A hand cannon is an early form of firearm. It is possibly the oldest type of portable firearm. It is a forerunner of the handgun as well as muskets and later rifles. While the exact origins are unknown, it is known that hand cannons were used in the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 by Muslim forces against the Mongols. |
The gunpowder formulae were almost identical with the ideal composition for explosive gunpowder. The hand cannon was widely used until the 1520s in Europe and Asia. The earliest surviving documentary evidence for the use of hand cannons are from several Arabic manuscripts dated to the 14th century.
The hand cannon was followed by the musket. Here too, Muslims played an important role with the Chinese adopting the Ottoman kneeling position in firing. Muslim Mughals introduced muskets to India in 1519. The guns came into wide use by not only the Indian Mughal Empires but also by Rival South Indian kingdoms.
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