In the year 221 B.
C. E. , there was a great ruler over the Ch’inkingdom in China, named Shih Huang Ti. Shih was power hungry andwanted more land so he gathered his army and captured thesurrounding kingdoms. As the ruler of so many kingdoms he becamethe first emperor of China.
Shih showed his tyranny when heburned all history books to insure that his people and futuregenerations would only remember him and none of the earlier rulers. He had a strong army but the fierce tribes north of China, theMongols and the Huns, were stronger. These nomadic tribes wouldcome into China and steal crops and animals and then destroyeverything left behind. Shih was very disturbed with these invasions, so in the year214 B. C. E.Order now
he freed prisoners and gathered workers and herds ofanimals. He gave all this to Meng T’ien, his loyal general. Mengand the men and animals were sent north to fortify Shih’s kingdomsfrom invading armies. Shih planned to make a great wall byextending and enlarging preexisting walls made by previous rulers. This great wall would serve as a barricade to keep out alltribes that wanted to invade China. It also served to separate thecivilized acts of the farmers in China to the barbaric acts of thenomadic tribes.
What Shih did not know was that the constructionwould cause many deaths and much suffering to the builders of thewall. The wall which Meng and his men created had watchtowers, fortyfeet tall, every two hundred yards. The purpose of these towerswas to alert the defending soldiers of approaching, attackingtribes. The soldiers at the towers signalled to each other by dayusing smoke signals, waving flags, blowing horns, and ringingbells; by night by lighting firework-like objects in the sky. Thewall, itself, was approximately fifteen hundred miles long, thirtyfeet high and, at the base, twenty-five feet thick.
It was made ofthe core of earth and gravel. Actually, it was two walls alignedwith each other and then filled in with a stone base poundedsmooth. The wall traveled over mountains and through valleys. Itwent from Liatun, on the coast near Korea, westward to the northernend on the Yellow River, southward to Lint’ao to close off thenorth west area of the empire from the Huns.
The great wall issometimes compared to a dragon with its head in the east and itstail in the west and its winding body. The dragon in China isconsidered a protective sacredness rather than a destructivecreature. The top of the wall is approximately thirteen feet wideso six people riding horses could ride side by side along the top. On the side of the wall there are reliefs, which are two-dimensional figures on the wall. The Great Wall of China took hundreds of years to be totallycompleted and constantly maintained.
As a barricade againstinvading armies it was very successful at keeping out unwantedpeople. Unfortunately, in the year 1215 AD, the Mongols came down,under the rule of Genghis Khan, and destroyed major parts of thewall. It took two years of constant fighting, but the Mongols weresuccessful at breaking through the wall. Also, many years later,the Manchus, another strong tribe, penetrated the wall and tookover parts of China. During the Ming Dynasty( 1368-1644 A.
D. ), the Great Wall wasrepaired by General Xu Da and watchtowers were added by General QiJiguang. Most of what tourists see today was made by these twogenerals. During World War II, the Great Wall was used for thetransportation of troops.
The Great Wall is so huge that it is theonly man made creation which can be seen from the moon. BibliographyBIBLIOGRAPHYDelahoye, H. . Drege, J. P.
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New York: M. E. Sharp Publishers,1988Huges-Stanton, Penelope. AN ANCIENT CHINESE TOWN. New York: WarwickPress, 1986Kalman, Bobbie. CHINA THE LAND.
New York: Crabtree PublishingCompany, 1989Kan, Lao Po. THE ANCIENT CHINESE. London: Macdonald EducationalHolywell House, 1981Nancarrow, Peter. EARLY CHINA AND THE WALL.
Minneapolis: LernerPublications Company, 1980Overbeck, Cynthia. Thompson, Brenda. THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1977Toy, Sydney. A HISTORY OF FORTIFICATION. London: William Heinemann,1955