Gunpowder has a long and complex history. It originated in China, and was probably one of the most influential inventions in human history. Without gunpowder, we’d still be fighting wars with catapults and spears. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), gunpowder isn’t too difficult to make. Some sulphur, charcoal and saltpetre, and you’re done. In China the stuff is called 火药 (Huǒyào). This literally means ‘fiery medicine’. But who has even gotten better from a gunshot wound?