The formula of the gunpowder was first discovered by Taoist alchemists of ancient China when trying to make pills of immortality. Later, people made up black gunpowder with niter, sulfur and charcoal of certain proportions on the basis of the formula. Books of the middle Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) recorded the method of producing this kind of gunpowder. It was first used to make firecrackers and fireworks, and then used in military affairs in the late Tang Dynasty. In the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD), gunpowder-based weapons such as rockets and cannon were widely used.
Between 1225 and 1248, gunpowder and the related weapons spread to Europe via Arabia. Since the major raw material of gunpowder niter is as white as snow, Arabians called gunpowder “Chinese Snow"and "Chinese Salt".After gunpowder spread into Europe, it was not only used in weapons, and also for cutting through mountains, constructing roads, and digging rivers. The invention of gunpowder accelerated the coming of the Industrial Revolution.