Ever wonder where fireworks came from — or how they came to be associated with the 4th of July? Well, here’s your answer:
According to legend, a curious chef accidentally created gunpowder by mixing charcoal, sulfur and potassium nitrate — and soon, tightly packed bamboo tubes filled with explosive chemicals were being tossed into the streets and detonated to frighten away evil spirits.
Fireworks’ popularity spread quickly across Europe after the Italian explorer Marco Polo returned to Venice in 1295 from his travels to Asia, introducing pyrotechnics to his home continent. Other nations were equally delighted by fireworks, which found favor across Europe and eventually across the Atlantic. Our victorious rebel forefathers used fireworks to mark the end of the Revolutionary War. In 1777, a deafening array of firecrackers and rockets marked the first anniversary of the founding of the nation. Hugely popular, fireworks became a hallmark of Independence Day celebrations. They were subsequently used at George Washington’s 1789 inauguration; even then, in the nation’s infancy, they had become characteristic demonstrations of our national pride.