Firearms played an important role in maritime history. By way of illustration, matchlock weapons were used by European invaders to terrorize New World populations. The matchlock featured a slowmatch (gunpowder infused rope) clamped in a lever construction (the lock) which was brought into contact with gunpowder by pulling a trigger. The technology behind the firearm and gunpowder were beyond the means of indigenous peoples throughout the Age of Discovery and helped the Europeans establish near domination on the colonial battlefields.
The Mariners’ Museum and Park did not hold an example of an Age of Discovery matchlock in the Museum Collection until 2008. In 2007, I received permission to seek out a suitable firearm to add to the Museum’s holdings.