It is very difficult to say exactly what date and time gunpowder was invented, many historians believe it was created in China and others believe it actually originates out of India. Even harder is to know exactly what they were doing at the time when it was discovered, was it a mistake or were they searching for the ultimate weapon?
There are many old Sanskrit texts that show formulas for an explosive blend, but it is very hard to interpret what these texts mean as the language is so ancient.
But if we follow the texts that support its invention coming out of China, which are much more precise, then what they were doing at the time is kind of unbelievable. In fact, gunpowder was not made as a weapon at all and was actually seen as the way to live forever. It was a medicine made to make the taker immortal.
China was a place where alchemy had a considerable importance, the search for making elixirs that could cure all illnesses and bring together potions that would make the users stronger. Why did gunpowder appear in Asia before the rest of the world? Simply put because Chinese alchemists were much more prone to constantly trying experiments and pushing the boundaries of science, they were always searching for the elixir of immortality.
You see in Europe, alchemists were different they were trying to find a way to create gold. Both of the overall goals remained elusive but what it means is the alchemists in Europe and China were doing completely different experiments. When you look through the Taoist texts, the first mentions of black powder actually also have honey as an ingredient, with the goal of making it easier to swallow. As they first called it “Huoyo” which translated roughly means fire drug.
It is always fascinating how some of the world’s greatest discoveries are made by complete accident.