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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society, Traditions >> Great Wall of China

History of Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a legendary masterwork of human achievement. The history of the Great Wall of China is a long one, tracing back to the early days of the Spring and Autumn Period in China, as far back as the 8th Century BC. It was in this time that the Chinese first started using wall building technology to protect countries and fields from invading barbarians.

However, the first vestiges of the
Great Wall of China that still exist today were not begun until 221 BC, under the rule of Qin Shi Huang. The Warring States Period, a long stretch of nearly two centuries in which numerous warlords attempted to retain or seize further control of land in China, resulted in numerous fortifications being built throughout the country side.

When Emperor Qin finally united China in 221 BC and established the first Chinese Dynasty, the Qin Dynasty, he began to worry about invading forces breaking apart his newly formed Empire. So, to protect against the Xiongnu of the North, Qin ordered the fortifications built in the previous two centuries to be connected with massive expanses of wall. It is still unknown today exactly how long and complete the walls of the Qin Dynasty were as so much of them eroded or were destroyed over time.

However, other expanses were maintained by the Han, Sui and Jin Dynasties in later years to protect their empire from the North. The history of the Great Wall of China did not end there though. During the Ming Dynasty, after subsequent close battles with the Mongols, Emperor Ming decided that the war was costing his empire too much and started building a new expanse of the Great Wall to ward off the Mongols in the north.

This expanse of the Great Wall of China was much stronger than the Qin fortifications as the Ming used bricks and stone rather than rammed earth. Over the years, certain sections of the Great Wall were fortified and eventually helped in the 1600s to stave off invasions by the Manchu. This success was overcome though when the Ming were betrayed by a Ming general who had been bribed. In the ensuing Qing Dynasty, Mongolia was annexed into China and work on the Great Wall of China was largely ended.

Today, however, the Great Wall of China has become a symbol of an entire nation and the only man-made structure visible from orbit. The lasting effect and symbol that is the Great Wall of China attracts millions every year from all corners of the globe and has remained a symbol of ingenuity for the human race. All of that, and it was first built more than 2000 years ago.

About the Author:

Natalie Stephan lives in on the South Coast of Sydney and is the creator of the Happy Vibe Gift Shop that originated with a comic design of the Great Wall of China inspired by a popular Australian telecommunications TV commercial. Natalie also has a mailing list which offers subscribers free information about many topics relating to personal development, meditation, and creating lasting happiness.