Why Was The Great Wall Of China Built ?
If people do not know anything else about China, they will definitely know the Great Wall of China, making it the most popular landmark in the country. This ancient wall is so huge and winding that it is claimed that it can be seen from space. It covers a distance of 8,851 kilometers. People visiting this monument often wonder why was the Great Wall of China built. What purpose did it serve?
Centuries ago, China was often raided by tribes belonging to present-day Manchuria and Mongolia. The people in the different Chinese kingdoms had no protection against these marauding nomads. In addition, these kingdoms also used to fight against one another. However, the kingdoms were united in the year 221 BC under Qin Shi Huang, leading to the formation of the empire. After uniting the kingdoms, Qin ordered that the boundary walls between the different kingdoms should be destroyed and just a single boundary wall should be built along the northern side of the empire to protect it from the raids of tribes from Mongolia and Manchuria. This led to the building of the first wall.
Thereafter, subsequent dynasties either repaired the wall or added portions to it in order to stop the tribes from the north entering into the Chinese empire. The different portions of the wall were made from gravel, mud and stones and hence, periodic repairs were always needed. The wall that people flock to see today is actually the one building during the Ming Dynasty some in the 1400 BC and it made from stones and bricks. That is why the structure is more durable and still standing today.
So, it can be emphatically said that the Great Wall of China was primarily constructed in order to protect the border of the empire at the north from raids by tribes belonging to Manchuria and Mongolia. Furthermore, it was also a strategic fighting post where the soldiers could stand and battle the warring tribes without allowing them access into the empire.
Truly the Wall is an architecture marvel, considering that all the modern technology that we have today did not exist during those ancient times. It is claimed that more than one million workers perished while building the wall. The first Wall was built using materials that were locally available. For instance, stones were dug from mountains and used to make the wall across the mountains, whereas in the plains, mud was used for construction. Unfortunately, historians do not have any records about the length of the Wall built during the Qin dynasty, but we know for sure that the portions constructed centuries ago have long eroded and washed away.
The Great Wall of China that we know today came into existence during the 14th century after the Ming Dynasty's army was defeated in the Battle of Tumu by the Oirats. This battle took place in the year 1449. The ongoing skirmishes and battles were milking the empire dry, and this prompted the emperor to order the construction of the wall in the north. The Wall divided the region and gave up control of the Ordos Desert to the Mongols. The Wall was constructed using stones and bricks and still needed frequent repairs over the years to keep the Mongols at bay. The parts of the Wall that were close to the Beijing, the capital of the Ming Dynasty, were made extra strong to withstand attacks and raids.
In the year 2009, archaeologists have managed to uncover an additional 180-mile stretch of the wall that was previously not known. It is believed that this new stretch was also built by the Ming Dynasty and it stretches all the way Hushan mountain range located in the province of Liaoning in the north all the way until Jiayuguan, which is located in the province of Gansu. This stretch was built in an arid and dry region and hence, over centuries it had got covered by sand dunes.
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The Great Wall Of China: Why was the Great Wall of China Built