28 March 2012
From Rocks to Rockets: How Weapon Technology has Changed the World “Anyone who considers using a weapon of mass destruction against the United States or its allies must first consider the consequences... We would not specify in advance what our response would be, but it would be both overwhelming and devastating,” William Perry. This quote shows that the United States is one of the most feared fighting powers on this planet. It is like this because the United States spends millions of dollars per year to stay ahead of everyone else. This is for the military, but almost every dollar that is spent on military technology comes back to help civilians sooner or later. The first major weapon used by humans was the bow and arrow. The first bows that we know of today were produced and used in 2800 B.C (Byers). The bow and arrow started as a way to hunt animals and protect each other and yourself. With the bow people could now hunt larger more dangerous animals then they could with a spear. Some of these animals were like bison and deer, and civilians now had a way to protect themselves from tigers and bears better than the old fashion spear (Denny). Along with this, bows made it possible for higher population of people. People could also migrate from place to place and still have enough food to survive (Denny). Without the bow civilizations may have never crossed the ice bridge to America and there could have quite possibly been no Native Americans when Christopher Columbus showed up to what is now the United States. Vetter 2
As humans realized the potential for the bow and arrow it started to be used as a weapon of war. A great example of this is the battle of Crecy. At Crecy there were half of a million long bow archers firing arrows at each other. In the hands of a well trained and skilled archer, a long bow could shoot ten to twelve arrows per minute. This means that during the one battle alone arrows fell from the sky at a rate of 4,000 pounds per minute (Denny). A bow for a battle like this would take three to four years to make. Even though they were engineered to be mass produced building this many bows for war could have potentially affected the lives of millions of people both in the production and use of the bow and arrow (Denny). It was battles like this that made modern warfare what it truly is today. This is because with archery, the higher the archer is the further the arrow will go, so the side with the higher ground is always at an advantage. The same is still true today when battling armies try to achieve the top of the mountain rather than the bottom of the valley. The first composite bows, which are still widely used today, were invented by the Egyptians by using wood tipped with animal horn, and a string made out of sinew (Byers). Then in the 1500s bows and arrows were replaced the the gun, which used black powder to shoot its projectile. But the bow was not put out of use yet, countries in the east used the bow and arrow as their main weapon until the 1800s (Byers). The bow led to the development of siege engines which used the same physics as a bow and arrow, but were much larger and could do a lot more damage (Denny). Archery is still used today more than anyone could have ever imagined. Archery tournaments are still held today all over the world. The oldest continuously held archery tournament was started in 1673, and the Royal Toxophilite, one of the best known tournaments, Vetter 3
was started in 1790 (Byers). When these tournaments were started they were for just the royal. and wealthy, but now anyone can be in an archery tournament no matter what one's status is. At these tournaments, bows are shot from sixty, eighty, and one hundred yards with a round of six dozen, four dozen, and two dozen arrows shot at each distance (Byers). Along with competition, bows are still used for hunting, defense, war in other countries, and stories/legends are still told about...