The mass use of the trebuchet's in military tactics dates back to the siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great in 1124, when it is written that the crusaders made use of "great trebuchets." Alexander built a kilometer long causeway to position the trebuchets to clear defenders off the high walls around city.
The earliest written records of the counterweight trebuchet first appeared in the 12th century around the Mediterranean in Muslim and Christian lands as the product of, a Byzantine historian, Niketas Chroniates. It was used as heavy artillery for future Byzantine emperor, Andronikos I Komnenos, during the siege of Zevgminon in 1165.
The earliest "pictorial" evidence of the counterweight trebuchet was from 1187 when an Islamic scholar, Mardi bin Ali al-Tarsusi, created a construction manual on the device. However, it is believed that the Muslims had no part in the invention of the device as Ali al-Tarsusi allegedly wrote "trebuchets are machines built by unbelieving devils."
Inventiveness and creativity with the trebuchet began in the late 12th century when Philip II of France had the two largest trebuchets to date built for use during the crusades. One had been named "God's Stone Thrower" and the other "Bad Neighbor." The next largest trebuchet to be built during that era was one by the British named "Warwolf."
In 2008, Yankee Siege, a trebuchet built for the Punkin Chunkin competition, broke records for all machines used in the event that were in the same category. The machine is 56 feet tall and weighs 54,000 pounds. It's capable of throwing up to 300 pounds. In the actual competition, Yankee Siege hurled a pumpkin over 2,326 feet to bring in the World Championship for longest throw by machine.
In present day, trebuchets are used solely for recreational purposes. Since the invention of gunpowder, the use of trebuchets have dwindled almost completely. In a rare case, such as the one in 1779, British forces resorted to using trebuchets when their cannons were unable to fire sufficient distances. Again, in 2011, rebels in the Syrian civil war were filmed using trebuchet to launch explosives at government troops