The first documented invention of a muzzleloaded weapon was by French artist and inventor Marin le Bourgeois. He invented the flintlock weapon for King Louis XIII of France in 1610.
The muzzleloader was the first firearm of any type to be invented, according to Popular Mechanics. Due to the simplicity of use and design of Bourgeois' firearm, it quickly became the most popular type of firearm for European armies and remained their primary weapon of choice until the mid-19th century. Although widespread use of muzzleloaded weapons quickly declined when they were supplanted by breech-loaded weapons, they have seen something of a renaissance in the early part of the 21st century with companies such as Thompson/Center and CVA introducing newly designed muzzleloaded rifles.