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The Spark That Ignited it All - a History of Fireworks

Colourful sparks, loud bangs, chilling explosions, awed crowds and terrified enemies … it’s all part of the long history of explosives dating back thousands of years to ancient China. They’ve been used to frighten off Mongolian invaders, support the status of kings, tell stories, entertain, intimidate and subjugate people, help produce heroes and – as a special twist – kill.

Pyrotechnics have fascinated people ever since the first spark was lit. They started out as a noisy instrument of war, but as they’ve become bigger, louder and more colourful, their power has shifted. The secret weapon of the Chinese turned into the first visual mass-medium in history … and the driving force of European progress.