Ipoh’s terrible tree

IPOH is named after the ipoh tree, famous as the source of blowpipe poison. When the Portuguese attacked Malacca in 1511, the native weapon they most feared was the blowpipe with its poisoned darts. It was reported that every Portuguese soldier hit by darts died except one.

The Portuguese had cannons. Replicas of such cannons may be seen as decorative items in historic Malacca and elsewhere. These cannons could not be accurately aimed and they ran hot when fired, making reloading difficult between shots. Many early experiments in science by Galileo in the 1600s and Newton in the 1700s were driven by curiosity about how cannons worked how the balls shot forward while the cannons themselves recoiled backward, how action and reaction were equal and opposite, and how far a cannonball would fly in relation to its angle of lift.

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