Illustration of Rocket

10th century Rocket

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Chinese, Tang dynasty manufacturing Illustration of Rocket


In 904, the legend says, the Southern Wu were prepared for the first time to use their skill with fireworks to advance themselves militarily. During the campaign of Runzhou, Zheng Fan ordered his troops to propel the “flying fire” on Yuzhang, guarded by rebel An Renyi. * In 994, the city of Tzu T’ung was the first to use fire arrows defensively, routing an attacking army of a hundred thousand men. * In 1221, the Jin attackers of Qizhou used “thundercrash bombs,” which were not mere incendiary bombs but exploding grenades. * By the 10th century, the Chinese had evolved the fire arrow into fin-mounted two-stage winged rockets.

Spreading fire

The Mongols acquired Chinese technology by conquest and used it when attacking the cities and armies in the West. In 1241, the Mongol general Subutai attacked the Hungarian camp at the battle of Mohi using fire arrows and bombs. In 1258, the Mongols used rockets against the city of Bagdad and in 1268 the Arabs used them against the crusading French. * The first Korean fire arrow was the juhwa. The singijeon was developed in three sizes. The small singijeon had an arrowhead with no explosive payload. The hwacha launched up to 200 of the small singijeons against invading Japanese pirates in the late 14th century. The medium singijeon had an explosive payload and a range of 150 meters. The large singijeon was launched with a handheld gun and had a range of one to two kilometers. * The Japanese first launched fire arrows using bows fighting in Korea in the sixth century. Ships invading Japan in the 13th century launched gunpowder-propelled fire arrows. And the Japanese samurai launched gunpowder-propelled fire arrows in return. By the 16th century, Japanese samurai launched bo-hiya rockets from matchlock guns.

Like rockets

They propel themselves into the sky. They trace a grand arc like a rainbow. They symbolize power and hope should we destroy this planet and know better the next time.

Sign here to abolish celebratory fireworks. Fireworks were developed for festivities in China during the Tang dynasty as a means of expelling evil spirits. They produced more frightening lights and noises than banging pots and costumes with mirrors. Tell me, please. They frighten our pets, but do they expel evil spirits? Start here and maybe later we can abolish war.

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia: