History of the Great Wall of China
Who Built the Great Wall of China

History of the Great Wall of China
The history of the Great Wall of China is tightly bond with the question who built the Great Wall of China. Let me talk about these two subjects together.

Who Built the Great Wall of China?

Great Wall of China

Most of you would say Qin Shi Huang. This is only partially correct. However Qin Shi Huang was indeed the first person who brought the Great Wall to an initial phase.

As early as the Spring and Autumn period (770-470 BC), state emperors started building defensive devices along the frontier. At strategic locations, they built watchtowers, beacon towers and ramparts along with a defensive wall. Their objective was to protect against nomadic tribes from the north, mainly Xiongnu. The process continued through the Warring States period.

In the early history of the Great Wall of China, it was in bits and pieces, without the shape of a Great Wall and without a chief architect or designer.

Qin Dynasty – Initial Phase of the Great Wall
After Qin Shi Huang unified China (221 BC), his capital city Xianyang experienced extreme stress from Xiongnu. Qin Shi Huang saw the emergency and importance of strengthening military defense at the northern frontier.

By his order, General Mengtian led tremendous forced labour to work on the Great Wall project. In nine years time, they connected all the existing bits and pieces, restored and extended them. Hence the shape of the Great Wall was formed. This was the initial phase in the history of the Great Wall of China. It was roughly 5,000 km long and ran from west to east, separating China from Mongolia.

Ever in the history of the Great Wall of China, renovation work has been ongoing. In the next 2,000 years, over 20 emperors of various dynasties had been restoring, rebuilding and extending the Great Wall.

Ming Dynasty – Recent Phase of the Great Wall
The largest-scale and most recent restoration and rebuilding of the Great Wall was in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Founding Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang ordered the first project. His successors had two more of such projects. Ming Dynasty was a relatively weak empire and therefore was very keen in restoring the Great Wall as a protection to the country. The Ming Dynasty restoration yielded a total around 6,300 km.

Today’s Great Wall
The most comprehensive renovation was done at Badaling in 1957. Today, China government has been working hard to restore and maintain this invaluable cultural heritage from our ancestors. I am sure restoring of the Great Wall is an endless task of Chinese.

Who Built the Great Wall of China?
Well, the only correct and definite answer is ‘Chinese’.

The Great Wall lies on steep, rugged and remote mountain edges. It was built solely on man power without any modern technology and mechanism. It is beyond our imagination of how difficult the task was.

In 555, N. Qi Dynasty, 1,800,000 labour only managed to build 450 m of the Great Wall at Juyongguan. A stele found in Badaling recorded in 1582, tens of thousands of labour only managed to build 700 Chinese feet (around 250 m) of the Great Wall in one year.

Who built the Great Wall of China? Chinese, plus their blood and tear as well as numerous lost of human lives and broken families.

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