Ming Great Wall

Ming Great WallThe last large-scale project on the Great Wall was carried out in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In 1368, right after Zhu Yuanzhang established the Ming Dynasty, he started the reconstruction of the Great Wall immediately on the basis of the Qin Great Wall.

In 1368, Ming General Xu Da conquered Da Du and drove the Mongol Yuan ruler from the throne. Emperor Dhundi of the Yuan Dynasty, had to retrieve to northern desert. But the dethroned Yuan ruler still had the remnant forces,later the remaining forces of the Yuan Dynasty launched frequent southward attacks on southward attacks on the mainland of Ming. Since the remaining forces of the Yuan often made counterattacks on Beijing, in order to guard against invasions, Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang paid great attention to the construction of the Great Wall and stationed troops along the Wall.

Apart from the remaining forces of the Yuan, the threats of the newly raised ethnic tribe of “Nu Zhen”, the Manchu, also threatened the Ming Court.  So, in the first year of Zhu Yuanzhang’s reign, he sent his Chief General, Xu Da up to Beijing to build up the Great Wall at Juyong Pass and some other strategic points in and around Beijing, because the Great Wall could help them prevent the remnant forces of the Yuan Court from harassing and securing the northern territories .

The whole project of the Ming Great Wall took more than 200 years to complete, and there were 18 large-scale constructions of the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty. After that, the total length of the Ming Great Wall was more than 7,000 meters (3, 720 miles) from Yalu River in Liaoning Province in the east, to Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu Province in the west. It passes nine cities, provinces and autonomous regions of Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Ningxia and Gansu.

During the Ming Dynasty two important passes which had key strategic value were reconstructed on the Ming Great Wall. One is Shan Haiguan Pass which is located in Qin Huangdao, in the eastern part of the Ming Great Wall. The other one is Jia Yuguan Pass, the western part of the  Ming Great Wall in Gansu Province.

However, the Qing Emperors only restored some passes along the Great Wall. They didn’t continuously build the Great Wall, because the Qing Emperors adopted the conciliation policy, or good-neighbor policy, towards the Mongolian and Tibetan nobles to ensure a peaceful boundary.

Historical records show that over 2, 000 years in Chinese history, more than 20 kingdoms and dynasties had built the defensives. A1l the bricks, rock and dirt used in building up the Great Wall would be enough to build a one meter thick and five meters high wall around the world.  Such a gigantic project required complicated management of manpower, materials and planning.

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