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gunpowder

gunpowder, explosive mixture; its most common formula, called "black powder," is a combination of saltpeter, sulfur, and carbon in the form of charcoal. Historically, the relative amounts of the components have varied. An increase in the percentage of saltpeter (potassium nitrate) increases the speed of combustion. In the past gunpowder was widely used for blasting and for propelling bullets from guns but it has been largely replaced by more powerful explosives. Another form of powder containing potassium chlorate instead of the nitrate is commonly used in fireworks and in matches. The origin of gunpowder was probably Chinese, for it seems to have been known in China at least as early as the 9th cent. and was there used for making firecrackers. There is evidence suggesting that it came to Europe through the Arabs. Roger Bacon was long credited with inventing it because a formula for making it is given in a work attributed to him, and some German scholars have credited its invention to the alchemist-monk Berthold Schwarz. However, it is now generally agreed that gunpowder was introduced and not invented in Europe in the 14th cent. Its use revolutionized warfare and ultimately played a large part in the alteration of European patterns of living up until modern times. Gunpowder was the only explosive in wide use until the middle of the 19th cent., when it was superseded by nitroglycerine-based explosives.

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"gunpowder." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Gunpowder Plot

Gunpowder Plot, conspiracy to blow up the English Parliament and King James I on Nov. 5, 1605, the day set for the king to open Parliament. It was intended to be the beginning of a great uprising of English Catholics, who were distressed by the increased severity of penal laws against the practice of their religion. The conspirators, who began plotting early in 1604, expanded their number to a point where secrecy was impossible. They included Robert Catesby, John Wright, and Thomas Winter, the originators, Christopher Wright, Robert Winter, Robert Keyes, Guy Fawkes, a soldier who had been serving in Flanders, Thomas Percy, John Grant, Sir Everard Digby, Francis Tresham, Ambrose Rookwood, and Thomas Bates. Percy hired a cellar under the House of Lords, in which 36 barrels of gunpowder, overlaid with iron bars and firewood, were secretly stored. The conspiracy was brought to light through a mysterious letter received by Lord Monteagle, a brother-in-law of Tresham, on Oct. 26, urging him not to attend Parliament on the opening day. The 1st earl of Salisbury and others, to whom the plot was made known, took steps leading to the discovery of the materials and the arrest of Fawkes as he entered the cellar. Other conspirators, overtaken in flight or seized afterward, were killed outright, imprisoned, or executed. Among those executed was Henry Garnett, the superior of the English Jesuits, who had known of the conspiracy. While the plot was the work of a small number of men, it provoked hostility against all English Catholics and led to an increase in the harshness of laws against them. Guy Fawkes Day, Nov. 5, is still celebrated in England with fireworks and bonfires, on which effigies of the conspirator are burned.

See J. Gerard, What Was the Gunpowder Plot? (2d ed. 1897); S. R. Gardiner, What the Gunpowder Plot Was (1897, repr. 1971); J. Langdon-Davies, ed., Gunpowder Plot (1964); A. Fraser, Faith and Reason: the Story of the Gunpowder Plot (1996).

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gunpowder

gunpowder the introduction of gunpowder can be taken as a type of technological advance; Francis Bacon in Novum Organum (1620) said of ‘printing, gunpowder, and the mariner's needle [the compass]’ that ‘these three have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world’. Thomas Carlyle in 1838 wrote of ‘The three great elements of modern civilization, Gunpowder, Printing, and the Protestant Religion.’
Gunpowder Plot a conspiracy by a small group of Catholic extremists to blow up James I and his Parliament on 5 November 1605. The plot was uncovered when Lord Monteagle was sent an anonymous letter telling him to stay away from the House on the appointed day. Guy Fawkes was arrested in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament the day before the scheduled attack and betrayed his colleagues under torture. The leader of the plot, Robert Catesby, was killed resisting arrest and the rest of the conspirators were captured and executed. The plot is commemorated by the traditional searching of the vaults before the opening of each session of Parliament, and by bonfires and fireworks, with the burning of an effigy of Guy Fawkes, one of the conspirators, annually on 5 November.

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"gunpowder." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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gunpowder

gun·pow·der / ˈgənˌpoudər/ • n. 1. an explosive consisting of a powdered mixture of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal. The earliest known propellant explosive, gunpowder has now largely been superseded by high explosives, although it is still used for quarry blasting and in fuses and fireworks. 2. (also gunpowder tea) a fine green China tea of granular appearance.

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"gunpowder." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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gunpowder

gunpowder Explosive mixture of potassium nitrate (saltpetre), charcoal and sulphur. When ignited, it expands violently due to the almost instantaneous conversion of solid ingredients into gases. It was used extensively in firearms until c.1900, when it was replaced by smokeless powders such as dynamite.

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"gunpowder." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Gunpowder

GUNPOWDER

GUNPOWDER. SeeExplosives .

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gunpowder

gunpowderdodder, fodder, plodder, prodder •Isolde, solder •absconder, anaconda, Fonda, Golconda, Honda, nonda, ponder, responder, squander, Wanda, wander, yonder •hot-rodder •awarder, boarder, border, defrauder, hoarder, Korda, marauder, order, recorder, sordor, warder •alder, Balder, Calder •launder, maunder •sailboarder • skateboarder •keyboarder • snowboarder •camcorder • video recorder •chowder, Gouda, howdah, Lauda, powder •bounder, compounder, expounder, flounder, founder, grounder, impounder, pounder, propounder, rounder, sounder •gunpowder •Clodagh, coda, coder, exploder, loader, Oder, odour (US odor), pagoda, Rhoda, Sargodha, Schroder, soda, vocoder •beholder, boulder, folder, holder, moulder (US molder), polder, scolder, shoulder, smoulder (US smolder), upholder, withholder •cardholder • shareholder •stakeholder •freeholder, keyholder •leaseholder • copyholder •policyholder • stockholder •smallholder, stallholder •householder • freeloader •avoider, embroider •joinder • Schadenfreude

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