The Trabuco, or trébuchet in french, was a a powerful medieval siege weapon used in order to destroy walls or throw projectiles over them, much like the catapult. It is sometimes referred to as the balancing trabuco in order to differentiate it from the traction trabuco.
According to priberam.pt Trabucos were invented in China, approximately sometime in 400 BC, and were brought to Europe in 600 AD. They were adopted by the Byzantines in the mid 6th century AD, and were not abandoned until the emergence of gunpowder. There have been stories of the trabuco being used in the middle ages as a form of biological warfare, where the opposing army would launch disease-infected bodies in order to infect the people under attack.
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The invention of the trabuco derives from the classic sling. A variation of this sling contained a small piece of wood to extend the weapon and provide a better lever. This small invention evolved thanks to the Chinese when they implemented the traction bolt. The way that the traction bolt would work was by having a number of people that would pull the strings attached to the short arm of a lever, and in turn, have the sling lie over the long arm. The overall result would be of the sling being catapulted through the air and launching the projectiles inside of said sling towards the enemy.
Trabucos are used today as a form of fun and also for the explanation of basic principles of mechanics. For example, there have been pumpkin throwing championships through the use of mini trabucos, which allow teachers or instructors to better explain the mechanics and laws of physics. Trabucos have also been used throughout many historical reenactments for history enthusiasts according to infopedia.pt.
Besides all of the recreational use that one may find with a trabuco, nowadays, it is only a piece in the museum that over the years has helped many armies throughout countless ancient battles, and consequently, in the development of important historical processes.