No one knows for certain when the first firearm was invented or who invented it. The first recorded use of a firearm in war was in 1364. The first extant illustration of a firearm was in "De Officiis Regum" by Walter de Millemete. That treatise is dated 1326. By 1380, primitive hand guns were widely used across Europe. The matchlock was introduced in the 1400s and continued to be used through the 17th century.
End of an Era
Historians differ on the exact dating of the Middle Ages, but most agree that they started with the fall of Rome in 476 and concluded with the rise of the Renaissance in the 14th to 16th centuries. Firearms were invented towards the end of the Middle Ages, as Europe was beginning to enter the Renaissance Period.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images