A trabuco, commonly referred to by its French name “trebuchet,” is a siege weapon first popularized during the middle ages. Trabucos, essentially large, wooden catapults, were similar in appearance to modern cranes and could fling projectiles of various weights over or at walls as a form violent force. Trabucos have a recorded history of use in the middle ages, ancient China, Mongolia, Egypt, and even throughout Europe after Crusaders brought the idea back from the Middle East.
A trabuco, essentially a catapult, was a device used solely for purposes of destruction. Using a balance and counterweight, trabucos could heave heavy materials like large rocks or boulders at high speeds and at great distances. Even the most rudimentary trabucos could hurl 300 pound boulders well over half a mile. As trabuco technology improved and the idea was expounded upon over time, trabucos became stronger, more condensed, and could leverage more weight. A trabuco, in essence, was a cannon before the existence of gunpowder.
While large rocks and boulders were commonly considered the ammunition of choice, virtually anything could be tossed from a trabuco. Large barrels, often filled with sand or water, cattle, human prisoners, even human remains and corpses all have been used at one time or another as trabuco ammunition on pt.bab.la. While the initial purpose of a trabuco was aimed at destroying large barriers like walls or fortresses using heavy rocks, ultimately a trabuco could fire anything it could hold. Certain cultures were even known to load humans heads into a trabuco and hurl them into enemy territory as a form of intimidation.
The history of trabuco use is murky, with roots tracing back to the Islamic Middle East as well as ancient China. The exact origins of the device are unknown, although it is highly speculated to have originated in Asian cultures. The Islamic states began to adopt trabuco use after the 12th century according to lista.mercadolivre.com.br. Although the presence of trabucos in the Middle East is what eventually led to their adoption in Europe, the origin of the device is believed to predate 12th century Islamic cultures.
Eventually with the advent of gunpowder and improved lethal weaponry, the use of trabucos declined. Trabucos lost their status as an integral part of warfare prior to the 16th century. Modern trabucos are used strictly for purposes of experimentation and fun. You can still find trabucos in existence today, however they will likely be inside of a college mechanics course or at some type of historical festival.