Maybe a little difficult this riddle?

(answer is a single word) These have existed for a long time. They were the burden of a few and caused the deaths of many. The phonetic sound of this word starts with a shortened girl's name and ends with something that is deliberately burnt. Cortez' greed began one of these.
Update: Um more than 3 letters and less than 11.
Update 2: phonetic sound is literally what it sounds like so india would be IN - DEE - AH.
Its not war or wars, though the answer would not usually exist without war
Update 3: There were many of these in ancient times, much less so today.
Update 4: cannon is a nice try, but cortez' greed didnt start one.... and they weren't around in ancient times, the chinese first used em in the 8th century i think.
hint - these can grow, become smaller or be destroyed.
14 answers 14