Great Wall Of China

.. of the Ch’in Dynasty. Continual invasion and wars from the barbarians to the North drove the emperor to order its construction to protect the newly unified China. Meng T’ien’s Great Wall is described in his biography He..built a Great Wall, constructing its defiles and passes in accordance with the configurations of the terrain. It started at Lin-t’ao and extended to Liao-tung, reaching a distance of more than ten thousand li. After crossing the [Yellow] River, it wound northward, touching the Yang Mountains. (Cambridge 62) Although the wall is considered to be well under 10,000 li (one li is approximately a third of a mile) it was truly an amazing accomplishment. (Twitchet) Meng T’ien employed some 300,000 men in the creation of the original section of the wall. The building of such a massive wall would definitely be a massive undertaking.

A wall that stretches through the wilderness is not easily accessed by supply lines, unlike a highway that creates its own supply Pearson 7 line. There was also a massive loss of life during the construction of the wall due to widespread disease and injury. In fact it is an Ancient Chinese myth that each stone in the wall stands for a life lost in the wall’s construction. It is recorded that Meng T’ien’s section of the wall took only ten years to build, but it is believed that it actually took a substantially greater amount of time. (Delahoye, H.

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Drege The Great Wall) After Meng T’ien’s original construction the wall was far from completed. Other walls were added to and encompassed within The Great Wall. The last major work on the wall was completed during the Ming Dynasty around 1500 CE. The Great Wall extends around 1500 miles in an east-west direction. It travels through four provinces (Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Gansu) beginning in northern Hebei and ending in the northwest Gansu province.

The Great Wall is built of many different materials, from granite blocks to tamped earth. Ranging from 15 to 50 feet high with a base width between 15 and 30 feet, the wall has guard towers spread along the entire length of the wall. Although it is highly debated whether The Great Wall served its intended purpose of keeping the invaders out, it is truly one of the greatest accomplishments of all mankind. (Toy, Sydney. A History of Fortification) The Great Wall of China was built by stacking mud or clay bricks one by one on top of each other.

The brick, was first produced in a sun – dried form at least 6,000 years ago, and is the forerunner of a wide range of clay building products used today. It is the small building unit in the form of a rectangular block, formed Pearson 8 from clay, shale, or other mixtures and burned {fired} in a kiln, or oven, to produce strength, hardness, and heat resistance. The original concept of ancient brickmakers was that the unit should not be bigger than what one man could easily handle. Today, brick size varies from country to country, and every nation’s brickmaking industry produces a range of sizes that may run well into the hundreds.( Ledoux, Trish. Ancient Civilizations ) The Qin Dynasty was the one that finally was able to unite the split up sections of the walls.

For the emperor has grandiose plans for the empire, and he used forced labor to accomplish them. Gangs of Chinese peasants were forced to dig canals, and build roads. The one thing however, the Qin thought to be especially important was to create a better barrier to the north. Earlier rulers had built walls to prevent attacks by nomadic barbarians. First Emperor ordered that those walls to be connected, and complete the entire wall as one.

Over the years, some 300,000 peasants toiled (and thousands died) before the work was done. Today the Great Wall of China stands as a monument to Qins ambition and to the peasants carried out their emperors wishes. ( The peasants at the time viewed Emperor Qin as cruel tyrant who had lost the Mandate of heaven. Nobles were angry because he had destroyed the aristocracy; scholars detested him for burning books; and peasants hated his forced-labor gangs. In 210 B.C. Qin died, and soon after the dynasty itself came to an end.

Even so, the rule of the Qin brought lasting changes. The most influential changes was that of the wall, for it still stands today, finished, and a Pearson 9 constant reminder to all of the once and mighty emperor. (Muyaka, Ho Chin, Huang River) This wall was used also as a barrier to isolate China, during its period of Isolationism before the many spheres of influence where put on China. The Great Wall was to not only give a physical barrier, but it also showed that the Chinese did not really want trade (among other things) with the rest of the world. In todays day and age The Great Wall of China is no longer used to fight off armed cavalry, but it is used more commonly now as a tourist attraction.

Tourists from all over the world come to see the Great Wall, and take photos. It is widely known throughout China for other reasons as well. The Chinese people have used the Great Wall of China in many of their folklore and legends. It is said that the Great Wall actually has a sleeping dragon inside, and it is customary in China if new land is to be plotted that a holy man check it out first so as not to have the new building disrupt the sleeping dragon. It has also been used for countless poems.

One of the legends of the wall is that when a man was working on the wall he became fatigued, and a few of the guards buried him alive into the wall. When the wife of the man did not come back after the construction was completed she went to the capital to find him. After she had heard what happened the woman went into remorse, and became very depressed. It was then that the wall opened up and revealed to the woman the body of her departed husband. This is an old-wives tale that has been passed down Pearson 10 throughout the years, but there is some truth to it.

For it was said, and evidence has been found, that many people were buried in the wall if the were unable to work. The Wall has also been approached by a man by the name of David Copperfield who, throughout his tricks walked through the wall. Tourism is also a very big thin in China, although The Great Wall is probably the thing seen most (since it is just about everywhere in china) other things such as the Forbidden City among other things draw tourists to China as well. The Great Wall of China is a masterpiece in a whole. Even though it did take hundreds upon thousands human lives to build. It is a true symbol of China for what it did stand for, and also what it stands for now.

Chinas past was full of change, but Chinas future will have the wall to look back upon as a constant reminder. The Great Wall of China is indeed a great architectural achievement for man, but what it has done to lives of the Chinese people the magnitude cannot possibly be measured in the wall itself. The Wall of China is a large creation, but it still has many secrets that most are not aware of. Bibliography Work Cited 1. Delahoye, H. Drege, J.P.

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