History of The Trabuco
A Trabuco is a middle aged siege weapon with very little difference from the catapult. The actually word Trabuco is derived from the french word trébuchet. The main function of the giant machine weapon was for launching massive projectiles into or over walls and incurring major damage to both people and structures. Brazilians often use the word Trabuco as slang for guns which fired high caliber gibbet.
The Trabuco was a weapon based on the basic principles of science, potential energy and kinetic energy. A large projectile, a boulder, or even human corpse, would be loaded onto the firing mechanism (similar to a gigantic sling) and launched with an arch motion as the potential energy was instantly changed into kinetic energy. A counterweight was used to decide on the proportions of energy created when firing the weapon. It is a favorite of science teachers to this day in explaining potential difference, potential gravitational and kinetic energy.
Historical records as to when and where the Trabuco was first invented, and by who, are very mixed. Some reports indicate the first mentions coming from a well known scholar of Islamic decent, Mardi Al-Tarsusi, when he penned a military manual for Saladin in 1187. Chinese records make mention of the machine nearly a century later in historical writings from 1268. even other records seem to indicate the possibility of Vikings using the Trabuco in the 9th century, and yet others mention that the Byzantine Empire may have possessed the Trabuco, or a war machine very similar, as early as 539!
The last known officialy recorded usage of the Trabuco for actual warfare was in 1521 when Cortés launched an offensive against Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztec Empire. There are also rumors of British forces at the straight of Gibraltar erecting a Trabuco when their stores of gunpowder running low in the face of the Spanish attackers.