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Trabuco: A Powerful Siege Weapon

Trabuco, or trebuchet in French and English, is a powerful siege weapon that was used during the Middle Ages to capture a stronghold. The Trabuco is loaded with heavy iron balls that are being hurled into the enemy castle walls with the objective of destroying it, so that the army on the ground can start the invasion. Sometimes, the heavy iron balls are being released as projectiles, with the aim of destroying ground units. The Trabuco is very similar to the catapult, another siege weapon used in the same time period.

The Trabuco is said to have been invented in China around 400 BC, and it reached Europe in 600 AD. The Trabuco can throw projectiles weighing up to 140 kilograms, and it can accurately hit the target 800 meters away. There were also instances that deceased bodies, especially those who have died from infectious diseases, are being loaded into the Trabuco and hurled towards the enemy fortification. It is one of the earliest biological weapons created, and it managed to destroy entire cities and villages and it is an effective weapon for conquest. The mechanism of how the Trabuco works can be compared to a sling. The weapon has a spring like structure that is locked, and whenever a projectile is loaded into the Trabuco, this spring like structure is released, creating immense amounts of energy which causes massive destruction once it hits the target.


The popularity of the Trabuco as a siege weapon in the Middle Ages started to decline with the discovery and the introduction of gunpowder by the Chinese. The Trabuco was replaced with cannons, and the last known use of the siege weapon was during Hernan Cortes’ conquest of Tenochtitlan, the ancient Aztec capital. Hernan Cortes preferred the use of the Trabuco in the New World because of the lack of gunpowder. Today, the Trabuco can be found inside the museum, being displayed as a reminder of how ancient militaries have fought according to There are also instruction manuals teaching how to build a mini Trabuco, and teachers are showing it to their students to build a small replica and demonstrate its power.

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