Note Making: The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China was built to link existing fortifications into a united defense system and better keep invading Mongol tribes out of China. It is the largest man-made monument ever to have been built and it is said that it is the only one visible from space. Many thousands of people must have given their lives to build this huge construction.

The Great Wall of China is a series of towers made of stone, brick, earth, wood and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BCE; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built (220–206 BCE) by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall still remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

The Great Wall stretches from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the Ming walls measure 8,850 km. This is made up of 6,259 km sections of actual wall, 359 km of trenches and 2,232 km of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measures out to be 21,196 km.

King Zheng of Qin conquered the last of his opponents and unified China as the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (‘Qin Shi Huang’) in 221 BCE. Intending to impose centralized rule and prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, he ordered the destruction of some sections of the walls. However, he ordered building of new walls to connect the remaining fortifications along the empire’s northern frontier. Transporting the large quantity of materials required for construction was difficult, so builders always tried to use local resources. Stones from the mountains were used over mountain ranges, while earth was used for construction in the plains.

The Great Wall concept was revived under the Ming dynasty in the 14th century, to gain a clear upper hand over the Mongolian tribes.

Q. On the basis of your reading of the above passage, make notes on it, using headings and subheadings. Use recognizable abbreviations and a format you consider suitable. Also supply an appropriate title to it.

The Great Wall of China

  1. Introduction
    1. largest man made monument
    2. only one visible from space
    3. many gave lives for the construction
  2. Physical Description
    1. series of towers
    2. made of
      1. stone
      2. brick
      3. earth
      4. wood etc.
    3. built along Dandong to Lap Lake
    4. several walls built in 7 BCE
  3. Purpose of The Great Wall
    1. protected Chinese states and empire against raids
    2. border control
    3. imposition of duties on goods
    4. regulation and encouragement of trade
    5. controlled
      1. immigration
      2. emigration

Abbreviations used

  • etc. — Et cetera
  • BC. — Before Christ
  • gainst — against

Q. Write a summary of the passage in about 100 words.

The great wall of China is the largest man-made monument and only one visible from space. It consists of a series of towers made of stones, bricks, earth clay, wood and other material. It is built along Dandong to Lap Lake. Several walls were built in 7th century which was made bigger later; majority of it was built by Ming Dynasty. The purpose of the Great Wall was to protect Chinese states against foreign invasions and to regulate trade.

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