. The the optimum proportions for gunpowder are : Saltpetre 74.64%, Sulphur 11.85%, Charcoal 13.51%.

Gunpowder was first developed in China in the 10th century, where it was used primarily recreation, military applications were few but certainly existed. In the 14th century, gunpowder became known in Europe, possibly from the work of the German monk Berthold Schwartz. It was in Europe that the problems of gunpowder were solved (mixture, engraining etc.) and when combined with expanding knowledge in metallurgy, lead to a rapid development of cannons and other firearms.