The Great Wall of China is one of the most well-known sites in the world, having a 2,300-year history. This ancient structure, constructed of cement, boulders, bricks, and soil, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, attracting millions of tourists each year.
Continue reading if you’re interested in learning more about one of the world’s most important historical structures. We’ll tell you how long the Great Wall of China took to build.
The history of the Great Wall of China dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period (771–476 BC). The Chu State constructed the first part of the ‘Great Wall’ during a 24-year period (680–656 BC).
Following then, additional ‘Great Wall’ portions were erected or rebuilt on their previous positions to withstand invasions by surrounding states and, subsequently, northern nomads and countries, over a period of nearly 2,300 years.
The Great Walls of the Qin and Ming dynasties played much more important roles in history than the Great Walls of the other nine dynasties.
The Qin Dynasty linked and enlarged existing fortifications erected by previous kingdoms on the newly-united China’s northern boundary. This started about 221 BC and lasted throughout the whole 15-year rule of the Qin Dynasty.
According to the Grand Historian’s records, 300,000–500,000 troops and 400,000–500,000 forced workers were assigned to both construct and protect the Qin Great Wall. According to some sources, up to 1.5 million men were employed during the height of the Qin construction.
The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) completed the most recent imperial building, with the Great Wall’s entire length reaching over 8851.8 kilometers (5,500 miles). When we speak about the Great Wall nowadays, we generally refer to this wall.
The Ming Dynasty spent their whole 276-year reign of terror constructing the Great Wall. The construction of large, paved turreted walls with towers took decades. In the rugged terrain, these walls (like Badaling and Mutianyu) acted as troop roads.
Taking that as a proxy for building a wall, and 75 feet as roughly 25 meters = 1 meter per day, 21196 kilometers = 21196000 meters = 21196000 days = 58,000 years.
According to Dong, around 10% of the wall has been properly conserved. However, he thinks that a third has perished entirely, with the remaining 60% in varying states of decay.
2,241 Years of the Great Wall of China (c. 220 BC)
The entire length of all portions of the Great Wall of China ever erected, including overlapping sections that were repaired, is about 21,196 kilometers (13,171 miles). The most well-preserved part of the wall, built during the Ming dynasty, is around 8,850 kilometers (5,499 miles) long.
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