Why was the Great Wall of China built? Who built it?Please cite your sources.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Great Wall of China is said to have sprung from the Spring and Autumn Periods, when seven powerful states emerged at the same time.  In order to defend themselves, they all built walls and stationed troops on their borders.  Even at that time the wall stretched more than 3,000 miles.  Then, in 221 B.C., the Emperor Qin absorbed the other unified states and become ruler of the first unified kingdom in China.  When the Huns began their attacks, Qin suggested connecting the walls and adding some sections.

During the Western Han Dynasty, construction on the wall increased, especially in the west and in the north.  In addition to the construction of the Han Dynasty, the Northern Wei, Northern Qi, and Northern Zhou Dynasties are built their own sections, although on a lesser scale. The powerful Tang Dynasty saw mostly peace, so little construction was done on the wall.  However, when the Ming Dynasty came into power and fell subject to many conflicts with tribes such as the Dadan, Tufan, and Nuzhen, the walll continued to be built.  Besides additions to the length of the wall, the wall was also strengthened and made wider.  Construction was increased so much that time was not even taken to bury a worker if he died.  Instead, his body was simply walled in with material.

In the early Quing Dynasty, double lines were even made and repairs were made.  However, engineering stopped at this point in history.  Now, there is concern that parts of the Great Wall are deteriorating, and groups are urging for action to protect it.

See the site listed for dates and more history on the Great Wall.

andra33 | Student

The Great Chinese Wall has had a defensive role, being built by China's first emperor, Qin (221-210 BC). During the following dynasty- Han (206-220 BC), the Great Wall was extended to the east and west, reaching the length of 10 000 kilometers. Being affected by time, the Great Chinese Wall was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Since then the Great Wall is the symbolic monument of the Chinese nation throughout history. The building itself remains a mystery.


The Great Chinese Wall presents rectangular forts and towers of defense. Paved with stone, it was also used as a strategic road as well as a commercial way.

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