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The Great Wall of China - A Brief History of the Great Wall of China

Although Emperor Qinshihuang claimed credit for building the Great Wall of China, the construction of the Great Wall actually began in Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC) as a military fortification against raids by tribes on the northern borders. However, it was not known as the Great Wall of China back then. After Emperor Qinshihuang united China in 221 BC, major construction effort began to join all parts of the wall to form the Qin Great wall, later known as the Great Wall of China. Constructing the Qin Great Wall took about ten years to complete, and it stretched from Linzhao (in the eastern part of today's Gansu Province) in the west to Liaodong (in today's Jilin Province) in the east. After Emperor Qin Shi Huang, several emperor made efforts to extend and enhance the structures of the walls. As the northern tribes became more powerful, more labor was spent to extend the size and structure of the Great Wall. However the amount of resources put in to construct the Great Wall were quite different; in general dynasties suffering from tribal raiding and intrusions put in more resources, while peaceful dynasities such as Tang dynasty almost made no extension to the Great Wall.

A Summarized Time Table of the Great Wall

Period Wall built Wall description Wall Length

Spring and Autumn Period
(770-476B.C.)

Wall of Chu State It is considered as the first part of the Great Wall. About 1000 km
Wall of Qi State The wall covers a length of 600 kilometers, winding its way through the whole of Shandong Province, from the west in Pingyin County to the east jiao county then reach the Yellow Sea of China. About 600 km
Warring States
(475-221B.C.)
Wall of Qin State The wall is to built along the north of his frontier at present GansuProvince and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Unknown
Wall of Wei State East bank of Luo River in Shaanxi-east bank of Yellow River on Ordos Plateau, called "the wall west of the Yellow River" About 700 km
Wall of Zhao State

Locates at present Linzhang County and Cixian County of Hebei Province

About 1000 km
Wall of Yan State Two sections of the Wall were built in this period. About 1000 km

Qin Dynasty
(221-207 B.C.)

Wall of Qin Dynasty The Great Wall first took shape. About 5000 km

Western Han Dynasty(206B.C.-A.D.24)

Wall of Han Dynasty The longest Wall ever built in China, covering a length of more than 10,000 Li. About 10000 km
Northern and Southern Dynasties
(420-588 A.D.)
Wall of Northern Wei Walls build alone Chicheng, Hebei-Urad Banners, Inner Mongolia About 1000 km
Wall of Eastern Wei Built from Jingle County to Chunyang County of Shanxi Province About 75 km
Wall of Northern Qi

The whole Great Wall was then about 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) long, which was longer than those of former dynasties except Qin and Han.

About 1500 km
Wall of Northern Zhou Renovation of the existing Wall About 0 km
Sui Dynasty
(581 - 618 A.D.)
Wall of Sui Dynasty 6 sections where constructed by 2 Sui Emperors About 1500 km

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Wall of Ming Dynasty

As a result of ever greater efforts of administrator, the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty, covered some 7,300 kilometres, stretching from the Yalu River on the east to Jiayu Pass on the west becoming an impregnable barrier.

About 7300 km

References:
Great Wall History
History of the Great Wall

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