Great Wall of China


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China, Great Wall of:

see Great Wall of ChinaGreat Wall of China,
series of fortifications, c.3,890 mi (6,260 km) long (not including trenches and natural defensive barriers), winding across N China from Gansu prov. to Liaoning prov.
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Great Wall of China,

series of fortifications, c.3,890 mi (6,260 km) long (not including trenches and natural defensive barriers), winding across N China from Gansu prov. to Liaoning prov. The wall, running mostly along the southern edge of the Mongolian plain, was erected to protect China from northern nomads. It is an amalgamation of many walls built in ancient times; the first unified wall was built in the 3d cent. B.C. by the Ch'inCh'in
, dynasty of China, which ruled from 221 B.C. to 206 B.C. The word China is derived from Ch'in, the first dynasty to unify the country by conquering the warring feudal states of the late Chou period.
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 dynasty. Laborers were conscripted from all over China to build it, and many of them died during the project. The wall's present form dates substantially from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), and wall building was particularly intense in the late Ming period. The wall averages 25 ft (7.6 m) in height and is 15 to 30 ft (4.6–9.1 m) thick at the base, sloping to 12 ft (3.7 m) at the top. Guard stations and watchtowers are placed at regular intervals. The eastern part of the wall is earth and stone faced with brick, but in the west it is merely a tamped earth mound. Successive invasions of China from the north demonstrated that the Great Wall had little military utility. The Ch'ing (Manchu) dynasty (1644–1912) did not use the wall and largely abandoned it. Since 1949 two sections N of Beijing have been reconstructed and are open to visitors.

Bibliography

See A. Waldron, The Great Wall of China (1990); J. Lovell, The Great Wall.

Great Wall of China

runs for 1,400 miles along China’s north and northwest borders. [Chin. Hist.: NCE, 538]

Great Wall of China

a defensive wall in N China, extending from W Gansu to the Gulf of Liaodong: constructed in the 3rd century bc as a defence against the Mongols; substantially rebuilt in the 15th century. Length: over 2400 km (1500 miles). Average height: 6 m (20 ft.). Average width: 6 m (20 ft.)
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