17th Century Cannon Replica Fired Against a Ship of the Period

The demonstration shows just how powerful 17th-century ship cannons were.
Derya Ozdemir

We've all read about the distant times of medieval wars, and maybe admired the battlezone geniuses such as Alexander the Great; however, thinking about the efficiency of their weapons is such a peculiar thing when compared to our big guns today.

In this video, Smithsonian Channel takes a closer look into this subject and asks: How effective were the cannons of the early modern era?

In order to answer this question, they created a model based on historical examples and reproduced a Naval gun from the middle of the 17th century. They test the cannon on a wooden ship of the period, just over 100 yards away. 

Using three pounds of gunpowder, they fire the nine-pound cannonball; however, just what happens is for you to watch and find out. What you'll see is a little bit different from what Pirates of the Caribbean made you believe would happen. Also, splinters pose a danger too.

As numerous YouTube users said: "Now, that's a lot of damage!" 

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