Why was the Great Wall of China built?



Wonders of the Worlds are not built keeping in mind the wonders they will make! Every monument is built for a reason much unique. The same goes for that one monument which has not only featured in the envious list of the Wonders of the World repeatedly, but is also debatably the only man-made ‘Wonder’ that is visible from space ‘under the right set of conditions’ according to NASA.

A wall can be built for one reason; far two; but what if it’s not just one wall but many brought together to make the Great Wall?

Fact 1: The Great Wall of China, which now stretches up to 4,160 miles, was initiated as different walls built as mere borders for four different states in the then disintegrated nation long before the famous Qin Dynasty.

Fact 2: In the 5th century BC, the four different walls were successfully unified by Emperor Qin to make one Great Wall erected as a State border to protect China from external threats; mainly the marauding and nomadic Huns who wanted to invade the then disintegrated nation.

Fact 3: Silk Route, which is majorly used for trading and cultural transmission covers China, India, and the Eastern Countries under its trade routes. It came to be called the Silk Route or the Silk Road as it involved the trade of the very expensive Chinese Silk. So protective were the Chinese about their trade product that the Great Wall was further extended for this purpose.

Fact 4: Natural calamities are kept under bay given this staunch man-made built up which stretches from Jiayuguan Pass of Gansu Province in the west and ends at the Shanhaiguan Pass of Hebei Province in the east, bordering a rapidly advancing country. Ironically, the same natural forces; air and wind; are eroding the very structure built to safeguard against them.

Fact 5: The Wall was predominantly built in the Ming Dynasty majorly in the northern frontier by Emperor Ming to keep the then small and disturbing tribes like Dadan, Tufan and Nuzhen away from the regime.

Fact 6: Besides transport routes and security, the Wall was also extended as and when the regions in and around the nations were conquered. One such example is the First Battle of Hopei between China and Japan where the Japanese forces captured Inner Mongolia and annexed it with the new state of Manchuko, the southern frontier of which was extended as a part of the Great Wall.

Fact 7: Certain construction of the Great Wall is also a product of greatness the Emperors wanted to depict during their particular regimes. Many parts of the Wall are built only to showcase the strengths of various rulers and to mark their existence in the expensive pages of Ancient History.

Fact 8: Building of this great structure also represents the isolation China wants from the rest of the world. The Great Wall of China, though adding to the Chinese rich heritage and history, depicts how protective the nation is for its treasures and its culture.

Fact 9: China being the most populated country on the globe is heavily assisted by the Wall to keep overcrowding under check. This very border prevents unwanted and illegal or illegitimate immigration which further controls cultural conflicts.

Fact 10: The construction of the Great Wall tells the entire story of the rise and fall of the Chinese Empire. The construction of the Wall, which was done for fame, protection, security bankrupted the regime which created civil unrest in the Nation. This further led to the weakening of State forcing these very internal threats provoke external ones, mainly invasions. This, in an unnerving cycle led to maintaining and further extending or building of the Great Wall repeatedly.

Author: Harshada Morey

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2 Responses

  1. George

    June 30, 2012 12:05 pm


    Article points, that “Most of the Great Wall of China was built in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).” The article from Wikipedia states, that in 1368 was the fall of Yuan Dynasty, marking the Mongolian Empire’s final dissolution.
    The question:”What was the point to build the Wall against the Empire (Mongolian), which did not exist at that Time?”
    And if one carefully checks the images of the Great Wall of China, one could see, that they are actually pointed against South.
    Is there any explanation of that?

    Thanks a lot.


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