The earliest builders of the Wall were the rulers of the states of Qi, Zhao and Yan. These small states existed during the era of the warring states, that dates from 5th century to 221 BCE, till China was finally united into a single kingdom under the Qin dynasty. These walls were made using earth and gravel that were stamped between board frames.
His main aim was to protect his kingdom from Xiongnu people from the north. He also ordered demolition of any walls built by other earlier states, that would divide his empire from within.
Other than protecting the empire from the Mongolian invaders, the wall also served the purpose of standing like a barrier against the Manchu invasions that was frequent during the end of the Ming Dynasty. The wall was not just a barrier that stood passively protecting the Chinese empire; there were provisions to store weapons, grains and also house soldiers.
Army units used to be stationed to keep guard. Counterattacks could also be launched. Watchtowers and signal towers were built throughout to keep watch over enemy troops advancing on the empire, along the northern border and warn other army units patrolling.
Facts and Trivia
- Contrary to the popular misconception, the wall cannot be seen from the Moon with naked eyes. It can however be barely seen from low Earth orbit, if the conditions are very clear
- The structure was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.
- It is one of the new 7 wonders of the world, compiled by a Swiss-based company called 'The New Open World Corporation'.