The Dulun-Khâl of Ganuzdurak, future capital of Daligûp-Shîzik, were the first to create gunpowder weapons. They first created muskets then started making bigger things like cannons. Daligûp-Shîzik and the Giff League are largely responsible for the spread of gunpowder armaments to Bal-Kriav and other worlds of the Quara'tun system. So, ingrained is the use of magic on many worlds, that gunpowder weapons were adopted very slowly. There were other factors too, like cost, and trade restrictions on who could buy the stuff.
By 1815, the larger and richer civilizations of the realm had replaced their catapults and ballistas with cannons and mortars. Nitrate becomes a strategic resources for those who have it, and coveted by those who lack this resource for making gunpowder.