Why Was It Europeans Who Conquered the World?: "By the eighteenth century, Europeans dominated the military technology of gunpowder weapons...:
...which had enormous advantages for fighting war at a distance and conquering other parts of the world. Their dominance, however, was surprising, because the technology had originated in China and been used with expertise in Asia and the Middle East. To account for their prowess with gunpowder weapons, historians have often invoked competition, but it cannot explain why they pushed this technology further than anyone else. The answer lies in the peculiar form that military competition took in western Europe: it was a winner take all tournament, and a simple model of the tournament shows why it led European rulers to spend heavily on the gunpowder technology, why the technology was advanced as a result, and why political incentives and military conditions made the rest of Eurasia fall behind.