The Great Wall of China

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Social Studies

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The Great Wall of China

When Was it Built? After the unification of the three states of China at the beginning of the Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 BC), the emporer Qin Shi Huangdi had the walls of the three states in the North connected. Since then, the wall has been rebuilt, modified and extended. For over 2,000 years, Chinese people have been drafted to the task. Most of the Great wall, we see today was made during the Ming dynasty (AD 1368 - 1644). In some areas, two walls built in different dynasties can be seen running beside each other. 2

Who Built it? Millions of Chinese people have been drafted to (forced to work on) the task of building and repairing the Great Wall for over 2,000 years. 3 Some of these people were soldiers from rival armieswho were no longer able to fight because their weapons had to be confiscated. Others of these were criminals and outlaws who were given wall building as their punishment. There was also one final group of people who helped build the wall. These were the commoners who were randomly chosen by the government. Thousands of these workers died of exhaustion or starvation while building the wall and were just trown into the center of it, giving it the name, the longest graveyard in the world. 4

Bibligraphy A+E networks 2015, Great Wall of China,, (accessed 26 May 2015) Coupe, S Scanlan, B (no date), History Begins, (no publisher), (no place) Ruru Zhou 2015,Who Built the Great Wall, When and Why,, (accessed 27 May 2015)

The Great Wall of China

How is it Significant? The Great Wall of China is significant in many ways. It is a well known emblem both physically and psychologically. Physically, it symbolises a manifestation of strength. Psychologically, it is a barrier maintained by the Chinese state and it shows that China has control over its citizens. Today, the Great Wall is recognised as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history, and rumours suggest that it is the only man-made stucture that can be seen from the moon. This landmarks attracts thousands of tourists every day. 1

Bibliography A+E networks 2015, Great Wall of China,,(accessed 26 May 2015) Coupe, S Scanlan, B (no date), History Begins, (no publisher), (No place) Ruru Zhou 2015, Who Built the Great Wall, When and Why,, (accessed 27 May 2015)

Footnotes 1 A+E networks 2015, Zhou 2015, Ibid4 Coupe, Scanlan (no date): page 1105 Ibid6 Coupe, Scanlan (no date): page 108 7 Coupe, Scanlan (no date): page 1108 Coupe, Scanlan (no date): page 1099 Coupe, Scanlan (no date): page 10810 Zhou 2015,

When Was it Built? After the unification of china at the beginning of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi commanded for the walls of three Northern states to be joined. Since then the wall has been rebuilt, modified and extended for over 2,000 years. Most of the Great Wall that people see today was made during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 AD). In some areas, two walls from different Dynasties can be seen running next to each other. Now, in the year 2015, the wall has lost it's former purpose and is just a tourist attraction. 2

What Were its Dimensions? There is great conflict over exactly how long the great wall is, with distances ranging from 3200km to 9000km. The wall's height is approximately 7.5 meters but this does change along the wall. The wall is 4.5 meters wide 5 which is enough to allow two chariots to ride next to each other along it. The wall also has one meter tall battlements. 6

What Was it Made Of? The wall was mainly made out of stone blocks which were cut, shaped and then dragged to the wall from quarries. 7 There is actually a very small amount of the original wall remaining to this day because it has been rebuilt so many times to repair erosion e.t.c. 8 For the foundation, the wall had stone blocks laid in trenches and it had a gully to drain rainwater. 9

What is Its Purpose? The Great Wall's primary purpose has always been to protect the Chinese Empire from Mongolians and other invaders. It has defensive works such as forts, passes and beacons built along it to house auxiliary soldiers, store grain and wepons, and to transmit military information. The wall protected China during the clashes of agricultural and nomadic economies and provided protection for economic development and cultural practices. It also safeguarded trading routes  such as the silk road and also the transportation of important information. Now, the wall is a great tourist attraction and has lost it's former function. 10



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