History of The Great Wall of China
Okay, you might have guessed that the Great Wall was not really built to keep out giant rabbits. So what is its real history?
The first sections of the Great Wall were built during the Spring & Autumn Period (8th century – 5th century BC) and Warring States Period (5th century – 221 BC) to keep out rather large (but not giant, and not exhibiting any rabbit like characteristics) Xiongnu invaders from the Xiongnu empire to the North.
The first emperor of China, a brutal dictator named Qin Shi Huang (the first to unite all of China under one rule during the Qin Dynasty, 221BC-206BC) set about connecting those initial sections located to the North and destroying the ones divided his empire on former state lines.
Employing anywhere from 800,000 to three million workers, the remaining sections of the wall were built in just eight short years. The Great Wall of China was born, although it was not the magnificent structure one imagines today. The first Great Wall was built with local materials – either dirt rammed between boards in four inch layers, or with loose stones molded to fit in place.
History of The Han Great Wall
The Han Dynasty (206 BC-8 AC and 25-220 AC) expanded the Great Wall further west than any dynasty before or since and rebuilt many sections of the Qin wall. It’s main purpose was also to repel or warn of Xiongnu invasions from the North.
History of The Wei, Qi, Sui, Liao and Jin Great Wall
The years between the Han Dynasty and Ming Dynasty saw repairs and slow improvements to the Great Wall, as well as long new sections during the Liao and Jin Dynasties, Dynasties which coexisted with the Northern and later Southern Song Dynasties.
History of The Ming Great Wall
The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) built what we imagine as the Great Wall in response to Mongolian and Manchurian powers to the North. It was not until the Ming Dynasty that cut stone was used to build the wall’s foundations and outer layers.
Unfortunately, even as impressive a structure as the Ming Great Wall could not prevent betrayal from within. A border general dissatisfied with the newly established Shun Dynasty (1644-1644) let in a Manchu force in 1644 which quickly conquered Beijing, establishing the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).
In the hundreds of years since, the Great Wall has not had a functional purpose. Instead, it stands as testament to the powerful empires of China’s past.
All About The Great Wall of China
- History of The Great Wall of China - A history of the Great Wall of China
- Facts About The Great Wall of China - Frequently asked questions & other facts about the Great Wall of China
- Great Wall of China Map - Maps of the Great Wall of China
- Pictures of The Great Wall of China - Assorted pictures of the Great Wall of China
- Great Wall of China Resources - Strongly recommended articles about the Great Wall of China