The Great Wall of China is a long continuous wall which was erected with the sole intention of securing the Chinese border in the northern border against intruders (Man 103). The Great Wall consists of several walls which were built over a lengthy period of time.
We will write a custom Essay on The Great Wall of China specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The construction is claimed to have began during the dynasty of Emperor Qin Shi Huangi who ruled the country in the early 200 BC to the 16th century during the Ming dynasty.
The essay will take the form of an informative speech whose intention is to further shed light on who built the Great Wall of China, when it was built, the reason behind building it and how wide and long the wall is as well as how it has been built.
The Chinese were among the first countries to experience civilization in the world. During the civilization period, they acquired the art of building houses and other structures and this helped greatly during the construction of the Great Wall.
As early as 8th century BC, various states such as Wei, Qin, Yan, Qi, and Zhao constructed extensive walls in an attempt to defend their territorial borders from their warring neighbors (Yamashita and Lindesay 53).
However, all these efforts were better noticed during the reign of the Qin dynasty that after conquering the states which had been opposing him, he embarked on the building of the great wall so as to connect and enclose all the states that now belonged to him and protect them from external intruders.
During the Ming Dynasty, after the Oirats had defeated the Ming army in 1449 (in what was famously referred to as the Battle of Tumu), the Great Wall idea was revived.
The Great Wall proved quite useful to the Ming Dynasty, especially towards the end of its reign because it ensured that the empire remained protected against possible invasion by the Manchu (this was around 1600).
At this time, the wall had a total length of 5,000 kilometers, starting at the Gansu Province in Linyao all the way to the Liaoning Province (Man 105). As we talk today, the great wall is estimated to stretch 4,163 miles (about 6,700 kilometers).
It starts in the Gansu Province at the Jiayuguan Pass and stretches all the way to the Hebei Province in the Shanhaiguan Pass. The wall runs through the large plains in the northern border of the country. Although people have come up with several discussions as to how the wall came to be, it is widely believed that it was the efforts emperor Qin that the wall was extensively built.
The construction formation of the Great Wall also differed at different historical periods. For example during the Qin dynasty the pass gates were not constructed using stone and the wall lacked any fortresses.
However, during the construction of the Han Greta Waal that passes through the Gobi Region, the main fortification was moats (Roland and Jan 67). A beacon tower was also constructed at intervals of 1.25 kilometers along these moats. The beacon towers were used during the time of war.
When one column was lit, this was a sign that the advancing troops were less than 500.When two columns were lit, it meant that the advancing troops were less than 3,000. By using the columns of smoke, the defenders were always aware on the magnitude of what to expect.
Laborers who took part in the construction of the wall included the common people, soldiers, and criminals (Waldron 18). Different construction materials found use during the constructions process of the wall, over the centuries. Compacted earth was used in the construction of the original Great Wall.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Local stones were then used to surround the compacted earth. In a bid to ensure that the construction costs of the wall remained down, there was extensive use of local construction materials. In the later years, bricks were used to construct the Ming wall.
Where the Great Wall passed through the Rocky Mountains, builders made use of the stones found on these mountains. However, they were forced to use rammed earth in the planes, while juniper tamarisk and sanded reeds found use in the desert.
Scientists have now revealed that the remaining section of the Great Wall in the Gansu Province, consist of several layers of rammed earth (Waldron 18).
Between 202 BC and 220AD, during the Han Dynasty period, the most popular construction materials were crude stones and earth while between 1368 and 1644, during the Ming Dynasty, bricks had substituted stone and earth as the construction material of choice, thanks to their light weight and size; it was easier to make and carry them.
From statistical records, it is estimated that some 500,000 common people and 300,000 soldiers took part in the construction process of the initial Great Wall during the reign of Emperor Qin. Over 1,000 individuals are believed to have lost their lives in the process of constructing the Great Wall during the Din Dynasty.
The construction of another section of the great wall under the Northern Qi Dynasty took place in 555 A. D., and the entire section consisted of 450-kilometre. It started from Nankou, all the way to Shanxi, passing through Datong and Beijing.
During this time, the labor force is estimated to have been approximately 1.8 million people (Roland and Jan 71). The construction and living conditions were also extremely poor during this time and as a result, high number of workers lost their lives.
Man, John. The Great Wall. London: Bantam Press, 2008. Print.
Roland, Michaud and Jan, Michel. The Great Wall of China. New York: Abbeville Press, 2001. Print.
Waldron, Arthur. The Great Wall of China: From History to Myth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Print.
Yamashita, Michael and Lindesay, William. The Great Wall – From Beginning to End.
New York: Sterling, 2007. Print.