Invented for the purpose of firing objects, mostly during war over walls or crushing the entire walls, the Trabuco is an ancient weapon similar to the catapult. Trabucos were exclusively operated by the men. They were used to guard cities and attack other cities. In Brazil, Trabuco is a word that is used to refer to shotguns and revolvers.

Operation of the Trabuco

The Trabuco simply worked by changing potential energy to kinetic energy. The potential energy was in the projectile, and the pulling of the string generated the force used to launch it. The force transformed potential energy into kinetic as the projectile moved towards the target. The use of the Trabuco depended largely on calculations of both potential and kinetic energy.


The idea of Trabuco originated from the use slings. The vivid distinguishing factor between the two was the existence of a piece of wood in the Trabuco. The piece of wood was used to offer better lever. Thereafter, the Chinese kept on improving the weapon and even came up with the traction bolt that made the weapon more efficient to use. This was the smallest type of Trabuco. With time, larger Trabucos that required 15 to 45 people to operate were made.

The earliest historical record of the Trabuco came from Mardi Al-Tarsusi, an Islamic scholar on He regarded Trabucos as weapons of destruction used by unbelieving demons. It was until 1268 that the Trabucos appeared in the historical records of the Chinese according to It is believed that a Chinese commander known as Qiang Shen invited engineers from Persia to make Trabucos between the year 1115 and 1234.

The Persians are believed to have introduced the Trabuco to the Middle East. Later on, Scandinavia and Germany came to know of its existence and use. In the late 12th Century, the idea spread to Italy and England.

The use of gunpowder emerged slowly bringing the use of the Trabucos to an end. According to historical records on, it was during the attack of Tenochtitlan by Hernan Cortes in 1521 that the Trabuco was last used. Trabucos, like the ones used in pumpkin throwing championships, are today used to explain the concept of mechanics and for fun.

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