By the 15th century, European domination of global trade had resulted in the rapid spread of European military technology east.  The matchlock and cannon replaced earlier Chinese-derived models.  The new guns, using corned gunpowder, had a revolutionary impact on anywhere they went.  One of the greatest was on the steppe peoples.  The new weapons especially the cannon, were very effective against cavalry.  As they had in Europe, these weapons brought an end to the reign of the armored horseman on the battlefield.  After the 16th century there were no more successful steppe invasions of a settled region.  The expense of gunpowder armies for the East was immense.  The production of weapons required not only a source of iron but foundries as well.  Foundries had not been a problem for Europe.  Since they were needed to produce bells for churches, Europe had already had the infrastructure.  This was not the case in the East.  Another cost was the needed infrastructure to produce corned gunpowder on an industrial scale.  But the fact that a peasant equipped with one of these weapons could defeat an armored noble propelled there spread.  The increased expense of war required more complex bureaucracies to collect taxes, manage the purchase of weapons and powder, and pay soldiers.  These weapons also decreased the power and influence of the nobility and strengthened that of centralized monarchies.  By the beginning of the 17th century, four great empires stretched across the East.  They had spread using the peasant to defeat the noble and the cannon to break any stronghold.


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