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How Long Did it Take to Build the Great Wall of China?

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How Long Did it Take to Build the Great Wall of China?
Photo courtesy of Christoph Pamberg, 2007.
Question: How Long Did it Take to Build the Great Wall of China?
Answer: There's really no short answer. In the West, we think of the Great Wall of China as something that was built at one particular moment in history - a huge monument that spans the northern part of China. In truth, the Great Wall is a series of walls put up by various Chinese dynasties starting in c. 656BC when the Chu State built a wall.

The Chu Wall was fortified by Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi circa 221BC and began to take the shape of the Great Wall as we know it today. Various dynasties added to it but major restorations took place during the Ming Dynasty when Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang assigned his son Zhu Di to oversee renovations to strengthen and connect the existing walls. The Great Wall we visit today are remnants of the Ming Dynasty restoration work.

A Short History of the Great Wall of China will give you the story of the Great Wall from start to finish.

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