Simply put, the Trabuco was an ancient war machine. It was first developed in China around 400 B.C. and had reached Europe by 600 A.D. The Trabuco is similar to a catapult, and it was utilized by firing large projectiles, stones or objects over the enemy wall. There were quite a few beneficial characteristics for the group utilizing it, including the following:
This machine had a surprising amount of accuracy, with the ability to throw up to 140 kilos of projectiles up to about 800 meters away.
Trabuco came in various sizes, with the smallest ones being able to operated by just one person. However, the best ones would have to be those that were very large. These ones had to be operated on by up to 45, including several individuals who would simply be manning the ropes. These trabucos would usually be manned by local citizens in defense of their area or city.
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Mardi Al-Tarsusi described trabucos as being machines that were invented by “unbelieving demons” when Muslims and Christians were heavily in the Crusades during the Middle Ages. Although it is unclear to whom he was referring to, some scholar believe there is much evidence that he considered the Europeans to be these “demons.” According to spanishdict.com, Trabucos were also used by the Mongols in China and by several French Kings, including the future of Charles VII of France who ordered one in 1421. Although Hernan Cortes used one in 1521 in what is now Mexico, gunpowder had already been invented and the weapon was rendered obsolete after that. Interestingly enough, the trabuco was also utilized as one of the earliest forms of biological warfare. Individuals would load disease-ridden bodies over the walls of their enemies in the hopes of them catching the disease from the corpse. There is no question the trabuco served its purpose well until the invention of gunpowder and the advent of cannons in the 15th and 16th century.