When were fireworks introduced?

Chinese crackers were probably the first fireworks to be made and this was about 2000 years ago. They are still used in China and throughout the East to celebrate weddings, births and religious festivals. They are also used to scare away evil spirits. It is probable that gunpowder was developed in China because they used potassium nitrate (saltpeter) to cure their meat, and so it was readily available.

Fireworks have also been used for centuries in ancient Indian and Siamese ceremonies.

The earliest recorded use of gunpowder in England is by the Franciscan monk Roger Bacon (born 1214). He recorded his experiments with a mixture which was very inadequate by today’s standards but was recognizable as gunpowder. His formula contained charcoal and sulphur because there was no natural source of saltpeter available.

Fact File

In January 1606 Parliament in England established November 5 as a day of public thanksgiving. The day, known as Guy Fawkes Day, is still celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, and the carrying of ‘guys’ through the streets.


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