Marco Polo has been given credit for bringing the black powder back to Europe, however, some believe that is was brought via the crusaders. Descriptions of flash powder and the use of Roman Candles where mentioned before his return to Venice in 1299. In any case, it's popularity spread throughout Europe. Once in Europe it was used mainly used for military purposes. The Italians were the first to use it for making fireworks followed by Germany who became a leader in the manufacture of fireworks. It was favored by Queen Elizabeth I, as well as, King James II. It was used in his cornation and they would use it to celebrate birthdays.
The first time that fireworks were used in the 4th of July celebration was actually on July 8th, 1776. This was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia's Independence Square. Historians believed that this display of fireworks was used to mock their separation from England. In a letter that John Adams had written to his wife Abigail he illustrated how he felt the 4th of July should be celebrated when he stated, "It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more". The next official utilization of fireworks was on July 4th, 1777. It was complete with the firing of cannons, bonfires, and illuminations. Other states adopted this practice, and today fireworks, a fourth of July tradition lights up every city in the United States during the celebration of this special holiday.